VIDEO: Union Decline and Income Inequality (1979-2009)

Direct “smoking gun” proof of income inequality fueled by union membership decline is probably impossible. But we sure can find plenty of correlating evidence that indicates a strong likelihood that union decline is at least related to wage stagnation and greater economic inequality, if not the direct catalyst.

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The Free Market Has Spoken, And It Had Nothing To Say About Economic Inequality

One of the tenets of free market ideology is consumer choice. The idea goes like this. Empower citizens to make their own decisions and they will have greater freedom, greater prosperity, and businesses will live or die at the will of the consumer. Therefore, corporations and executives are in effect beholden to the consumer. Sounds good right? Who could be against that?

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The Stock Market Soared In 2013, So Where Are The Jobs?

Free-market capitalists, which apparently is just about any Republican these days, tell us government is too burdensome to businesses and we need to cut taxes. Their standard message for how to get the economy moving is to cut taxes and get government out of the way. There’s just one problem, the economy, at least as measured by the major stock indexes, finished 2013 with tremendous gains, and that means the personal economy of so-called “job creators” is doing quite well. How’s your personal economy coming along?

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Why Are Middle Class Incomes Stagnant? Are We Simply Unproductive Compared To The Super Wealthy?

Would you like to make an extra $50,000, $75,000, or $100,000 dollars a year? I know I would. Would you like a yearly income of $75,000, $150,000, or $300,000? In reality, most Americans make far less than even the lowest amount I listed. In 2012, the median income in America was $51,017, which was down slightly from 51,100 the year before. The poverty rate was 15%, which is over 45 million people. For the bottom 90% of the country, wages have been flat for the past three decades compared to top percent earners who have seen their income double, triple and more.

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Robust Consumer Demand Creates Jobs, And Jules From Pulp Fiction Agrees

You know what I’ve had just about enough of? Pipe dreams sold to the masses by the narcissism fueled by greed and wealth. Or in other words, I’m tired of hearing the phrase “job creators” and I’m both fatigued and annoyed every time I hear someone say the wealthy create jobs. And I’m overcome by a fierce rage when I hear yet another gutless politician say we need to give more tax breaks to companies and individuals who are already hoarding large sums of cash so that maybe, just maybe out of the kindness of their gold lined hearts they might see it fit to create a job or two. But oh yeah, then reality intrudes, and I’m reminded that they aren’t going to create those jobs if there isn’t the demand to justify those positions in the first place.

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America Needs To Break The ‘Walmart Mentality’

The “Walmart Mentality” could otherwise be referred to as “Supercapitalism,” also the name of a book by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. It’s the idea that unrestrained capitalism leads to corruption, not only of the market economy, but also democracy. The “Walmart Mentality” is that a few people get filthy rich by squeezing the system as much as they can without breaking it. But the problem, as is always the problem with greed, is that there is never enough, so eventually something is going to break. But the few people benefiting from this scenario are usually old, and they have build up such massive wealth, they can insulate themselves from the fallout for the rest of their lives.

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Profiting From Government Subsidy: That’s The Real Walmart

Walmart has been running a new ad campaign with the tagline “That’s The Real Walmart.” The ads started earlier this year and they are designed to trumpet career growth opportunities for Walmart “associates.” Every time I see one of these ads I can’t help but think it’s a slap in the face to the thousands of Walmart workers who have organized and protested the company’s low wages and minimal benefits. But these commercials offer a completely different message. If you didn’t know better, you’d think Walmart was the ideal company to work for. I’m sure there are positions within Walmart that pay good wages and offer adequate benefits, but what about the average Walmart floor worker? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to critique Walmart employees, because in this economy, with so many people still looking for work, a job is a job. I’m not judging Walmart employees, I’m judging Walmart.

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CHART: Minimum Wage vs. Unemployment Rate, 1948 – 2012

Most Americans believe the minimum wage should be increased. It would make good economic sense, and it would help pull people out of poverty. But many Republicans in Washington say this is a non-starter because raising the minimum wage would be a job killer. But how do we know this is true? Should we just take their word for it? And come to think of it, calling something a job killer seems to be the boilerplate Republican response to just about anything these days, including Obamacare and raising taxes. Republicans aren’t lying to us, are they?

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America Spends Billions On Police State, Ignores The Real Security Issue

Because of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, not only are we fully aware of the violations to our civil liberties, we also know our tax dollars are being used against us, in the name of national security. There’s a lot of money being spent on a shiny new police state, and what is it buying us? — Less freedom. Less liberty. That’s not a very good bargain.

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