Statistics on where we are and where we are headed. The momentum of the global plutocracy.
From September 2012: "Mitt and the Merry Plunderers, DowntownLALife.com Magazine International
(Quote Mash Up from: Guardian, Think Progress, Bloomberg, Huffington, Slate, Salon, Atlantic, ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Foreign Policy):
The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. The analysts' estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures.
The share of the nation's wealth held by the less affluent half (50%) of American households dropped precipitously after the financial crisis, to 1.1 percent, according to new calculations by Congress's nonpartisan research service.
By contrast, the share of total net worth held by the wealthiest 1 percent of American households continued rising, hitting 34.5 percent in 2010. The top 10 percent's share was 74.5 percent.
Suburban poverty, already at a record level of 11.8 percent, will increase again in 2011.
Concretely, between 2007 and 2010, while median family wealth fell by 38.8 percent, the wealth of the Walton family (Wal-Mart heirs) members rose from $73.3 billion to $89.5 billion… In 2007, it was reported that the Walton family wealth was as large as the bottom 35 million families in the wealth distribution combined, or 30.5 percent of all American families.
And in 2010, as the Walton’s wealth has risen and most other Americans’ wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.
Consumer credit climbed more than forecast in May, led by the biggest jump in credit-card debt in almost five years that may signal Americans are struggling to make ends meet. The $17.1 billion increase, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the largest this year, followed a $9.95 billion gain the previous month that was more than previously estimated, the Federal Reserve said today in Washington. Revolving credit, which includes credit card spending, rose by $8 billion, the most since November 2007.
American borrowers currently owe more than $150 billion in private student loans, according to the report. Default rates soared in the years since the financial crisis, and more than $8 billion in private loans are in default.
The Global Elite:
In the “recovery” of 2009-2010, the top 1 percent of US income earners captured 93 percent of the income growth.
Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.
Tax avoidance is big business. A report by the TUC found that the UK's four largest banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS – have some 1,200 subsidiaries in tax havens. At a time when the banks are in the dock following a spate of scandals that have exploded the arguments for "light-touch regulation", the lack of oversight afforded by structuring transactions through tax havens threatens further scandals.
As we report today, new research by the campaign group Tax Justice Network suggests a global plutocracy has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary $21tn of wealth offshore in tax havens.
The biggest U.S. banks created more than 10,000 subsidiaries in the past 22 years as they expanded, using legal structures to pay lower taxes and escape tighter regulation, according to a Federal Reserve study.
The highest-paid banker in the Finance 50 is Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) His total compensation increased 11 percent, to $23 million, even as the bank’s stock sank 20 percent. In mid-May of this year, Dimon called his own judgment into question when his bank announced that it had lost at least $2 billion investing in synthetic credit securities. JPMorgan’s stock dropped more than 10 percent in the two days after the disclosure.
America’s largest wireless service provider plans to cut 1,700 jobs by offering its technicians and call center employees buyouts. Verizon Communications announced last week that it would reduce its nationwide workforce by 1 percent, and if enough workers don’t accept the buyouts, it will resort to involuntary layoffs.
Verizon paid chief executive Lowell C. McAdam more than $22.5 million in 2011, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of executive compensation. The company has paid its top five executives more than $350 million in the last five years, according to the Communications Workers of America, the union that deals most directly with Verizon.
Maybe the acronym at the heart of the (Libor) scandal is too confusing. Or Americans are simply tired of hearing about greedy bankers. By any measure, though, the Libor bank scandal is an extraordinary example of the 1 percent stealing from the 99 percent - and our crumbling ethics.
It is hard to overstate the impact of the Libor benchmark, which is used to value some $360 trillion in loans and financial contracts worldwide. It affects lending to governments, businesses and consumers, and even student loan and credit card rates.
So Barclays' victims weren't just other banks and traders. They included taxpayers in dozens of communities who are believed to have paid millions more in interest than they should have at the height of the financial crisis. Teachers and other public servants may have been laid off because of bankers' pursuit of ever-higher profits.
The Global Model:
Across much of the developing world,” In a special report on state capitalism last January, the Economist admitted that “the era of free-market triumphalism has come to a juddering halt.” Liberal capitalism in the U.K. and the U.S. isn’t just convulsed with internal crises caused by unregulated financiers. It now faced “a potent alternative”: state capitalism, which has on its side one of the world’s biggest economies -- China -- and some of its most powerful companies…
Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently reported, “State Capitalism -- in which the state either owns companies or plays a major role in supporting or directing them -- is replacing the free market.” From 2004 through 2009, the article points out, “120 state-owned companies made their debut on the Forbes list of the world’s largest corporations, while 250 private companies fell off it.”