• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Income Gap

We all believe that a growing economy is a good thing. Corporate successes make America strong, and international monetary policies have been designed to promote economic growth around the world.

But something is wrong. The income gap is growing faster in the United States than in any other developed nation. Between 1990 and 2000 in the U.S. worker pay and inflation remained approximately equal, while corporate profits rose 93% and CEO pay rose 571%. Meanwhile, the portion of federal revenue derived from corporate income tax has decreased from 33% in the 1950s to 11.9% in 2005, reaching a low of 7.4% in 2003. Hundreds of companies have avoided taxes by relocating to tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Eighty-two of our largest corporations paid no tax in at least one of the first three years of the Bush administration.

Around the world, the income gap has increased between and within countries. Workers’ share of national income in developed countries is at its lowest level in 30 years. Our agricultural subsidies enrich a few people while making it impossible for farmers in the developing world to sell their crops in their own countries. According to the United Nations Report on the World Social Situation 2005, the OECD countries that have most vigorously implemented economic policies have experienced the greatest increases in inequality within their countries. The money doesn’t reach the people most in need. The New Economics Foundation reports that only 60 cents out of every $100.00 of world income goes to those in extreme poverty, much less than in the 1980s before the growth of structural adjustment policies. Globalized markets seem to reward those with the education, financial wherewithal, and business skills to make them work.

We’re letting domestic and multinational corporations, with their uncompromising profit motive and strong connection to the military, determine the future course of our country and the world. Terrorism has replaced communism as the major threat to our lifestyle. But corporate defense contractors — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics — take millions of dollars from the federal treasury every DAY to produce Cold-War-era weapons, with their profits guaranteed by the American public. We’re the leading seller of arms to the world. We intervene in more countries than ever before, even though studies show that intervention is tied to terrorism. Our elected representatives listen to businessmen and generals rather than to scientists, doctors, humanitarians, teachers, mothers. And we’ve been conditioned to believe that this is the way it must be.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. While macroeconomic business models have benefited the rich and the well educated, projects like the Millennium Villages in Africa go in the other direction, empowering poor communities by supporting agricultural improvements, clean water facilities, schools, and health care centers. Microcredit programs, as exemplified by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus’ program of small loans to Bangladesh women, has allowed people to liberate themselves by working their way out of poverty. The independence and self-respect achieved by millions of small entrepreneurs is making a difference where IMF and multinational corporate policies have failed. Initiatives like these make the whole world safer, more productive, and more respectable. And they suggest that our brand of capitalism may not be the best way to help people.

PAUL BUCHHEIT is a Professor, Harold Washington College in Chicago. He can be reached at: pbuchheit@ccc.edu

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail