Skip to content

Class Struggle

To Protect Our Children, Let’s Tax Our Rich

America’s social studies textbooks urgently need an update — on child labor. Our textbooks, ever since the middle of the 20th century, have been applauding the reform movement that gradually put an end to the child-labor horrors that ran widespread throughout the early Industrial Age. Now those horrors, here in the 21st century, are reappearing. The number of kids employed in direct violation of existing child labor laws, analysts at the Economic Policy Institute this past March reported, has soared 283 percent since 2015 — and 37 percent in just the last year alone. Last week brought the alarming news that three Kentucky-based McDonald’s franchises had kids as young as 10 working at 62 stores in four different states.

The Poverty Trap

The key to economic development and ending poverty is investment.  Nations achieve prosperity by investing in four priorities. Most important is investing in people, through quality education and health care.  The next is infrastructure, such as electricity, safe water, digital networks and public transport. The third is natural capital, protecting nature.  The fourth is business investment.  The key is finance: mobilizing the funds to invest at the scale and speed required. In principle, the world should operate as an interconnected system.  The rich countries, with high levels of education, healthcare, infrastructure, and business capital, should supply ample finance to the poor countries, which must urgently build up their human, infrastructure, natural and business capital.

Private Jets Are Dirty Luxuries For The Ultra Rich – Let’s Tax Them

For several hours in early November 2022, hundreds of protesters grounded all private flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of the most popular and busiest airports in the world. Activists sat on runways to block private jets from taking off before military police moved in and arrested more than 100 protesters. “The superrich have got used to polluting as they please with a total disregard for people and planet, and private jets are the pinnacle of these luxury emissions that we simply cannot afford,” one activist told The Intercept. Fast forward a few months, and the protesters appeared to be on the brink of success. Schiphol Airport decided to implement a total private jet ban in an effort to reduce air traffic.

As Food Prices Rise, Study Finds Market Power Drove Pandemic Inflation

On earnings calls last week, major food brands bragged about their ability to keep raising prices. Soda and snack giant PepsiCo told investors that it raised prices 16% last quarter, bringing in 18% more profit. Nestle announced a 10% price hike and Unilever said its food brands cost 13% more. In all these cases, higher prices helped food giants increase profits even as their sales decreased. Food giants keep raising prices even though well-publicized cost pressures, like fuel costs, rising wages, and supply chain disruptions, have largely subsided. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal landed on an explanation for persistent food inflation that many consumer groups and economists (including the Open Markets Institute) provided months ago: corporate greed.

As Mayor, Brandon Johnson Should Establish A Public Bank In Chicago

When the cryptocurrency exchange FTX opened its US headquarters in Chicago last May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot heralded it as a win for communities that historically had been denied access to quality banking and financial services. She announced that FTX would donate $1 million to help expand a program to provide formerly incarcerated Chicagoans with a universal basic income. She calledthe initiative ​“a mechanism and a tool to bring historically underrepresented and ignored populations into the world of crypto so they can take ownership and control over their own financial destiny.”

Universal Public Services: The Power Of Decommodifying Survival

One of the central insights emerging from research on degrowth and climate mitigation is that universal public services are crucial to a just and effective transition. Capitalism relies on maintaining an artificial scarcity of essential goods and services (like housing, healthcare, transport, etc), through processes of enclosure and commodification. We know that enclosure enables monopolists to raise prices and maximize their profits (consider the rental market, the US healthcare system, or the British rail system). But it also has another effect. When essential goods are privatized and expensive, people need more income than they would otherwise require to access them.

To Fight Inequality, Tax The Patriarchy And Invest In Care

While millions of households across the United States are scrambling to file — or extend — their taxes by the April 19th deadline, members of our billionaire class are doing a great deal more smiling than scrambling. Why? Because the U.S. tax code is built to reward wealth over work and serves big corporate interests over working families. Trillions of dollars goes untaxed each year, deftly squirreled away by tax professionals hired by the nation’s wealthy and powerful or left untouched because the federal government doesn’t tax wealth as it does income. Over one recent five-year period, a bombshell ProPublica investigation from 2022 revealed, the 25 richest Americans paid a true tax rate of roughly 3.4 percent.

Reclaiming Our Country

We are undergoing the most vicious class war in U.S. history. Social inequality has reached its most extreme levels of disparity in over 200 years, surpassing the rapacious greed of the era of the robber barons. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, along with the media and universities, have been seized by a tiny cabal of billionaires and corporations who pass laws and legislation that consolidate their power and obscene wealth at our expense. We are sacrificial victims, whether on the left or the right, helpless before this modern incarnation of the Biblical idol Moloch.

The Happiness Of Others

George Burchett, an excellent painter and publisher of the People’s Information Bureau from his home base in Hanoi, sent me an interesting item the other day. It was a piece by Alex Lo, the iconoclastic columnist at the South China Morning Post, under the headline, “Contrary to Western myth, the Chinese are a rather jolly bunch.” Lo cites two recent surveys indicating that, as his editors put it in the headline, Westerners have it all wrong when they assume, on the basis of official propaganda and incessant media reports, that the People’s Republic is a nation of 1.4 billion miserable, suffering, suppressed and repressed people under the authoritarian leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the dictatorial Xi Jinping.

How The Rich Are Prepping For End Times, And Why

The ultrarich are prepping for doomsday right now. France is on fire. The U.S. ruling elite and the mainstream media they own are avoiding reporting on it. The American rich want to exploit the workers more and more, and facing the wrath of the “common man and woman” is their greatest fear. So they have been increasingly coming up with ways to avoid the guillotines. The ruling class knows what’s coming: social instability caused by a combination of the climate crisis, banks failing, the soul-killing inequality of late-stage capitalism, and the impending dilution of the petrodollar. So what’s going on here?

In Montana, An Avalanche Of Wealth Is Displacing Workers

Archie Martinez goes to bed with stained hands and wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to meet the person he pays to pick him up at the Bozeman homeless shelter. They drive to the shop of a painting company in Belgrade, eight miles away, where Martinez climbs into one of the company vans for the hour-long drive up the mountain to the resort town of Big Sky. As Martinez watches hayfields swim by in the dawn, a billboard blossoms out of the half-light beyond the van windows: ​“Dreaming of Your Own Equestrian Property?” Another advertises ​“Montana Life Real Estate.” The mountain sides along the highway glitter with the plate glass and stained wood of houses that weren’t there a few years ago.

Report Details Private Equity’s Stranglehold On US Healthcare

Private equity's ownership of U.S. healthcare providers is incompatible with the needs and best interests of patients and should be checked with federal legislation, according to a report published Wednesday by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Critics of for-profit care have long decried private equity's focus on maximizing returns through practices including slashing staff, surprising patients with astronomical bills, and eschewing low-margin care upon which vulnerable populations rely. The new report—authored primarily by Public Citizen healthcare policy advocate Eagan Kemp—examines investment firms' impact on more than a dozen healthcare sectors, from reproductive health through end-of-life care.

Bailout Of Silicon Valley And Banks Is $300 Billion Gift To Rich Oligarchs

The US government printed $300 billion in a week to save collapsing banks and bail out Silicon Valley oligarchs and venture capital firms, paying them all of their uninsured deposits. Meanwhile, some of the very same Silicon Valley tycoons who benefited from this bailout have tried to cynically rebrand themselves as subversive populists, claiming they are fighting against the big Wall Street banks with which they have closely collaborated. Three banks collapsed in the United States in the span of one week in March 2023: Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank.

The United States Is Literally Sucking The Blood Of The Poor

You already know things are not good for a lot of people in the United States. As of two months ago, 64% of the country said they’re living paycheck to paycheck. Even if we exclude the million or so homeless across the U.S., recent data shows that approximately 5.3 million households are behind on their home mortgage payments. Another report from 2018 showed that around 130 million people in the U.S. admitted an inability to pay for basic needs like food, health care, housing, or utilities. And those numbers are before the pandemic began, which is like saying it felt hot in here before a fire burned down the building.

What Will It Take To End The Billionaire Bailout Society?

In case we need any more proof, the bailout of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is yet another overt sign that we are operating within a new version of capitalism. The wealthiest among us have little fear of losing money from their most important financial investments. They know they will be bailed out, and the rest of us will pick up the tab. The crisis at SVB has made a mockery of bank deposit insurance and private banking. In the US, bank deposits are insured up to $250,000. If the bank fails, those with accounts below that amount are fully protected. But deposits over that amount are not. The reason is straightforward.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.