Do Your Job

I emailed this to Michigan’s two U.S. Senators, Stabenow (D) and Peters (R).
Please pass on to your peers in the Senate, this message from me:

I was issued an Employee Expectation Handbook where I work. I think most businesses have them. If I were to disregard even one expectation, knowingly and willingly, I would be summarily fired – and rightly so.
The U.S. Senate has an Employee Expectation Handbook; it’s call the Constitution of the United States of America. That is the Document all elected officials pledge to uphold and defend. Any elected official who knowingly and willfully disregards his or her clearly outlined duties to the Citizens of the USA, is guilty of violating the Constitution of the United States of America, and should be removed from office (summarily fired).

‘I can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses [NFIB].’
– U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Question: When did the NRA and the NFIB take control of the Senate? When did these groups along with Grover Norquist usurp power within the Republican Party? The 2nd Amendment is vital to America and should be upheld, but what about the other 26 Amendments? The 2nd Amendment is 3.7% of all Amendments; what of the other 96.3%? Without a U.S. Supreme Court at full strength, those protections, along with others, are weakened.
Senator McConnell and the Republican Party have zero Constitutional, Legal or Historical precedent to choose to disobey the Constitution regarding their clearly outlined duties (Jobs). That Senator McConnell and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate are derelict in said duties is a sad commentary on their ethics and fidelity.

Sincerely,

James A. Day

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From Stakeholder to Shareholder

The Paradigm shift that is devastating, and will ultimately destroy, the U.S. middle class      (admittedly a simplified explanation of a complicated issue)

An economy based on the stakeholder model is beneficial to a society as a whole.  The shareholder version benefits a few, while excluding the majority.

Stakeholders of a business include the owner, workers, the community in which a business is located, the directors on the board and shareholders.  All of these and more have a stake in the success or failure of that business.  A broader view would include the workers’ families, schools, fire and police, quality of life in a community and much more.  In the stakeholder model, all participate to varying degrees and all receive some reward.  Should the business fail, the remaining value is distributed as equitably as possible.

In opposition to the stakeholder, is the shareholder.  Shareholders are first, foremost and primarily the focus of a business.  If a business prospers, the shareholders prosper.  Workers and communities see little upward movement in their quality of life.  If a business goes bankrupt, shareholders are at the front of the line to grab up what value remains.  Once shareholders are made whole, what remains can be divided among creditors, workers and retirees.  In most cases, little remains after the shareholders feast on the carcass.

Prior to the mid to late 1970s, the U.S. economy was stakeholder based.  After WWII and up to the 70s, as the economy prospered, the wealth was more or less evenly distributed.  As profits and productivity rose, so did worker’s wages and benefits.  During this period, the U.S. middle class was envied worldwide.  A single wage earner could support a family comfortably.  CEOs were paid tens of times more than the average worker.  Communities also benefited: roads and bridges were maintained; schools, police and firefighters were adequately funded; money spent locally created more businesses and jobs.

After the 70s, the U.S. was intentionally shifted to the shareholder model.  Most of the change was accomplished secretly.  With a series of changes in bankruptcy laws and in regulations governing business, shareholders were given primary status.  Previously in a bankruptcy, shareholders were at the end of the line.  After retirees and workers were provided for, and creditors reimbursed (as much as remaining value allowed) then shareholders might be paid something.  And this makes sense.  Investors are warned repeatedly that any investment is a gamble; no investment is guaranteed.  By switching to a shareholder economy, those who work faithfully are punished, while those who are in essence, gambling, cut to the front of the line and grab up everything for themselves.

There is no moral imperative or Constitutional law guaranteeing primary status to shareholders and investors.  Laws, rules and regulations were intentionally changed to make it so.  Those same laws, rules and regulations can be changed back.  When stakeholders are restored to the position that benefits an economy and society, the middle class will recover.  CEOs will not be paid 300 – 400 times more than an average worker.  Retiree contracts will be honored, communities will recover and the U.S. will again enjoy shared prosperity.  Under stakeholder standards, shareholders and investors will still make profits on their investments.  Shareholders prospered during the age of the U.S. middle class.   Investors just won’t make profits at the expense of everyone else.

THE BIG SKIM, EXPOUNDED

 

THE BIG SKIM, EXPOUNDED *1

 

A Corporation fails miserably at an ill-conceived and poorly executed business deal.  That Corporation loses billions of dollars and no Executive is fired; no Director on the Board resigns in shame.  How can that be?

In that financial fiasco, Shareholders and Investors did not lose any money.  Since those people suffered no financial loss, there was (in their minds) no reason to fire or replace any Executive or Board Member.  That’s how.  Allow me to expound.

“Any investment carries risk” is a common warning on any investment portfolio.  Except that said risk does not apply to the bigger, wealthier Investors.  They enjoy protection from loss not availed to small Investors.  I doubt there is any paper trail to prove in a court of law that such unethical practices exist, but they do.   So how does such a staggering loss not affect the ultra-wealthy?

Occasionally a Corporation suffers a loss like the aforementioned, or from government fines via the EPA or OSHA, etc.  That loss should reduce a corporation’s profits, and hence Shareholder payouts.  But the money from these self-inflicted wounds does not come out of profits.  Executives will cut wages and benefits for workers, such as eliminating pensions or recalculating bonuses.  The money that was to go to workers is redirected to protect Investors.

Also, the corporation will raise the cost of service and equipment, usually in the guise of a “fee” slipped into intentionally confusing customer billing forms.  And often, money that had been slated for maintenance of existing company infrastructure (building cleaning services, replacement of aging equipment for example) is likewise redirected.  Another sleight of hand with corporate profits is cancelling planned build-outs.  Instead of three hundred miles of fiber laid down, it becomes fifty miles.

In the end, customers and workers suffer the loss.  Shareholders are protected by the Executives, and then the Executives are rewarded by the Shareholders (keep the bonuses, do not get fired, do not resign in shame).  It’s a nifty system if you are a wealthy Investor or an Executive or Board Member.  For workers and customers, not so much.

  • The stock market’s ‘big skim’  *1

Harold Meyerson
WashingtonPost

Like the mobsters who used to run the Las Vegas casinos of old, said Harold Meyerson, America’s biggest investors have been skimming off the top of corporate revenues for the past four decades. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, roughly 40 cents of every dollar that a U.S. corporation “borrowed or realized in net earnings” was reinvested in facilities, research, or new hires. But since the 1980s, “just 10 cents of those dollars have gone to investment,” while the rest has gone directly “into shareholders’ pockets.” This “shareholder revolution” has effectively undone the “broadly shared prosperity that Americans enjoyed” for much of the postwar era. Money that once went to expansion, new ventures, and employee compensation is now earmarked for payments to already wealthy investors. From 2003 to 2012, Fortune 500 companies devoted 91 percent of their net earnings to shareholder payouts. As a result, “finance is no longer an instrument for getting money into productive businesses” says City University of New York economist J.W. Mason, “but instead for getting money out of them.” In perpetrating this “perfectly legal skim,” American investors have done something not even the mob ever could: They have brought “America’s middle class to its knees.”

 

Corporate Welfare Queens

Five corporations during a five-year period, 2008 – 2013, epitomize Corporate Welfare.  These five had combined profits of $202 Billion and paid out CEO compensation of $450 Million ($638 Million if you count the one-time $188 Million Golden Parachute handed out to Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell Jr in 2006.

These Welfare Queens hid so much of their profits in offshore tax havens, they deprived the US Treasury of $50 Billion.  To quote salespeople on TV: “But wait! There’s more!”  You, the taxpayers of the United States, gifted these corporations with your hard earned money; they collected $6.2 Billion.             * I don’t remember them ever telling me “Thank You”.

 

Now keep in mind:  this is only five corporations over a five-year period.  Think if we add the next 95, or the next 495 top corporations.  How many trillions of dollars over a twenty-year period have they stolen?  If these Welfare Queens paid their fair share, even ten percent as opposed to -2 percent, this country would be on a firm financial footing.  The USA can afford:

– Universal Healthcare

– Four years of tuition free college and the end of crippling student debt

– Rebuilding Infrastructure: roads, bridges, waterways, etc.

– A living wage of $22 per hour as the minimum wage

– No National Debt nor Deficit

 

Instead, the CEOs of the corporations listed below, are members of a Business Roundtable that wants to raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security to 70, cut Social Security and veterans’ benefits, increase taxes on working families, and cut corporate taxes even further.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the top Five Corporate Welfare Queens.

 

  1. General Electric

During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve provided GE with $16 billion in financial assistance, at a time when its CEO Jeffrey Immelt was a director of the New York Federal Reserve.  GE has been a leader in outsourcing decent paying jobs to China, Mexico and other low-wage countries.  Mr. Immelt has a retirement account at General Electric worth an estimated $59 million and made $19 million in total compensation last year.

From 2008 to 2013, while GE made over $33.9 billion in United States profits, it received a total tax refund of more than $2.9 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.  In 2012, GE stashed $108 billion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying income taxes. If this practice were outlawed, GE would have paid $37.8 billion in federal income taxes that year.  G.E.’s effective U.S. corporate income tax rate over this six-year period was -9 percent.

 

  1. Boeing

Boeing is one of the top recipients of corporate welfare in the United States and has outsourced tens of thousands of decent paying jobs to China and other low-wage countries.  Boeing even has its own taxpayer-funded bank known as the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Boeing has received so much corporate welfare from this bank that it has been dubbed “the Bank of Boeing.”  Boeing CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. made $23.3 million in total compensation last year.

From 2008 to 2013, while Boeing made over $26.4 billion in U.S. profits, it received a total tax refund of $401 million from the IRS. Boeing’s effective U.S. corporate income tax rate over this six-year period was -2 percent.

 

  1. Verizon

In 2012, Verizon stashed $1.8 billion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. Verizon would owe an estimated $630 million in federal income taxes if its use of offshore tax avoidance was eliminated.  In 2013, Lowell McAdam, the CEO of Verizon made $15.8 million in total compensation.

From 2008 to 2013, while Verizon made over $42.4 billion in U.S. profits, it received a total tax refund of $732 million from the IRS.   Verizon’s effective U.S. corporate income tax rate over this six-year period was -2 percent.

 

  1. Bank of America

In 2012, Bank of America operated more than 300 subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands, which has no corporate taxes.  In 2012, Bank of America stashed $17.2 billion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. Bank of America would owe an estimated $4.3 billion in federal income taxes if its use of offshore tax avoidance strategies were eliminated.  Last year, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan made $13.1 million in total compensation,

Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS in 2010, even though it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of more than $1.3 trillion.

 

  1. Pfizer

In 2012, Pfizer stashed $73 billion in profits offshore and has used aggressive offshore tax strategies to avoid paying U.S. income taxes.  Ian Read, the CEO of Pfizer, made $17.7 million in total compensation last year.  Hank McKinnell, Jr., who was Pfizer’s CEO from 2001 to 2006, received a golden parachute from Pfizer worth an estimated $188 million.

Pfizer, one of the largest prescription drug companies in America, not only paid no federal income taxes from 2010 to 2012, it received $2.2 billion in tax refunds from the IRS at the same time it made $43 billion in profits worldwide.

Michigan GOP vs. the Mentally Ill

“You will know a tree by its’ fruit” – Jesus of Nazareth

Tax increases on Retired persons, and a $4.2 million annual cut to the Veterans Home of Grand Rapids were passed into law by the GOP controlled State Government.  These financial assaults on the middle class, on the poor and on vulnerable Veterans offset tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy.  Add the mentally ill to the list of people for whom Michigan Republican leaders have little regard.

Community Mental Health in Ottawa County provides services to about 2,500 people with developmental disabilities and mental illness.   County residents will vote for or against a first ever millage 1  (tax) for mental health in the State of Michigan.  With a budget of $38 million, Community Mental Health needs the millage to offset funding cuts by the State that have already caused reductions in staff and programs.  The $3.5 million raised will prevent further losses as future budget cuts by the State take effect.

As one mass shooting after another is ultimately attributed to a mentally ill person, it goes against common sense and self-preservation that budgets for mental health services are cut.  Mentally ill persons who have nowhere to turn for help end up as victims of violence, on the street or thrown into jail and a danger to their overwhelmed and helpless relatives.

Compassionate Conservatives talk endlessly about their concern for average citizens of Michigan.  I find their words to be as empty as their hearts.  Quoting a proverb attributed to Native Americans:

“I cannot hear your words over the thunder of your actions”.

 

1 Ottawa voters face mental health tax

Grand Rapids Press    November 29, 2015      page A5

TAX AVOIDANCE

$300 B annually   Tax avoidance by individuals  – Cayman Islands

$37 B annually    Fossil Fuel subsidies    Military budget to guard oil resources

 

$70B annually for free 4 year college

$1 T annually, Single Payer,  but with immediate savings of $592B (Admin 476B, competitive drug prices 116B)

Admin costs 2% for Medicare; Private admin cost 5%, but advertising and profits raise the cost to 17%

h.], the U.S. could save an estimated $592 billion annually by slashing the administrative waste associated with the private insurance industry ($476 billion) and reducing pharmaceutical prices to European levels ($116 billion). In 2014, the savings would be en

Awkward moment #57

I install and repair television, phone and internet products and services. I’m in customers homes every work day, and most days are mundane. Occasionally, not so much.

I was speaking with a middle aged woman in her kitchen about something or other when her little dog came in view. It was going crazy aggressive on a piece of cloth. We started laughing at the dog’s antics when simultaneously we noticed it: The dog had her underwear.

I broke out laughing, she turned red and chased after the dog. With not much more to discuss, I departed.

Grand Rapids Veterans Home

* For the purpose of this letter, the acronym GOP will stand in for “Currently active Michigan Congressional Republicans” plus Governor Snyder.

Originally, I was going to express my growing dismay at the inability of Michigan Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill.  The GOP has a strong majority in the Michigan House and Senate, plus control the Governorship.  This majority was able to author Right to Work legislation, pass it and have Governor Snyder sign it into law in roughly three weeks.  While RTW affects 7% of workers in Michigan, it was so very important to the GOP that they rammed that law thru in record time.  Funding for our roads and bridges affects 100% of all citizens of Michigan, but the GOP, thru its’ inaction, continues to prove it isn’t motivated to find a solution.  * Do not blame the Democrats – Republicans proved what they can do, if motivated, with the passage of Right to Work legislation.

Instead, my concern now is the situation in the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.  You may recall that in 2012 the Republican Controlled State Government cut $4.2 Million annually from the Veteran’s Home budget.  That cut amounted to 30% of State funding.  This cut in funding caused a budget crisis at the Veteran’s Home.

And what was the GOP’s solution to this manufactured crisis?  Blame the hard working men and women who dared earn a living wage and belong to a Union.  Privatization was the next step.  J2S was “awarded” a contract to care for our Veterans.  And what a bang up job J2S is doing: Trolling for employees on Craigslist; Chronically understaffed until caught, then forcing overtime upon the low paid, low benefit contract workers.

Everybody, and I mean everybody understood troubles were guaranteed to occur.  Everybody except the privatization obsessed Republican Party.  Issues that have been reported at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home so far are the tip of the iceberg.  It is worse than what has been reported to this point.  It doesn’t take a Prophet to see that.

So far I’ve focused on laying out the facts.  Now for my opinion.  The GOP does not “Love the Troops” and it outright hates Veterans.  GOP words mean nothing.  “I cannot hear your words over the thunder of your actions” – author unknown.

The GOP did achieve its’ goal:  take taxpayer dollars away from Government (Union) Workers and redirect that money into the private sector.  Improving services and reducing cost were never the point.  The goal has always been getting tax dollars into the pockets of a private business owner.  It comes as little surprise that the owner of this business, Tim Frain, is a friend and financial supporter of the GOP.   J2S Michigan is a “franchise”, if you will.  The Head of the J2S conglomerate is also a big GOP donor.

The GOP took an Oath of Office to represent all of the people, not just the wealthy and corporations.  By privatizing service at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home, the Michigan GOP stabbed Veterans in the back.  I would tell Republicans that they should be deeply ashamed at what has transpired, is transpiring and will transpire, at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.  I would tell them, but at this point I doubt they possess enough personal ethics to experience shame.

The GOP owes it to our Veterans to undo the damage they caused by privatization.  Return the care of our Heroes to Government Workers, even if those workers are represented by a Union.  If the GOP still feels the need to cut spending and balance the budget, it must stop trying to do so on the backs of Veterans.

Sincerely,

James Day

Ps.  I saw in the news that the GOP recently passed a law forbidding local government entities from requiring any wage above what the State allows.  Nice slap in the faces of working people.  The GOP has time to pass a law like that, but can’t figure out how to fund roads and bridges.  But then, it’s quite obvious that the average citizen of Michigan is of no concern to the GOP.

Grand Rapids Veterans Home

Originally, I was going to express my growing dismay at the inability of Michigan Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill. The GOP has a strong majority in the Michigan House and Senate, plus control the Governorship. This majority was able to author Right to Work legislation, pass it and have Governor Snyder sign it into law in roughly three weeks. While RTW affects 7% of workers in Michigan, it was so very important to Republicans that they rammed that law thru in record time. Funding for our roads and bridges affects 100% of all citizens of Michigan, but the GOP, thru its’ inaction, proved it isn’t motivated to find a solution. * Do not blame the Democrats – Republicans would arrange funding, within a month, to fix our roads if the Chamber of Commerce and certain Billionaires gave the marching orders.

Instead, my concern now is the situation in the Grand Rapids Veterans Home. You may recall that in 2012 the Republican controlled State Government cut $4.2 Million annually from the Veteran’s Home budget. That cut amounted to 30% of State funding. This cut in funding caused a budget crisis at the Veteran’s Home.

And what was the GOP’s solution to this manufactured crisis? Blame the hard working men and women who dared earn a living wage and belong to a Union. Privatization was the next step. J2S was “awarded” a contract to care for our Veterans. And what a bang up job J2S is doing: Trolling for employees on Craigslist; Chronically understaffed until caught, then forcing overtime upon the low paid, low benefit contract workers.

Everybody, and I mean everybody saw the troubles were guaranteed to occur. Everybody except the privatization obsessed Republican Party. Issues that have been reported at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home so far are the tip of the iceberg. It is worse than what has been reported to this point. It doesn’t take a Prophet to see that.

So far I’ve focused on laying out the facts. Now for my opinion. The Republican Party does not “Love the Troops” and it outright hates Veterans. GOP words mean nothing. “I cannot hear your words over the thunder of your actions” – author unknown. The GOP did achieve its’ goal: take taxpayer dollars away from Government (Union) Workers and redirect that money into the public sector. Improving services and reducing cost were never the point. The goal has always been getting tax dollars into the pockets of private business owners. It comes as little surprise that the owners of these businesses are friends and financial supporters of Republicans.

In most cases, that is simply American Citizens getting ripped off. I really despise the GOP for not upholding the Oath of Office to represent the people. At a fund raising dinner attended by Billionaires, former President G.W. Bush proclaimed: “We have a gathering of the Haves … and the Have More.” (laughter followed). “Some people call you America’s Elite. I call you my Base”.

As absolutely pathetic as President Bush’s remarks were, Michigan Republicans outdid him. The Michigan GOP stabbed Veterans in the back. I would tell Republicans that they should be deeply ashamed at what has transpired at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home. I would tell them, but at this point I doubt Republicans possess enough personal ethics to experience shame.

How can a Politician sleep at night, if he or she had any part in betraying America’s heroes?

The Slow, Miserable Death of the Middle Class in the USA

You and I come to a business agreement.  Ideally I will perform admirably at my tasks and you at yours.  Over time we will live well and prosper. The original agreement is that I will assume the financial risk:  Use my money, take loans, and sell Stock in our company.  You will provide your time, skill and labor.  So now we have a business and we break down the cost and benefit thus:

Sixty cents of every dollar raised via loans, stocks and revenue from selling our service and product goes to me.  Out of that sixty cents, I repay our creditors and give them a reasonable profit.  Also, I am paid a living wage and my expenses are compensated.  Forty cents of every dollar raised will pay you a living wage plus benefits and a bonus during good times. The cost of maintaining our business – buildings, vehicles, materials, etc. will also come out of that forty cents.

You make enough to pay your children’s college expenses, save for retirement, travel, give to charity and enjoy life.  I make twenty times what you do, but then my hours are longer and my decisions will make or break our company.  Airline pilots make more than the baggage crew or the stewards, because more responsibility and risk should equal more pay.  At the end of the day, you and I prosper.

Along comes 1977 – 2015

Our company’s creditors aren’t satisfied with the profit they are making off of us.  They want – no – they Demand More.  So now I enter into an agreement with our Creditors, but I don’t tell you.  If I give the Creditor more money from our company, they will make sure I am given a percentage of their take.

So how do I accomplish this?  First, I cut the budget for maintenance.  Our buildings start deteriorating; it becomes harder to get the tools and supplies critical to meeting the needs of our customers; machinery breaks down; employees start getting injured more often.  In some cases, people die.  Second, I cut your wages and benefits:  Pension – gone.  Bonus – gone.  Cost of living raise – gone.  Where does all this “reduced cost of doing business” go?  It goes to the Creditors, who then raise my salary to three hundred times what you earn.

We are now in the year 2015.

Remember the 60 cents / 40 cents split?  Now the split is 91 cents / 9 cents.

So now let’s apply this to companies of various sizes.

$1 Million dollar company:

  • $600,000 for me and $400,000 for you originally.
  • $910,000 for me and $89,000 for you
  • Your net loss:  $311,000

$100 Million dollar company

  • $60 Million and $40 Million
  • $91 Million and $9 Million
  • Your net loss:  $31 Million

Billion dollar company

  • $600 Million and $400 Million
  • $910 Million and $90 Million
  • Your net loss:  $310 Million

According to Fortune Magazine, “In total, the Fortune 500 companies account for $12.5 trillion in revenues (with) $945 billion in profits.”  The Fortune 500 are comprised of Walmart, AT&T, Target, McDonalds, etc. Applying the above Revenue Redistribution, we see startling results.

  • $7.5 Trillion and $5 Trillion
  • $11.375 Trillion and $1.125 Trillion
  • Your net loss:  $3.75 Trillion

Your wages, pensions, benefits have been cut in order to feed Wall Street.  The maintenance of your factory, workplace, equipment, etc. has deteriorated because the money that used to go to upkeep and growth has been redirected to wealthy investors.  Jobs have been eliminated or outsourced; now one person is doing the work of three.  Or a worker’s pay is substantially lower, and it’s not because these corporations are on the verge of bankruptcy.  America is a vastly wealthy nation.

Understand this:  America’s poor and middle class are being royally fucked.  Class Warfare does exist.  The wealthy have declared a scorched earth policy and they are winning.  Adding insult to injury, they are constantly complaining about taxes.  They pay a very low actual rate, and want that reduced to zero.  They want all the public services and protections afforded by the USA, but they don’t want to contribute toward them.

Adjusted for productivity growth and inflation, the minimum wage should be $22 per hour.  Average wages should be in the $35 per hour range.  Under the 60/40 split, they would be; under the 91/9 split, these wages are, (according to CEOs scamming tens of millions per year), just not in the budget.

Why does Costco pay average starting wages of $17 per hour to a cashier and provide healthcare and other benefits?  How can Costco avoid Chapter 11 when the conventional “wisdom” is that $15 an hour minimum wage will destroy a business?  Because under the 60/40 split, that wage is easily affordable.  Costco made the conscious, deliberate choice to invest in people, in it’s employees.  Other companies decided to rob the working class and give the money to Wall Street.  In return, Investors kick back a small portion to the Executives of those companies in the form of bloated compensation.

My Dad cut trees away from power lines for a large electrical company.  Today, that job is considered low skill with no college degree required to be employed in that industry.  Yet from 1957 until the youngest of five graduated high school in 19___, he alone worked outside of the home.  Mom stayed home and cared for the children and the house.  He did not need public aid, because his job paid enough to support seven people.  I don’t think I need to point out that a person performing that job to, with only a high school diploma, would not be able to do that today.

The stock market’s ‘big skim’

Harold Meyerson
WashingtonPost

Like the mobsters who used to run the Las Vegas casinos of old, said Harold Meyerson, America’s biggest investors have been skimming off the top of corporate revenues for the past four decades. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, roughly 40 cents of every dollar that a U.S. corporation “borrowed or realized in net earnings” was reinvested in facilities, research, or new hires. But since the 1980s, “just 10 cents of those dollars have gone to investment,” while the rest has gone directly “into shareholders’ pockets.” This “shareholder revolution” has effectively undone the “broadly shared prosperity that Americans enjoyed” for much of the postwar era. Money that once went to expansion, new ventures, and employee compensation is now earmarked for payments to already wealthy investors. From 2003 to 2012, Fortune 500 companies devoted 91 percent of their net earnings to shareholder payouts. As a result, “finance is no longer an instrument for getting money into productive businesses” says City University of New York economist J.W. Mason, “but instead for getting money out of them.” In perpetrating this “perfectly legal skim,” American investors have done something not even the mob ever could: They have brought “America’s middle class to its knees.”