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‘Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley made national news last year when he fought to pass and signed a tax bill that levied a tax on Marylanders, businesses and churches for the amount of “impervious surface” they have on their property.

Though the O’Malley administration calls it a “fee,” it is commonly called the “rain tax” throughout the state. It is wildly unpopular and the promise to fight to repeal the tax was a large factor in Maryland electing Republican Larry Hogan governor this month.

Now Prince George’s County is offering a way for churches to avoid paying the tax, which is estimated to be an average of $744 per year for them — preach “green” to their parishioners.’

Read more: Churches Won’t Be Charged ‘Rain Tax’ if they Preach Global Warming

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Abby Martin speaks with Rolling Stone journalist, Matt Taibbi, about a JP Morgan Chase whistleblower that has come forward to expose how the company knowingly sold toxic mortgages to investors and how the Justice Department used her as a pawn in its settlement negotiations with the financial giant.

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‘Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, in an Odessa TV address to the nation, on November 13th, said:

“We will have our jobs. They will not. We will have our pensions. They will not. We will have care for children, for people, and retirees. They will not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens. Theirs will hole up in basements [from our bombs]. Because they are not able to do anything. This is exactly how we will win this war! [I.e., we will starve and terrorize them into submission.]”’

Read more: Ukraine’s President, to the People He’s Bombing: Go to Hell!

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State OKs Additional $5M for New Sandy Hook Elementary School

20 Nov 2014 The State Bond Commission on Wednesday approved another $5 million for the planning and design of a new Sandy Hook Elementary School. The grant is part of the state’s commitment to spend up to $50 million to build a new educational facility for the children of Newtown. The old Sandy Hook Elementary School was demolished after a[n alleged] gunman killed six educators and 20 children in December 2012.

[Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy (D) is making cuts as the state is running a projected deficit of $99 million, but $50 million is being wasted on a new school to replace a school that was just used for the big drill-gone-live in December 2012.]

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SIGAR: Pentagon’s $700M – $800M economic development in Afghanistan ‘accomplished nothing’

18 Nov 2014 The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says he is investigating the Pentagon’s efforts to spark that country’s economic development, which cost between $700 million and $800 million and “accomplished nothing.” SIGAR’s chief, John Sopko, told reporters Tuesday, that the agency has opened an “in-depth review” into the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), a Defense Department unit aimed at developing war zone mining, industrial development and fostering private investments…More broadly, Sopko faulted the US government’s economic development efforts in Afghanistan as “an abysmal failure,” saying it lacked a single leader, a clear strategy or accountability.

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The head of the Ukraine Central Bank just announced on Ukrainian TV: “in the vaults of the Central Bank there is almost no gold left.”

  • 20 tons unaccounted for
  • Likely didn’t just disappear, but has been quietly depleted over the past year
  • Or has been spirited away to the US
  • Historically this is a trend preceding failed states i.e. USSR
  • Serious reason to believe US has possession
Tyler Durden (Zerohedge)

7 hours ago | 2006 6

Was it a heist?
This article originally appeared at Zero Hedge

Back in March, at a time when the IMF reported that Ukraine’s official gold holdings as of the end of February, so just as the State Department-facilitated coup against former president Victor Yanukovich was concluding, amounted to 42.3 tonnes or 8% of reserves…

… and notably under the previous “hated” president, Ukraine gold’s reserves had constantly increased hitting a record high just before the presidential coup…

… we reported of a strange incident that took place just after the Ukraine presidential coup, namely that according to at least one source, “in a mysterious operation under the cover of night, Ukraine’s gold reserves were promptly loaded onboard an unmarked plane, which subsequently took the gold to the US.” To wit:

Tonight, around at 2:00 am, an unregistered transport plane took off took off from Boryspil airport. According to Boryspil staff, prior to the plane’s appearance, four trucks and two cargo minibuses arrived at the airport all with their license plates missing. Fifteen people in black uniforms, masks and body armor stepped out, some armed with machine guns. These people loaded the plane with more than forty heavy boxes.

After this, several mysterious men arrived and also entered the plane. The loading was carried out in a hurry. After unloading, the plateless cars immediately left the runway, and the plane took off on an emergency basis.

Airport officials who saw this mysterious “special operation” immediately notified the administration of the airport, which however strongly advised them “not to meddle in other people’s business.”

Later, the editors were called by one of the senior officials of the former Ministry of Income and Fees, who reported that, according to him, tonight on the orders of one of the “new leaders” of Ukraine, all the gold reserves of the Ukraine were taken to the United States.

Needless to say there was no official confirmation of any of this taking place, and in fact our report, in which we mused if the “price of Ukraine’s liberation” was the handover of its gold to the Fed at a time when Germany was actively seeking to repatriate its own physical gold located at the bedrock of the NY Fed, led to the usual mainstream media mockery.

Until now.

In an interview on Ukraine TV, none other than the head of the Ukraine Central Bank made the stunning admission that “in the vaults of the central bank there is almost no gold left. There is a small amount of gold bullion left, but it’s just 1% of reserves.”

As Ukraina further reports, this stunning revelation means that not only has Ukraine been quietly depleting its gold throughout the year, but that the latest official number, according to which Ukraine gold was 8 times greater than the reported 1%, was fabricated, and that the real number is about 90% lower.

According to official statistics the NBU, the amount of gold in the vaults should be eight times more than is actually in stock. At the beginning of this month, the volume of gold was about $ 1 billion, or 8% of the total gold reserves. Now this is just one percent.

Of course, considering the official reserve data at the Central Bank has been clearly fabricated, one wonders just how long ago the actual gold “dmsplacement” took place.

We can get some additional information from Rusila

According to recent data, the value of Ukraine gold should be $988.7 million. That is the value of gold proportion of gold in gold reserves is 8%. If you believe Gontareva, it turns out there is a mere $123.6 million in gold remaining.

The figure is fantastic, considering that the amount of gold at the end of February (when the new authorities have already taken key positions) was $1.8 billion or 12% of the reserves.

In other words, since the beginning of the year gold reserves dropped almost 16 times. Gold stock in February were approximately 21 tons of gold, the presence of which was once proudly reported by Sergei Arbuzov, who led the NBU in 2010-2012. So what happened to 20.8 tons of gold?

Explaining the dramatic reduction in the context of the hryvnia devaluation through gold sales is impossible. After all, 92% of the reserves of the National Bank is in the form of a foreign currency that is much easier to use to maintain hryvnia levels and cover current liabilities. Besides since March the international price of gold has plummeted. Selling ??gold under such circumstances is a crime. In fact it would be more expedient to increase gold reserves through currency conversion in precious metals.

But apparently the result is not due to someone’s negligence or carelessness. The gold reserve has been actively carted out of the country, as a result of the very vague economic and political prospects of Ukraine. Something similar happened to the gold reserves of the USSR – when the Gorbachev elite realized that perestroika is leading the country to the abyss, gold simply disappeared in an unknown direction.

The article’s conclusion:

As history shows, the reduction of the gold reserves in the context of an acute political crisis is usually preceded by the collapse of the state.

Oddly enough there was no official gold reduction just prior to the time when Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland was planning Yanukovich’s ouster, and as shown above, quite the contrary. It is a little more odd that it was during the period when Ukraine was “supported” by its western allies that several billion dollars worth of physical gold - the people’s gold - just “vaporized.”

In any event, now that the disappearance of Ukraine’s gold has been confirmed, perhaps it is time to refresh the “unconfirmed” story that a little after the current Ukraine regime took power the bulk of Ukraine’s gold was taken to the United States.

As of this writing, The NY Fed has still not answered our March request for a comment whether Ukraine’s gold has been redomiciled at the gold vault located some 80 feet below Liberty 33.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics_ukraine_society/2014/11/19/04-47-13pm/ukraines_gold_officially_missing

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Kiev’s foreign reserves plunged last month by a whopping 23.2 per cent to a paltry $12.6 billion.

By the end of the year it will be even messier.

Kiev’s gotta pay a $3.1 billion gas bill to Gazprom, or else…

The central bank will have to sell more foreign currency to support the hryvnia. And there are MORE hefty gas bills as General Winter advances.

Is the austerity-devastated EU lending them at least one euro? Of course not.

Ukrainians take a bath

 

It’s up to the IMF, who now OWNS Ukraine.

Yet there will only be “emergency funding” if Kiev applies that good ol’ “structural adjustment” – as in turning the overwhelming mass of Ukrainians into beggars for life.

These are the facts. The rest is rubbish.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics_ukraine_business/2014/11/17/08-43-07pm/pepe_escobar_explains_ukrainian_economics_1_minute

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(Photo: Bob Jagendorf / creative commons)

(Photo: Bob Jagendorf / creative commons)

Out of California’s years-long litigation over reducing the population of prisons deemed unconstitutionally overcrowded by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, another obstacle to addressing the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration has emerged: The utility of cheap prison labor.

In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs.

The dispute culminated Friday, when a three-judge federal panel ordered California to expand an early parole program. California now has no choice but to broaden a program known as 2-for-1 credits that gives inmates who meet certain milestones the opportunity to have their sentences reduced. But California’s objections raise troubling questions about whether prison labor creates perverse incentives to keep inmates in prison even when they don’t need to be there.

The debate centers around an expansive state program to have inmates fight wildfires. California is one of several states that employs prison labor to fight wildfires. And it has the largest such program, as the state’s wildfire problem rapidly expands arguably because of climate change. By employing prison inmates who are paid less than $2 per day, the state saves some $1 billion, according to a recent BuzzFeed feature of the practice. California relies upon that labor source, and only certain classes of nonviolent inmates charged with lower level offenses are eligible for the selective program. They must then meet physical and other criteria.

In exchange, they get the opportunity for early release, by earning twice as many credits toward early release as inmates in other programs would otherwise earn, known as 2-for-1 credits. In February, the federal court overseeing California’s prison litigation ordered the state to expand this 2-for-1 program to some other rehabilitation programs so that other inmates who exhibit good behavior and perform certain work successfully would also be eligible for even earlier release.

As has been California’s practice in this litigation, California didn’t initially take the order that seriously. It continued to work toward reducing its prison population. In fact, the ballot initiative passed by voters in November to reclassify several nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors will go a long way toward achieving that goal. But it insisted that it didn’t have to do it the way the court wanted it to, because doing so could deplete the state’s source of inmate firefighters.

The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration. But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters. That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program. This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence.

The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either. It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool. They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be “forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.” In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.

The plaintiffs had this to say in response: “Defendants baldly assert that if the labor pool for their garage, garbage, and city park crews is reduced, then ‘CDCR would be forced to draw-down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF positions.’ That is a red herring; Defendants would not be ‘forced’ to do anything. They could hire public employees to perform tasks like garbage collection, garage work and recycling … ”

In a short order Friday, the federal court seemingly agreed with this argument, ordering California to expand its 2-for-1 credits program.

California’s resistance to the initial federal court order is not surprising. Despite making some real strides in reducing its prison population relative to other states, the state has fought court orders every step of the way, as Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that the prisons were on the verge of being “gold plated.” But its newest line of argument reveals another obstacle to prison reform that may affect many other states without a court order for reform.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/18/california-tells-court-it-cant-release-inmates-early-because-it-would-lose-cheap

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By PD Lawton
Exclusive To Rense.com
11-19-14

What do Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have in common?

Strangely enough more than just Ebola. Western Liberia is part of an Archaean age craton which spreads into Sierra Leone and Guinea. This type of rock strata is full of diamondiferous kimberlites.

What makes the diamonds of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia so special is that this is one of the rare regions in the world containing large alluvial diamonds, ie. whopping huge rocks of 300 plus carats.

March 2014 ­ first outbreak of Ebola in Liberia

August 2013 ­ Youssef Diamond Mining announces “exciting new discovery of diamonds in Liberia`s cratonic region” at their Camp Alpha Project in Liberia. Exciting because this kimberlite `pipe` may well be economically feasible to mine. Only 1% of the 6500 kimberlites discovered world-wide are feasible to mine.
So does this make Ebola Operation Jungle Storm? (Operation Desert Storm-Kuwait-NATO invasion-downfall of Saddam Hussein and the entire state of Iraq)
Zimbabwe has recently hosted an international diamond conference. The outcome of the conference established the fact that the demand for polished diamonds is expected to outstrip supply over the next decade. The president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses stated that the demand for polished diamonds will grow to 6.4% over the next decade while rough diamond supply will only grow at a compound rate of 2%.

You may wonder how these people know such precise future figures!???That is because the world diamond trade is a cartel. They set the prices, supply and demand. Diamonds are not scarce. But apart from that, we can understand through the forecast of the diamond trade  that the big money will be in the big polished stones as the growing middleclass of China and India look to invest their money in assets.

Liberian diamonds are 25% gem quality. 40% near gem and 35% industrial. The Star of Sierra Leone was dug up in the Koidu area in 1972. It is the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered. It is 968.9-carat and is of perfect chemical purity. It was sold to a private buyer for $2.5 million 42 years ago.
In neighbouring Sierra Leone, an Israeli mining magnate and member of the shining super-rich elite, Beny Steinmetz is operating within the Koidu area with his Octea Group, part of Steinmetz BSG Resources. Beny Steinmetz is connected to Dan Gertler connected to Maurice Tempelsman connected to diamond mining genocide wherever they go especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If you think that diamonds cannot be the reason for the destabilization of entire nations, then think again.

We do not as yet have the documents to prove that DeBeers/Anglo American financed Executive Outcomes which was a private South African based mercenary company (3000 man and hind helicopters-strong) which was used to destabilize Sierra Leone in the 1990s civil war. But we have every bit of evidence to point to the fact this is what happened.

“Our problem in this country is that we have too many DeBeers interested in our mineral resources who stirred up this war. When I saw that people were playing with our country I called upon the RUF in the name of peace.” Major Johnny-Paul Koroma of the Sierra Leonean Army, 1997.

Ebola is a man-made disaster. The Ebola virus was patented by the United States department for health (CDC). The patent number is US20120251502A1.  Ebola is part of the new Humanitarian Imperialism/Fascism. It is a cover-story for increased US/UK presence in countries where resources are wanted. Ebola is about corporations wanting to control resource-rich areas, it is about de-populating areas, it is about gaining control of DIAMOND FIELDS. It is about having a cover-story to look good in the eyes of the public.

The International Charter for Space and Major Disasters (UK based) has been called in to assist in the management of Ebola. This Charter is an international agreement to provide free satellite images but its activation in October 2014 was the first time it has been used to assist with the response to a disease (info from AllAfrica.com) The Charter will allow the World Health Organization to acquire satellite pictures of Sierra Leone and Guinea and will provide maps and aerial overviews of rural locations.

Now get this straight folks….`They` need satellite images of diamond fields to help people with an haemorrhagic fever?
PD Lawton 09/11/14

http://www.rense.com/general96/ebomanmade.html

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Economists, Military Strategists and Others Warned Us … Long Ago

We’ve known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one’s own people is always aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 2,000 years that wars are based on lies.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for millennia that torture is a form of terrorism.

We’ve known for thousands of years that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreads.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for centuries that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands are dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.

We’ve known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone else.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that standing armies and warmongering harm Western civilization.

We’ve known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation’s prosperity.

We’ve known for two centuries that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.

We’ve known for 200 years that a two-party system quickly becomes corrupted.

We’ve known for over a century that torture produces false and useless information.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See this, this, this and this.

We’ve known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.

We’ve known for 79 years that war is a racket that benefits the elites but harms everyone else.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Postscript:  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it … and we’ve known that for a long time.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/11/crisis-foreseeable-thousands-years-ago.html

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Aldous Huxley, the brilliant English writer and philosopher who authored Brave New World, described a future world in which an oligarchical elite would produce a psychological tyranny where the masses would actually enjoy their servitude.

Ignorance is bliss?

The following video demonstrates exactly what is wrong with America. Namely, the fact that we have a country filled with abysmally ignorant, moronic individuals who do not know how to properly use their brains. Most people, especially the younger generations of Americans, strictly concern themselves with watching television, cheering for their favorite sports team, and following the lives of degenerate Hollywood celebrities.
Aldous Huxley smoking, circa 1946
Aldous Huxley, (1946 photo) the brilliant English writer and philosopher who authored Brave New World, described a future world in which an oligarchical elite would produce a psychological tyranny where the masses would actually enjoy their servitude, and would be completely ignorant as to the reality of their slavery. He once stated:
There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.
Is this not exactly what we see in America today? The vast majority of people are totally uninterested in anything serious. They are completely ignorant and clueless about the true nature of our history and political system. Most are literally living in a “painless concentration camp” where the only things that matter are degenerate, disgusting Jewish-promoted “entertainment”, useless and unnecessary consumer products, and fulfilling their base sexual and physiological needs.
As they say, ignorance is bliss. Unfortunately, what most people assume to be bliss is in actuality tyranny and perversion.
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‘Poland seized private pension funds and have mandated those money to be invested in government bonds last February. Beware – this is coming to a theater near you. The Polish government seized $51bn of privately run pension funds and transferred them back into “state control” in a dramatic reversal of a reform that central and eastern European countries had once embraced to help develop capital markets after the fall of communism.

Warsaw shifted the assets, which are made up of Polish government bonds accounting for more than half the amount under private fund management and the benefit obligations back into the state-run pay-as-you-go component of the scheme. Polish pension funds OFEs transferred PLN 3.3 bln to social security ZUS in preretirement asset shift. Sources say they have some up $1 billion short of expectations. Guess people withdrew?’

Read more: Polish Pension Funds Seized by Government – Who is Next?

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US Planes Supplying ISIL with Weapons, Foodstuff – Iraq Intel Report

16 Nov 2014 Iraqi intelligence sources disclosed that US military planes have been supplying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Takfiri terrorists with weapons and foodstuff under the guise of air raids on militants’ positions. The Iraqi forces have found out that the US aircraft usually airdrop arms and food cargoes for ISIL militants who collect them on the ground, Asia news agency quoted Iraqi army’s intelligence officers as saying. “The Iraqi intelligence sources reiterated that the US military planes have airdropped several aid cargoes for ISIL terrorists to help them resist the siege laid by the Iraqi army, security and popular forces,” added the report. On Saturday, Iraqi security sources disclosed that the ISIL terrorist group is using the state-of-the-art weapons which are only manufactured by the US and each of their bullets are worth thousands of dollars.

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Even years after the Occupy protests (love ‘em or hate ‘em, they focused everyone’s attention on inequality),  Americans are still clueless about how much inequality we really have in our country.

As we noted in 2011:

Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School demonstrateAmericans consistently underestimate the amount of inequality in our nation.

As William Alden wrote last September:

Americans vastly underestimate the degree of wealth inequality in America, and we believe that the distribution should be far more equitable than it actually is, according to a new study.

Or, as the study’s authors put it: “All demographic groups — even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy — desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.”

The report … “Building a Better America — One Wealth Quintile At A Time” by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School … shows that across ideological, economic and gender groups, Americans thought the richest 20 percent of our society controlled about 59 percent of the wealth, while the real number is closer to 84 percent.

(Indeed, even those who assume they’re educated about inequality may not realize that we’re at lord and serf levels.)

Ariely subsequently explained that both Republicans and Democrats are passionately opposed to the degree of inequality we have in the U.S. … but that politicians may be trying to make us think we’re more equal than we really are (The media and Wall Street are also trying to hide the size of the gap).

Les Leopold reports today on a new study which confirms how clueless Americans are about inequality:

A[n] important study (“How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay”) by Sorapop Kiatpongsan and Michael I. Norton provides insight on why Americans aren’t more upset about rising inequality: It shows we are clueless about how bad it really is. Their analysis of a 2009 international survey of 55,187 people from 40 countries, found that when it comes to understanding the severity of inequality, we’re the most clueless of all.

Americans are virtually blind to the growing gap between CEO pay and the pay of the average worker. As the chart below shows that gap has increased dramatically. In 1965, for every dollar earned by the average worker, CEOs earned 20 dollars. By 2012, that gap mushroomed to 354 to one.

2014-11-15-aflwagegap.JPG

But, when asked in the survey, Americans grossly underestimated this gap. Instead of 354 to 1, the Americans in representative survey think it is only 30 to 1. When asked what the ideal pay gap should be, Americans say that a fair gap would be about 7 to 1.

More amazing still, the survey results, combined for all countries, show that the misconception of inequality doesn’t significantly vary by age, gender, income, political leanings or education.

To see if these finding also hold for the U.S., I waded into the database: Does political affiliation and education impact how the 1,581 Americans in the survey estimated the wage gap? (The data comes from the International Social Survey Programme: Social Inequality IV – ISSP 2009 on the website Gesis. )

2014-11-15-paygapbypartyandeducation.JPG

As the chart above shows, “Strong Democrats” estimated that the actual ratio between a CEO of a large corporation and an unskilled factory worker was about 36 to 1. “Strong Republicans” said it was 40 to 1. A difference without a distinction.

When it comes to offering opinions about what the wage gap should be, the Strong Democrats thought 5 to 1 was about right, while the Strong Republicans thought it should be about 12 to 1. The two political extremes obviously are much closer to each other than to the current reality of 354 to 1.

***

When it comes to our ignorance of the pay gap, there are no blue states, no red states — only misinformed states of mind. We’re the Know-Nothings of inequality.

Why are we so blind to inequality?
Most of us have no idea that our golden land of opportunity is the runaway leader among developed nations when it comes to inequality, (see chart below.) This dubious distinction runs counter to American Dream that we’ve been indoctrinated with since birth. As a result, we reflexively think that America is epitome of democracy — the fairest most just and most upwardly mobile country in history. That makes it hard for us to account for why we are more unequal than all these other countries. So, I suspect many of us just tune out the data. It’s too jarring to the deep-seated doctrines that comprise our national identity.

***

We may still be living with this cultural hangover and operating from a societal self-image from yesteryear. We are likely to cling to it for quite awhile, in part, because it’s comforting as new economic insecurities take hold. As workers from other nations pass us by, we look in the mirror and still hope we are the fairest of them all.

And see this.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/11/americans-still-idea-much-inequality.html

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