Tag Archives: Poor

Doing the math at Walmart

By Treamell Lawrence

walmart-subsidy-1Tim Wise, an anti-racism activist and writer who spoke at CCSU’s Bridging the Gap: A Dream Deferred event on Dec. 10, mentioned that every incident has a predicate.

Income inequality affects more  minorities because the ugly truth is the dominant whites always have  benefits.  Powerful conservative forces are the protectors of the status quo and insist that wealth stays in the hands of the private sector and wealthy class.  They oppose government policies and programs that hint at the redistribution of public and private resources to benefit Blacks.

Wise argued that we are living in a Snapchat nation because most whites want to forget about slavery and other harmful things done to minorities.  Wise illustrated the world we live by comparing it to the movie The Matrix based on Neo’s decision to take the blue pill which represented a simulated comfortable world or the red pill which represented the real world of physical and emotional abuse based on their uniqueness.

Wise explained that the mainstream media is sometimes part of the simulated world when they misrepresent those who combat income inequality, Black poverty or police brutality.  For example, in my previous blog I mentioned Bishop John Selders, Jr. who is a part of Black Lives Matter.  Fox News may label Bishop John Selders  a bigot and frame Black Lives Matter as an unstable, dangerous group when they are an activist group protesting against the mistreatment of Black Americans and police brutality.

Wise he informed his fellow Wwite Americans that the reason  Black Americans are afraid of the police is because in America’s early days police were the slave patrols.  They would lynch African Americans during picnics and sold their body parts as trophies.  Within my generation, minorities are not in tune with politics, which allows whites to use this to their advantage to vote for someone who represents their interest.

This furthers widens the gap between the rich and the poor.  It is amazing how evident this is as  Wise pointed out that six heirs of Walmart have a combined wealth of 127 million African Americans in our country.  We have Walmart, the wealthiest corporation pay their employees non-livable wages.  Those same employees take advantage of Walmart’s Snap Benefits or Food Stamps.

I feel that the legal system further enhanced income inequality.   African American’s built this country with their blood, sweat and tears, but some white Americans want to label them  lazy.  A good example would be the famous 1857 Dred Scott case, which stated that Blacks had no rights.  According to the Pew Research Center, “In 2010, Black men were six times as likely as  white men to be incarcerated in federal, state or local jails.”

Wise said that for the past 10 years, about 1.6 million Black people are walking around with criminal records because of the disproportional application of laws against Blacks and other minorities.  Blacks with criminal records cannot get good jobs with  livable wages or  a better education, which keeps benefits, wealth and resources flowing toward the  dominant group.  When you get a chance please read Tim Wise book, Dear White People.

Tax Fairness & Wealth/Income Inequality

Source: Huffington Post

Most people acknowledge the vast wealth/income gap in America.

Documentaries have covered it.

The New York Times has written a plethora of articles about it.

Politicians have even denounced it.

Realizing a problem is one thing. Solving that problem is another issue.

Anyone can talk about how terrible it is, or watch, and read, and listen to the awful effects it has on this country. We need to go above and beyond to offer solutions.

Unfortunately, there is no single answer when it comes to solving wealth and income inequality in America.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Source: efile.com
Source: efile.com

Instead, break the problem down. Look at a single issue as a piece to solving the puzzle of wealth/income inequality.

One piece of the puzzle that should be looked at is the lack of tax fairness in this country.

Theoretically, America has a progressive tax. A single American who makes over $413,200 from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015 has to pay a tax rate of 39.6 percent.

A single American who makes between $1 and $9,225 has to pay a rate of 10 percent.

Although it sounds fair on paper, things tend to work out differently when push comes to shove.

Source: The Washington Post
Source: The Washington Post

In 2012, the average tax paid by the top 50 percent of earners was 14.33 percent, according to the IRS.

How fair is that?

The country’s richest people tend to earn from their various investments.

Investments are taxed at a much lower rate than income. The nation’s wealthiest residents also are eligible for many other tax breaks. Some may surprise you.

These factors lead to Warren Buffett paying a lesser tax rate than his secretary, or Mitt Romney paying taxes at a 14 percent rate.

Tightening up restrictions and closing these loopholes would create a fairer America.

FDR. Source: History.com

This doesn’t mean the tax rate has to be at a WWII level, when Franklin D. Roosevelt taxed top earners 94 percent.

There are other options. With a concentrated effort, a difference could be made.

It’s time for America to start putting the puzzle together.


 

By: Jackson Rioux

Tragedy of the Commons

What would William Forster Lloyd say about the world today?

The 19th century British writer in economics was particularly interested in population control. In 1833, Lloyd introduced a scenario that would later be known as, “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

Source: microfeeder.com

Imagine a flourishing, green, grazing area that is available to all the members of a town. There would be plenty of room for the members to bring a sufficient number of cattle to the green.

That is, if everyone acted in the best interest of the town. Unfortunately, greed takes over, and a small group of farmers exploit the green. The green is eventually overgrazed, and destroyed.

Thus, the tragedy of the commons.

Today, the farmers are corporations such as Nike and Apple. The green is the number of job opportunities American corporations should be offering their citizens.

Instead, Nike offers $200 shoes made by female workers who earn around 50 cents an hour in foreign countries.

Source: Inequality For All
Source: “Inequality for All”

Apple is no better. A 2014 report from BBC exposes the vast mistreatment Chinese workers faced.

These practices are hurting Americans too.

America lost 5.1 millions jobs from 2001-2011 due to outsourcing, according to US News & World Report. This only deepens the divide between the rich and the poor.

Source: Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley

Outsourcing is not the only reason for the income divide, but it’s no coincidence that America’s income inequality is at a boiling point. In fact, the divide is the highest it’s been since 1928.

However, there is reason to be optimistic. 60,000 manufacturing jobs were added in the United States in 2014. The same article reports “only” 50,000 jobs were “outsourced,” in 2014.

2014’s net increase of 10,000 jobs was the first time in at least 20 years there had been an increase.

Perhaps that once green pasture of American jobs will return after all.


By: Jackson Rioux