Saturday, December 30

How'd We Do in 2006?: The American Injustice Index

Unprecedented economic disparities between the wealthy and poor, CEOs and their employees; the televised end of civil rights, habeas corpus and electoral democracy; the quietly unfolding North American Union threatening millions of American homes and businesses--2006 was the year Donald Rumsfeld (left) and his wealthy friends told us not so discretely what they really think of Heartland democracy.

America's ruling elite--the wealthiest 3-5% families and their corporate and governmental managers--did very well in 2006, thanks to Big Business-friendly domestic policies the White House promulgated after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to "fortify" the nation in the manufactured "war on terrorism."

Consider the economic disparities below compiled for 2006 by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a New York-based nonprofit and nonpartisan organization founded in 1961 by Harvey Wachtel, an attorney and adviser to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the '60s-era civil rights movement.

For example:

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997–2006

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage:
5.6 million

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200

Perhaps no other disparity than stock market investment this year better reveals the New American Order is about widening the economic gulf between the wealthiest and disenfranchised middle-class citizens:

Decrease in percentage of Americans who own stocks from 2004 to 2006, the first such decline on record: 51.9% to 48.6%--even though US stocks this year posted their biggest gains since 2003.

When US academics finally inventory the full carnage inflicted on America by the Bush White House in eight short years, 2006 will be commemorated a watershed for fascism. Scholars also will be amazed to learn some of the civil damage even was televised--in real-time but to apparent public indifference--including

1. institution of a US dictatorship; the Military Commissions Act negated (scroll down for MSNBC clip) civil rights and habeas corpus allowing complete White House discretion-- with no review by civilian courts--to designate any American an "enemy combatant" subject to transfer to military tribunals based on hearsay evidence where there are no rights to a trial, attorney or ability to confront accusers;

2. unimpeachable but uninvestigated evidence of a coup d'etat; an HBO documentary (scroll down for film) accounts for that the statistically-stratospheric disparity between exit polls and final vote counts in 2004 for George Bush and John Kerry was accomplished through hacked e-voting machines--disparities duplicated in the 2006 midterm elections.

Let's also not forget the European-styled North American Union for the US, Canada and Mexico approved in 2005 through a pact signed by Bush without constitutionally-mandated congressional review. In October Dr. Robert Pastor, chief architect of the plan, told a Mexican publication (which the American news media took as their cue to ignore) that "a new 9/11 crisis" could serve to expedite his trade and commerce unification plan.

That same month veteran Texas Republican congressman Ron Paul warned Americans of another crisis embedded in Pastor's plan. On his U.S. House website, Paul reports the "NAFTA Superhighway," a massive infrastructure crisscrossing the US to physically link the three countries, will necessitate "coordinated federal and state eminent domain actions on an unprecedented scale, as literally millions of people and businesses could be displaced" to provide right-of-way for those construction projects that begin early next year in Texas.

This litany of injustice and overt fraud--a federal budget deficit sixteen times larger than publicly reported, a biotech-friendly FDA that approved genetically-modified livestock for our dinner plates though Europe does not agree, etc., etc., etc.--is but a partial list of the unrelenting civil scourge visited on American "democracy" in 2006.

Without further ado, here is the Drum Major Institute's Injustice Index for 2006.

(Note: Red text is not URL-embedded.)

==

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year

Ratio of the average U.S. CEO’s annual pay to a minimum wage worker’s: 821:1

Year when this ratio reached its highest so far: 2006

Total compensation in 2005 of Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive, the highest paid CEO in the US today: $469 million

Additional amount that Mr. Diller received in new stock options “to motivate Mr. Diller for future performance”: $7.6 million

Percentage of Americans who feel chronically overworked: 30

Years of unused vacation time that American workers collectively give back to their employers each year: 1.6 million

Percentage of women earning less than $40,000 per year who receive no paid vacation time at all: 37

Payment per episode that Donald Trump receives to host The Apprentice:
$3,000,000

Average amount that companies spend to recruit a new CEO from outside the company: $2,000,000

Probability that the newly hired CEO will either quit or be fired within the first eighteen months: 1 in 2

Estimated number of people lined up outside the new M&M store set to open in Times Square responding to ads for “on-the-spot” hiring for 200 jobs, 65 of which were fulltime: between 5,000 and 6,000

Starting salary that drew them there: $10.75 per hour

Fee Paris Hilton is seeking to host a New Year’s Eve party in NYC, Miami, or L.A.: $100,000 plus a private jet

Amount that Ms. Hilton is set to inherit from the Hilton Hotel fortune: $350 million

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997–2006

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200

Highest price per custom-fitted, handmade power suit in Armani’s new line, which hopes to respond to what ex-Gucci head designer Tom Ford calls “a lot of pent-up demand for true luxury [from men who] are getting rich first, and they want to deck themselves out before they deck out their wives”: $20,000

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10

Amount in tax breaks and subsidies that last year’s energy bill paid out to the gas and oil industry during a period of record profits and higher prices at the pump: $6 billion

Campaign donations that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who voted for the energy bill, received from the oil and gas industry: $500,000, making her the top recipient of oil contributions in the 2006 election cycle

Percentage of U.S. workers who are confident they will be able to live comfortably after retirement: 68

Percentage who have saved less than $25,000 toward their retirement: 53

Percent of African-American and Latino families that have zero or negative net worth, respectively: 31 and 38

Date on which USA Today reported that Dr. Anthony Griffin of the Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgery Institute, who appears on the ABC program Extreme Makeover, predicted that CEOs will lead a surge in male cosmetic surgery because, he says, “for instance, executives on trial for corporate scandals would improve their chances for acquittal with a makeover just before trial”: November 4, 2006

Date on which the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its all-time high:
October 26, 2006

Decrease in percentage of Americans who own stocks from 2004 to 2006, the first such decline on record: 51.9% to 48.6%

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called “corporate welfare” by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion

Percent of the decline in welfare caseloads that is due to TANF programs failing to serve families that are poor enough to qualify, rather than due to a reduction in the number of families poor enough to qualify for aid, in the ten years since “welfare reform”: 57

Percentage of the GDP that went to wages and salaries in the first half of 2006: 51.8

Time when the percentage of GDP belonging to wages and salaries was lower than in 2006, out of the 77 previous years for which these data are available: never

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that the five largest investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $36 billion

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion

Ratio of compensation of CEOs of publicly traded defense companies to privates before September 11th, 2001: 190 to 1

Ratio in 2006: 308 to 1

Percentage increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the average American in the past 5 years: 93

Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000

Date on which incoming Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced “Amid this country’s strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren’t feeling the benefits. Many aren’t seeing significant increases in their take-home pay. Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others”: August 2, 2006

According to exit polls in the midterm elections, percentage of Americans who think life for the next generation will be about the same or worse respectively: 28, 40




Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?