Tag Archives: inequality

CHARTS: Here’s What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About…

12 Oct

The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation’s history—at the end of the 1920s. Unemployment has also reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression.

Unemployment is way up.

And that’s just people who meet the strict criteria for “unemployed.” Include people working part-time who want to work full-time, plus some people who haven’t looked for a job in a while, and unemployment’s at 17%

Meanwhile, corporate profits are at an all-time high And CEO’s make 350 times what workers make. It was only 50 times in  1960-1985.

In fact, income inequality has gotten so extreme here that the US now ranks 93rd in the world in “income equality.” China’s ahead of us. So is India. So is Iran.

Click through to see a great set of charts on why people are angry.

When you can borrow money for nothing, and lend it back to the government risk-free for a few percentage points, you can COIN MONEY. And the banks are doing that. According to IRA, the “net interest margin” made by US banks in the first six months of this year is $211 Billion. Nice!

via CHARTS: Here’s What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About….


A Tale of Two Towers: 8 Spruce Street and One World Trade Center

11 Oct

Spruce Street and One World Trade Center I took part in last Wednesday’s Community/Labor March To Wall St. in New York City. I met some musician buddies at Washington Square Park and we marched to Foley Square with the New York University group, though none of us are affiliated with NYU. From Foley Square, a bit Northeast of City Hall. There we joined up with the main crowd, and a passel of musicians, and headed on to Liberty Plaza, flanked and guided by police all the way.

Not long after we left Washington Square Park, say a five or six blocks out, I noticed this building ahead, and I kept tracking it all the way down:

NYC - Civic Center: 8 Spruce Street

Photo of 8 Spruce Street by Wally Gobetz

That’s a new luxury apartment building at 8 Spruce Street, just south of City Hall. It was designed by starchitect Frank Gehry.

Does anyone who lives there care about us marchers? I thought. It’s a pricy building, with studio apartments starting at $3770 a month, which is over $42,000 per year, and two bedrooms at $6045 per month, almost $61,000 per year. I’m thinking that, no, the folks who live there are more likely in the 1% who’re living high off of banker’s bonuses than in the 99% who can’t afford health insurance and who won’t have pensions when they retire.

More likely than not, they think things are pretty much OK as they are. Maybe the bonuses are a little slim, but the rabble down here marching to Liberty Plaza, we don’t figure in their view of the world. They have no empathy with us.

But then how could they?

My father was an engineer. He worked in an office. But his work took him into coal mines to collect samples and to inspect the coal face. He knew that mining was dirty and dangerous work and believed that no one should have authority over coal miners unless they’d worked in the mines themselves. Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street

11 Oct

Dead Face of Domination

For an explanation with a positive, if silent, ending, see Wall Street: The Dead Face of Domination.

On why the protests won’t stop, see The Banker’s Don’t Get It.

The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com

2 Oct

Arab Springs comes to Wall Street:

“This was absolutely inspired by Tahrir Square, by the Arab Spring movement,” said Tyler Combelic, 27, a Web designer from Brooklyn who is a spokesman for the occupiers. “Enough is enough!”

The protesters are dazzling in their Internet skills, and impressive in their organization. The square is divided into a reception area, a media zone, a medical clinic, a library and a cafeteria. The protesters’ Web site includes links allowing supporters anywhere in the world to go online and order pizzas (vegan preferred) from a local pizzeria that delivers them to the square.

This is big (boldface mine):

In effect, the banks socialized risk and privatized profits. Securitizing mortgages, for example, made many bankers wealthy while ultimately leaving governments indebted and citizens homeless.

We’ve seen that inadequately regulated, too-big-to-fail banks can undermine the public interest rather than serve it — and in the last few years, banks got away with murder. It’s infuriating to see bankers who were rescued by taxpayers now moan about regulations intended to prevent the next bail-out. And it’s important that protesters spotlight rising inequality: does it feel right to anyone that the top 1 percent of Americans now possess a greater collective net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent?

via The Bankers and the Revolutionaries – NYTimes.com.