(Originally published as “Obama and the Future of the Democratic Party”)
President Obama achieved some remarkable things during his eight years. Action on income and wealth inequality were not among them. He surrounded himself, especially on the economic front, with people who had direct connections to Wall St. or academic economics. He famously made a speech in 2013 announcing that income inequality was “the defining challenge of our time”. Then, faced with attacks from within the Democratic Party and all Republicans that he was engaging in “class warfare”, he beat a hasty retreat. The rhetoric was trotted out but he proposed nothing and did nothing.
Citibank and Obama’s Cabinet
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There is much ongoing discussion about steps needed to turn the enormous one day action of the global Women’s March in to a sustained movement to achieve better outcomes for the vast majority of Americans. To focus on just one strategic element, the movement needs to move beyond identity politics to embrace class warfare. The rich and corporations have carried out a sustained and successful class war for more than 40 years. They control the government and the economy. Donald Trump is just a symptom of the underlying issues. We need to break this hammerlock and shift the rules of politics and the economy back towards us, the 90% who are living off the remainders, the scraps from their feast.
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I came on a set of graphics in Mother Jones, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America” that illustrate what you probably already know. But, a simple refresher course in some of the reasons why the rich are rich. The 99% already have this base covered.
Here are some of the charts I liked. Read the whole article at the Mother Jones website.
Income (constant dollars)
Note that if median family income had simply kept up with inflation over this period it would have grown to $92,000 instead of $50,000.
Are Corporations Over Taxed?
Mother Jones does not make it clear that the Payroll Tax is also a tax on individuals. To add insult to injury the Payroll Tax is not levied beyond the first %106,800 of income.
How Are The Richest of the Rich Doing?