The middle class remains under siege as we continue the corporate pilfering of America. Yet the big news promoted by the mainstream media is the resignation of a pope, a disabled carnival cruise liner, the McCarthy like behavior of Senators denying a qualified veteran timely confirmation, and other frivolities. None of these stories are of immediate material value to the middle class. Yet, they were the biggest stories of the week in an economy not working for the middle class sans the President's State of The Union address that broke down into the ineptitude of a rebuttal speech; a speech that was nothing more than a rehash of rejected policies and values and a Twitter/Facebook deflecting moment.
Today America wakes up to a very depressing news story to 99% of Americans.
U.S. corporations' after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan's administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.
It is a mathematical fact that if the wealthy's income and wealth is growing at a faster rate than the wealth and income of the middle class in a virtually closed world economy, then it is being done at the expense of the middle class. In other words, the middle class is being robbed. The middle class is being pilfered. It has nothing to do with the wealthy being bad people. It is that politicians have created bad policy that have allowed an economic system of selected haves and "have nots" based on who has access to capital.
Governmental policy has allowed the hoarding of capital after the New Deal since the inception Reagan's supply side economics. No one needs to guess what has occurred. It is found readily in the charts. Now that the hoarding of capital has reached an unsustainable rate, many on the Right would have citizens believe the country is broke and that even more sacrifices are required of the middle class. This is a false premise. America is not broke. It is being pilfered from within.
This week President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage from the poverty wage of $7.25 that would be a very small measure to raise many out of poverty as well as begin a minute march out of income inequality. Many on the Right insist on the fallacy that this would cost jobs when facts says otherwise. The media must be held accountable when they give plausibility to the verifiable lie stated by those on the right about the minimum wage causing job losses in the aggregate. In fact the increase in the minimum wage is also stimulative to the economy.
Ezra Klein showed an important graph that is not seen much on the news. He delivered a powerful piece on wages and the minimum wage.
Ezra Klein: If the Republicans don't like the minimum wage as a policy... They need an alternative... Because the market isn't fixing this on its own. And this graph isn't only about economics. This graph is about politics too. You can't have that blue line go down for much longer before people decide it is time to go to the ballot box and do something big to stop it.
His final statement has two purposes. Firstly, it is the acknowledgement that America's crony market will not fix the wage problem. Secondly, the masses will ultimately revolt if change does not occur through policy.
One of the reasons discourse has been caustic, misinformed, and dangerous is because of the practice by many in the main stream media of false equivalencies.
The NRA released an ad in which they target the President by insinuating the President protects his kids with armed security while he does not want the same for the average American kid. Mayor Bloomberg's Demand a Plan initiative released a video in which children appear. The 30-second ad splices together photos of many adorable children, with a child's voiceover that says, "the NRA once supported background checks." Then: a shot of NRA CEO and executive vice president Wayne Lapierre speaking with Congress in 1999 explicitly stating that the NRA supports background checks; a position the NRA no longer support (hypocrisy?). "America can do this for us," says a child's voice, with more pictures of kids playing in the background. "Please." This is a very effective message that the NRA showing the disingenuousness of the NRA.
Today on supposedly liberal MSNBC, Thomas Roberts and the mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed had the following interchange.
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts:
As the policy debate continues, there's been a lot of debate about the use of children. This ad features children's voices yet the NRA was blasted for releasing an ad that mentioned President Obama's daughters. How do you justify the use of children's voices in this ad to score a political point?
Score a political point? Is the massacre of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary school something that should be discussed in terms of a political point? Why would Thomas give credibility to any negative discussion involving using children in an ad begging for action to protect them.
The mayor was ready.
Mayor Kasim Reed
Well Tom I think that is absolute false equivalency. Bringing the president's children who are well known and who have to be protected is fundamentally different than using the voice of a child to echo a horrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown where 20 children were lost. No one was cited as part of this ad. The only thing that occurred is that a child's voice was used to narrate testimony that is completely opposite of the current position of the other side. So to say that the ad that ran during the Super Bowl is comparable to the ad that used the president's children I just think is a case, massive case of false equivalency. They're not the same and we should not be prohibited from using the voice of children when at the end of the day they were the victims who were shot repeatedly, multiple times by that monster at Sandy Hook.
If the spokespeople of good, the spokespeople for policies that support real middle class values would all be as concise as Mayor Reed was in his response to the false equivalency game played by most in the mainstream media, Americans would be much more educated on the realities of today's politics. The massacre at Sandy Hook was horrendous. However it is a massacre that occurs daily with guns. One must not allow false equivalencies, bait and switches, and other techniques to remove focus from the real discussion, from the real societal problems.
It is imperative that going forward, those with the correct message hit back and do not allow the mainstream media that usually carry the torch for the Plutocracy at worst, or at best is so lazy that they allow the perpetrators of bad deeds to add false equivalencies into the discourse to succeed. When Wayne Lapierre gave his initial rebuttal to the massacre in Connecticut, the points he pushed were intended to seed the discourse with false equivalencies. He has been partially successful but many are starting to call it out appropriately.
After initially reaffirming its stance against marriage equality the PR department at Chick-Fil-A released a statement on Facebook saying, "Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena." The new official position of the company seeks solace by referring to their "devoting of profits back to our communities" but as the Huffington Post reported that devotion includes over $2 million to anti-gay marriage groups in 2010 alone. This all may have been too much to handle for VP of Corporate Public Relations who has passed amid the evolving controversy over gay marriage.
While America's 10th most popular fast food chain has officially backed out of the public gay marriage debate, experts such as Greg Sanders, publisher of Food News Media group, says the debacle could hurt their prospects of expanding beyond the South costing the company millions. Further complicating their expansion Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values." while Boston Mayor Thomas Menino publicly rescinded the invitation to open business there stating, "There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it." New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg criticized the men he called, "good Mayors" saying,
It’s inappropriate for a city government, or a state government, or the federal government to look at somebody’s political views and decide whether or not they can live in the city, or operate a business in the city, or work for somebody in the city,
Both Mayor's have since stepped-back clairifing that they do not intend to directly interfere with any new business. No such backtracking has come from San Franscico Mayor Edwin Lee who weighed in with, "[the] Closest Chick-Fil-A to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."
Add to this a new lawsuit claiming wrongful termination based on gender discrimination. According the the lawsuit former employee Brenda Honeycutt alleges her boss suggested, "that as a mother she should stay at home with her children". Keeping the controversy close to home these incidents all took place in Northern Georgia near the companies Headquarters. The disgruntled employee is demanding full front and back pay as well as benefits and compensation for "the humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages".
View the Storify timeline and more below the jump...
The Republicans and their water carrying blustering blowhards in the conventional wisdom alternative universe bubble have been frantically working 24/7 to fabricate the perception that the federal stimulus program is not working.
Those Americans who reside outside the Republican and conventional "wisdom" bubble, i.e. Joe, Jose, Jane, Yolanda, Chen, Hui, Omar and Laqueesha (to name a handful) have a far different view of the federal stimulus program.
It seems that Republicans and the Party's blowhards ignored the recently released Congressional Budget Office report. Or perhaps the Republicans and its tools did not like what they read. Yikes, this stimulus can't work or we are dead. Change the message! If the government works we lose! No matter what, kill off any good news about the stimulus program! Who cares what happens to the average Jane and Joe Americans? WTF are they?! This is all about us and our ability to stockpile as much money for ourselves as we can! Heaven help us! Change the bleeping bleepity bleep message! Jeeze oh Pete - gin up a freaking war if need be!
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the $787 billion stimulus package approved in February lowered the nation's unemployment rate by between 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points while boosting the economy by between 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent. The analysis also found that three-quarters of the money provided in the stimulus had yet to be funneled into the economy by the end of September.
The report is a boost for the administration, which faced renewed questions last month over how many jobs the stimulus has produced after the Government Accountability Office said it found "significant" problems with the White House's tally. The administration has estimated the stimulus created or saved 640,329 jobs through October.
The report released yesterday "leaves no doubt that the economy would be in much worse shape if the recovery act had not been implemented," said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, a California Democrat. "As the Obama administration and Congress continue to explore additional strategies to create jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth, it is critical to acknowledge the progress that has already been made."