Sunday, August 20, 2006

The real terror

If the CEO of a major corporation had numbers like these, he wouldn't have a job. But this isn't a company, it's a country, and these numbers affect a lot of people.

If your favorite sports team had these sorts of losing stats, they would fire the manager and get one who could do the job. But when it comes to sports, we're talking about a game and this - despite what many in the Republican majority and some in the Democratic minority might think - is not a game.

This is life. And this is how the government is failing real people and lining the pockets of the ultra-rich Republican elites.

There are elections coming up in November. The Bush administration and the Republican party don't want you to look at these sort of numbers, they want you to cower in bed worrying about the terror boogeyman. Make no mistake, the real terror is that the Republican majority in Congress will continue to give away the American dream.

The National Debt:

* The National Debt the Year before Bush Took Office - $5.6 Trillion
* The National Debt Today - $8.3 Trillion
* The Total Debt Run Up By "Fiscally Conservative" Republicans - $2.7 Trillion

The Trade Deficit:

* The Total 2005 Trade Deficit - $720 Billion
* The 2005 Trade Deficit with China Alone - $202 Billion
* The Projected 2006 Trade Deficit - Over $800 Billion

The Wealth Gap:

* The US Rank in the Gap between the Richest and Poorest Among the
Developed Countries - 1st
* The Percent of Wealth Owned by the Richest 1% of Americans - 33.4%
* The Percent of Wealth Owned by the bottom 90% of Americans - 30.4%
* The Percent of Wealth Owned by to bottom 50% of Americans - 2.5%


* The Percentage of the American Workforce Employed in 2000 - 64.4%
* The Percentage Employed Today - 62.9%
* The Net Job Creation During the Clinton Administration (8 Years) - 22.7 Million
* The Net Job Creation Under Bush (5 ½ Years) - 2.6 Million
* The Number of Manufacturing Jobs Lost Under Bush - 2.9 Million
* The Number of Jobs Needed Each Month to Cover Growing Workforce - 150,000
* The Average Number of Jobs Created Each Month Under Bush - 41,000
* The Official Unemployment Rate (7 Million People) - 4.6%


* The Rise in Wages for Blue Collar and Service Workers (1) since 2001 - None - Nada!!
* The Rise in the Cost of Living Since 2001 (When Bush Took Office) - 8.1%
* The Number of Years since 2001 That Middle-Class Families Have
Seen Their Incomes Fall - All 5 Years
* The Share of National Income Going to Corporate Profits - 7.0% in 2001
12.2 % Today
* The Share of the National Income for Blue Collar and Service Workers - 58.6% in 2001
56.2% Today
* The US Rank Among Developed Nations For Income "Disparity"
Between the Richest Elites and Everyone Else - #3
* The Ratio of Average CEO Pay to Average Workers Pay:
o 1982 42 to 1
o 2003 300 to 1
o 2006 ($11.8 Million to $27,460) 431 to 1

Note (1) they are 80% of the total workforce


The 2001 Tax Cut:
o Average cut for people making under $50,000 a year (71%) - $425
o Average cut for people making $1 Million a year (0.1%) - $59,216
o Average cut for people making more than $10 Million a year (.00004%) - $521,905

The 2003 Tax Cut For Capital gains and Dividends:
o Average cut for people making under $50,000 a year (71%) - $10
o Average cut for people making $1 Million a year (0.1%) - $25,450
o Average cut for people making more than $10 Million a year (.00004%) - $497,463

The 2006 Extension of Tax Cuts For Capital gains and Dividends:
o Average cut for people making under $50,000 a year (71%) - $3
o Average cut for people making $1 Million a year (0.1%) - $59,972


* Number of Americans Now Living in Poverty (12.7 %) - 37 Million
* Increase Under Bush - 5.4 Million
* Number of Americans Without Health Care - 47 Million
* Number of Americans Who Have Had to Turn to Food Banks and Food
Stamps For Meals in 2005 - 25 Million
* Rank of US Poverty Among Developed Nations - We're # 1
* The Number of US Billionaires - 269 - We're # 1


Melissa said...

I was just thinking about "the gap" and how it is addressed, or not addressed. The Federal Reserve manages inflation and the economy. Who manages the distribution?
While I used to think that my family was well off, now I wonder. Everyone seems to have TONS of money.

My sister has two kids already and I wonder if it is going to take all my savings and insurance, plus my sisters and my parents in order to keep them living the same type of lifestyle.

Then I worry a bit about revolution. Maybe it is silly of my, but when the gap keeps getting bigger and bigger some people are going to rise up. Inflation may be a problem, but revolution is a country-killer.

HMMM. Any ideas? Should we have a special distribution board that measures the gap and sets taxes accordingly?

Slade said...

The look on my face the day Bush leaves office: priceless

Josh said...

>>Then I worry a bit about revolution. Maybe it is silly of my, but when the gap keeps getting bigger and bigger some people are going to rise up. Inflation may be a problem, but revolution is a country-killer.<<

Something big is coming, 'sfor damn sure.

Melissa said...

You like my typo, I know you do.

Shawn said...

If curse I du...who wouldn'nt?

Eileen said...

Your numbers make me sleepy...

Shawn said...

I'll simplify for ya Eileen...if you aint one of the 'Have Mores' then Bush has been bad for you economically. If you're a Have More, then you're his base.

'Yo shout out to all the rich folk out there! Say yeah... Yo, yo, Yalies, you my peeps!'

Laura said...

Ya know, you actually made me realize something. You know how a lot of people simply say the average American doesn't pay attention to the complicated issues like the debt or taxes? Why is that? Some people say it's because Joe American is dumb. I disagree. If Joe American can keep track of the stats of his favorite baseball team/player, and keep a record in his head of all the RBIs and Errors and Homeruns - he should be able to read a newspaper and understand that the debt is going up, that Iraq is a mess, and that Bush is full of shit.

The problem is even scarier than Average Joe being too stupid to do that. It's that he's (or she) is too lazy and complacent. If only Politics were as integral to our daily lives as sports, eh?

Miranda said...

THIS is the real terror? Not 9/11? Not bombings in Israel? Not the rapes committed by Saddam and his sons?

If OUR debt is "terror", what, then, is the debt of countries whose debt is worse than ours?

Shawn said...

M - Good point. In my zeal, I let my anger get the best of me. I certainly didn't mean to imply that the rich getting richer is anything at all like bombings or rapes.

That said, the waving of the terror boogeyman flag is distracting from the fact that most Americans are worse off now than they were before Bush took office.

And sadly, here in the land of plenty, I am more terrified about starving and not being able to afford a place to live when I get old than I am of a being killed in a terrorist attack.

If I was deathly afraid of a terrorist attack, I would be more afraid with Bush in office than with him out.

thephoenixnyc said...

Holy shit. Well put together Shawn. I hope you don't mind if I cut and paste this and use it in emails.

Shawn said...

PNYC - go for it. I have to admit that i didn't do all the compiling though, someone else did it. I just checked it out and put it up. Fortunately, we still live in a 'free' society and are allowed to see what the government is up to.

Sadie Lou said...

I think Laura makes a really interesting point here. How is it that these statistics/numbers are not common knowledge and people don't regularly bring them up in conversation.
People gather around the watering hole to talk about TV and celebrity romances or what the score was for the Giants game--nobody really cares what's going on and why is that?

Shawn said...

Sadie - It's easier to talk about the television and stuff like that. There's not a whole lot of thinking that has to go into an argument about whether they should have cut Vincent instead of the hot chick on Project Runway. Sad, but true.

Laura said...

Just think what will happen when the Euro takes over as the world's dominant currency and countries start buying EU treasury bonds instead of American and start calling back the debts we owe to them... THAT actually kept me up a few nights thinking what might happen.

It's just too abstract for a lot of people to get their heads around. We are in a very precarious situation and we've become accustomed to being the world's only superpower -especially for the younger generations who now don't remember the Cold War or WW I & II. We are very close to having another bipolar power system, with the EU holding one end and us the other. Not that I think that is a bad thing, but it means change... Change that, for once, America doesn't call the shots for.

Sadie Lou said...

Shawn--I think it's a sense of "we're not responsible for any of the world's problems and we can't fix what's wrong in our own backyard--so someone else should deal with these issues."
As well as what you mentioned about it being easier not to care.
The scarier part of that attitude is laziness and contentment.

Scott said...

ra ra ra clinton

I can't wait till Bush is gone so I can stop reading stupid things like this and people can actually focus on what is tearing down the economy.

Oh wait, that'll never happen.

Ignore all that, I'll just submit this:

ra ra ra clynton!

Shawn said...

Wow're so clever that I have no idea what you're talking about.

If I'm not mistaken, your argument is something like...blah, blah, blah, you're a big dummy and I'm smart, blah, blah, insert cryptic comment here, blah, blah...

Maybe I missed the subtleties though.

Scott said...

I didn't make an arguement, I agreed with you. The Clintone years were salad.

It's clear Busch is ruining everything. Your stats prove it, right?

I mean, right?

Laura said...

I can say, at least from where I sit, my life was better before Bush took office. Kudos to you who are doing great under Bush's administration. More power to you.

For many of us, however, life is not better than it was before Bush. So pardon us if we keep criticizing the man. I know he's beyond reproach and has done absolutely nothing wrong during his terms - I mean - he's admitted no responsibility for anything - that MUST mean he's made no mistakes!

No one is claiming Clinton was perfect - far from it in fact. But he was a much better president than Bush could ever be, IMHO. And, unapologetically, I will keep saying that, thank you very much.

Scott said...

Okay incoherent rant time.

There's just so many BS assumptions made on both sides of the economical debate that it seems impossible to have an intelligent discussion on the topic. To claim any of the issues in these statistics is the product of a single administration is incredibly short sighted. We’ve been pissing away our economy for a hundred years through liberal (small L) legislation from Hoover to Roosevelt and from Clinton to Bush(s). From Square Deals to New Deals to the Contract with America and every deal between. From Republicans to Democrats every politician has shown that their only solution to any problem is spending more money. More of our money

Take the first portion of this post, national deficit and debt. Shawn, I agree with you, it’s a disaster. In fact I’d say it’s much *worse* than you contend. Congress tells us that the Federal deficit last year was $318 billion, certainly nothing to downplay. However the Feds keep two sets of books with different accounting practices and the other, less publicized, set shows a deficit of $760 billion. And if you throw in social security and Medicare it jumps to $3.5 Trillion. Since ’97 the second set shows a 2.9 trillion deficit. The last four years of the Clinton administration provided not the $559 billion surplus they claimed, but a $484 billion deficit.

Which leads to taxes, AKA, the process in which the Government takes our private property to “help” us. Your numbers suggest that the rich were given an unfair and disproportional tax cut over us poor and middle class types. The fact is that when you look at tax revenues the poor and middle class carry very little of the burden. In fact anyone with kids that make under 50,000 is not likely to pay much, if any, in income taxes after refunds.

The top 1% of the rich pay ONE THIRD of our taxes.
(in other words, one third of all public services, departments, the military... funded by the top 1%, people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Waltons, Donald Trump... this includes too, the top richest corporations in the world, which ironically, also pay income taxes, like Microsoft, Wal-Mart, etc.)

The top 5% earners in America generate MORE THAN HALF of tax revenue.
(that means, if there was a class of 20 kids and one kid was rich... and they had to raise $25 for a class project, the rich kid is putting in about $14... and the 19 kids left have to pay less than .60 cents each to meet the project's budget)

The top 10% pay a full TWO THIRDS of our taxes and the top 25% of the rich in America pay MORE THAN $4 OUT OF EVERY $5 collected in taxes.

When the taxes are cut, even by a hair on that level, the rich of course benefit - only because they are so steeply penalized with the current tax level. If we cut down our budget 1% (which happens to be about $25 billion dollars), and we simply reduced taxes across the board, then that the top 25% would earn back a little more than $20 billion merely because they were the ones paying the taxes in the first place.

Now of course saying all that is going to get me labeled as a pro-rich (lol) but in truth I’m just anti-tax. We don’t need taxes and we certainly shouldn’t penalize the best and brightest that our country has to support an over-bloated addictive cycle of spending. The solution to government taking too much from each of us is to have the government stop spending so damn much money to begin with. Yet, nobody is willing to suggest that, instead it's just the same rallying cry of "tax the rich!" (liberal) or "borrow!" (conservative).

And speaking of taxing the rich (because they’re so evil, I know)((lol terrorists)) while we’re at it we need to regulate those big businesses! I mean without regulating those big huge businesses they’re free to pay people sub-par wages, provide terrible working conditions, and (gasp!) maybe hurt the environment. This, of course, was the rallying cry of the Clinton administration, which ushered in regulation after regulation and new tax after new tax.

However, since his presidency and anti-business policy America’s biggest export has been jobs. When you regulate BIG business with ridiculous amounts of bureaucrazy, SMALL business falls under those same guidelines. While the obscene amounts of extra costs is merely a bump on the road when your production exceeds 9 digits in value, those of us who work in small manufacturing outfits are faced with a mountain of paperwork and unrealistic business practices that drive the cost of doing business up exponentially. Big Business and Socialists love for us all to believe that these regulations help protect the little man, the commoners, and the proletarians, but the truth is that they are empowering corporations by driving the cost of business up above where small firms can not afford to operate. The result is fewer small companies and more corporations.

Not that the Big boys will adhere to much of the regulations anyway. When the cost of enforcing them AND the cost of the excessive rich penalty (AKA taxes) is more than the cost of manufacturing overseas they’ll just export our jobs to India, Korea, or which ever.

What else is there? Ah yes the gap. Well there’s plenty to be said about our artificial ways of shortening the gap, which in actuality WIDEN the gap (things like minimum wage increases) but I suppose I’ve said enough. At some point I have to get back to working and all. You’ll just have to excuse me if I’m not all that gung-ho(!) about the thought of another rich person (a democrat politician) fixing what ails the economy. Until there’s a political party in power that seeks to limit Government spending and release the Feds grip on our market and flow of money, our economy will continue to tail spin until it collapses under it’s own weight.


Laura said...

Ok Scott... what's your solution then? How do we balance the budget, get rid of the deficit, abolish taxes, and still provide for citizens? Cut social services and welfare, that's how. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps neoliberalism, right?

You and I are on very different wavelengths when it comes to the responsibility of government to its citizens. I've said this before. Government exists for the purpose of serving and protecting its citizens. To me, this neccessitates social services and a social welfare system. I applaud the European welfare states. I don't believe that 'welfare state' is a "naughty" word. I applaud European countries that actually put their money where their mouth is regarding family values, by paying parents (both mothers and fathers) 75% of their yearly salary to stay at home and raise their kids for the first 2 years of their lives, and still have a job to go back to.

That is funded by taxes. Should the rich get taxed more because they make more - absolutely. I do not waver on that assumption. I don't complain about the amount of my paycheck that goes to taxes because I believe in the social welfare system. I don't think that our tax dollars are being allocated appropriately, but that's another matter.

I don't agree with the "every man for himself" philospophy of government. It's simply where you and I differ.

Scott said...

That's cool.

Nothing wrong with having a differing opinion. I disagree with your assessment of my social views but that's another long story.

Shawn said...

Well put both of you. Thanks for some though provoking points. In many ways, I agree with Scott's view that government spending is out of control. That's neither a Republican nor a Democrat thing, but rather a bloated beauracracy thing. I tend to want the government to be smaller and stay out of people's lives.

On the other hand, I agree with Laura that government has a role and part of it is to create a level playing field and opportunities for all of it's citizens. Another role government needs to play is regulation. Without regulation, businesses - big and small - often shortcut many things they shouldn't. Without regulation, our food supply wouldn't be nearly as safe, the water we drink would be far less drinkable and states like Kansas might one day decide that trucks carrying corn from Iowa should be delayed several days every time they pass through the state to give their own farmers a better shot at the west coast market.

I'm totally okay with my taxes going to things like the infrastructure of this country (both locally and nationwide) - things like the freeway system, air traffic control, and water treatment and sewage.

My original point wasn't to praise Clinton but to express a counterpoint to claims that Bush has been great for the economy and the working man's wallet.

Anyway, thanks for spouting off...I've been too tired lately to even respond, but I appreciate the debate.

Laura said...

Scott: I didn't mean to misrepresent your views. I may have gotten carried away (me? nooo!) going for the absolute 'taxes are evil' viewpoint as my countermeasure. ;)

I too think that government spending is out of control - but that's just b/c I see it as a mis-allocation of funds more than an overall bottom line issue.

Miranda said...

Laura: About your post on laziness - maybe it's frightening, maybe it isn't. The fact that we have the luxury to be lazy means something. Others can't be.