Submitted by libbyliberal on Thu, 09/29/2011 - 5:22am
Joseph Kishore reports that last week Forbes magazine released its annual inventory of the 400 richest Americans. Their combined wealth, points out Kishore, "soared" to $1.53 trillion this year, up 12% from last year. To clear the list, Kishore explains, you have to earn 10,000 times the median net worth of an American household.
96 of the “super rich” list are investors. Only 4 are from manufacturing.
Kishore pays particular attention to the 17th rung occupant, John Paulson, a hedge fund manager. He is worth $15.5 billion. Forbes attributes to Mr. Paulson something called the “Paulson paradox.” According to Kishore, Paulson’s hedge fund fell 30% last year, due primarily to poor speculation on Bank of America stock, while at the same time Paulson’s personal fortune increased a whopping 25%, amounting to $4.9 billion.
Kishore goes on to further frame the scope of Paulson’s vast fortune. His personal wealth of $15.5 billion is approximately equal to the total net income of the bottom 20 percent of the New York City Metropolitan area, or about 1.6 million people. The "Paulson paradox" making you sick, yet?
By Art Pulaski - Special to The Bee
Published Monday, Sep. 05, 2011
"Labor Day symbolizes our determination to achieve an economic freedom for the average man which will give his political freedom reality."
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sept. 6, 1936
America's greatness was not built by financial titans. It was built by women and men of average means who understood the value of a hard day's work and joined together to demand fair compensation for helping their companies to thrive. It was those workers who created the economic freedom FDR spoke of so many years ago, building the most robust middle class the world has ever known.
In 1935, FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act, which gave workers the right to join unions, and made it the policy of the United States to encourage employers to bargain with workers over wages, health care and retirement. The labor movement grew rapidly during that decade, leading the fight in the late 1930s to abolish child labor and establish the 40-hour work week.
As unions grew, so did workers' wages. Retirement security became, for many, reality instead of a pipe dream. Worker safety improved. The gains unions made for members spread to nonunion workers, buoying the whole economy.
As elated as we were when President Obama was elected in 2008, after a disastrous eight years under the repressive and war-mongering Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has been a major disappointment to the working class and Progressives of this country.
So much so that on July 30, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party adopted a resolution criticizing President Obama for negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, and suggesting that we may explore steps to "effect necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama." The resolution, overwhelmingly adopted at a meeting of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party July 30, did not say President Obama would not be that candidate.
The officers and members of the caucus are willing to meet with the President if he wishes to discuss our concerns. In fact, we would welcome the opportunity. Our Caucus leadership wishes HOPE BEYOND HOPE that President Obama will rework his priorities to respond to the needs of working class Americans in order to get progressive support in 2012.
Wednesday, June 29 @ 5 PM
Hilton Sacramento Arden West
(2200 Harvard Street, across the freeway from the Arden Mall)
Columbia Sussex is out, but the fight continues!
Thanks to all of the support from around Sacramento, the Union’s boycott of the Hilton Arden West has been a huge success! Columbia Sussex, the previous owner, went into default and no longer owns the hotel. Now the new owners need to give workers a fair contract NOW!
Let’s show the new owners that Sacramento demands justice for the Hilton workers!
UPDATE: In addition to the noon rally there is also a candlelight vigil and visibility at the Capitol:
4 – 10 PM Visibility
8:30 PM Candlelight Vigil
Please join hundreds of California farm workers, students, faith leaders, labor and community supporters to rally for fair treatment of farm workers this Thursday June 16, in Sacramento.
We need to ensure that the laws on the books actually become the laws in the fields where many farm workers still lack access to basic needs including: shade, water, heat training and even short breaks during scorching summer days.
What: Rally at the Capitol to support fair treatment of farm workers
When: Thursday, June 16, 12:00 p.m.
Where: North side of the Capitol (corner of 11th Street and L Street)
SB 104: Providing Farm Workers a 75-Year-Old Protection
By Dylan J. Anderson
United Farm Workers
Recently, both the California Senate and Assembly passed SB 104, "The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act." Introduced by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), SB 104 would give the state’s more than 400,000 farm workers an alternative to on-the-job polling place elections to decide whether to join a union. The new option would allow them to fill out state-issued representation ballots in their homes, away from bosses’ threats and other interference. If a simple majority – more than 50 percent – of workers signs the ballots, their jobs would be unionized.
Many workers do not have access to basic things like shade, water, heat training or even breaks during the hot summer days. Without SB 104, nothing will change. Wage and hour violations will continue. Overexposure to pesticides will go unchallenged. Sexual harassment will remain rampant and the health crises caused by a lack of sanitation and lax safety standards will continue to plague farm workers.
The current obsession with state workers' wages and benefits, which has been sweeping the nation from the Midwest to California, is distracting Americans from the real economic questions we should urgently be asking ourselves.
In view of the enormous – and growing – inequalities in incomes and wealth in this country, it is nothing short of astonishing that so much resentment, to such a broad extent, has been generated over the benefit packages promised to teachers, firefighters, DMV staffers and highway repair crews, that there is no resentment left over for the real beneficiaries of our broken social and economic system. State workers are being held responsible for a wide range of budgetary and economic problems, whereas those who bear actual responsibility for those problems have been able to evade scrutiny, let alone being asked to pay any kind of price.
The result is the growing rallying cry that state workers should be stripped of pension and health care benefits that most private sector workers lost many years ago, so that they too can join the race to the bottom of wretchedness to which more and more Americans seem committed.
On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. Today, that same demand is electrifying people across America. It's the demand of all people—regardless of race: The right to join together for our common dreams.
Let's make April 4, 2011 a time to stand in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for.