Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* PLUTOCRACY AND CORRUPTION: HARMING THE AVERAGE U.S. CITIZEN

In today’s society, plutocracy and political corruption go hand in hand, especially in Washington.

By Margaret Elkis, Economy In Crisis

We Are the 99% protest sign

The rich continue to fight against basic human rights & dignity.

Simply put, plutocracy is a government ruled controlled by wealthy individuals. It is no secret that wealth buys power, and that is exactly what we are seeing today. Unfortunately, with wealth and power often comes corruption. Author J.R. Martin stated in chapter nine of his book, Selling U.S. Out, that political scandal and corruption are not new. They have always existed. Indeed, all one has to do is read the news to learn of the corruption and greed taking place between the big players of our government:

  • political parties: Republicans and Democrats
  • lobbyists and overpaid consultants
  • the mainstream media

Over the past forty years, power, money and greed have corrupted our elected government officials at every level. What’s most alarming is that the blatant corruption has been tolerated and accepted by the American people. Unfortunately, members of both parties act as if their jobs are nothing more than a big political game. They’re so focused on insulting the other side and getting their own agendas passed that they forget they’re supposed to be working for the U.S. public.

As J.R. Martin writes:

“Neither party represents the interests of the American people since both are controlled by foreign and domestic corporations and special interest groups that provide the majority of their funding…both parties practice dishonest, divisive politics aimed at dividing and manipulating public opinion instead of seeking to build an honest national consensus on important issues confronting our nation.” […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/plutocracy-corruption-harming-the-average-u-s-citizen

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* FAKE EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS – AND 5 MORE MASSIVE ECONOMIC LIES THE GOVERNMENT IS TELLING YOU

By Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

According to a whistleblower that has recently come forward, Census employees have been faking and manipulating U.S. employment numbers for years.  In fact, it is being alleged that this manipulation was a significant reason for why the official unemployment rate dipped sharply just before the last presidential election.  What you are about to read is incredibly disturbing.  The numbers that the American people depend upon to make important decisions are being faked.  But should we be surprised by this?  After all, Barack Obama has been caught telling dozens of major lies over the past five years.  At this point it is incredible that there are any Americans that still trust anything that comes out of his mouth.  And of course it is not just Obama that has been lying to us.  Corruption and deception are rampant throughout the entire federal government, and this has been the case for years.  Now that some light is being shed on this, hopefully the American people will respond with overwhelming outrage and disgust.

The whistleblower that I mentioned above has been speaking to John Crudele of the New York Post.  In his new article entitled “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report“, he says that the huge decline in the unemployment rate in September 2012 was “manipulated”…

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. […]

READ @ http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/fake-employment-numbers-and-5-more-massive-economic-lies-the-government-is-telling-you

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* THE EURO CRISIS AND THE CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN COUNTRIES IN THE PERIPHERY AND CENTER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

By Eric Toussaint, CADTM

The crisis that started in the United States in 2007-2008, hit the European Union head on in 2008, and has been causing major problems in the eurozone since 2010. |2| Banks from the strongest European countries are responsible for spreading this plague from the United States to Europe, because they had invested massively in structured financial products. It is important to explain why this crisis has struck the European Union and the eurozone harder than the United States.

18 of the 28 countries in the European Union share a common currency, the euro. |3| The population of the EU is about 500 million people, |4| about half the population of China, Africa, or India, 2/3 of Latin America, and 50% more than the USA.

There are major differences between countries in the European Union. Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and Austria are the most highly industrialised and powerful countries in the EU. 11 countries are from the ex-Eastern European bloc (3 Baltic Republics — Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, which were part of the Soviet bloc, and Slovenia and Croatia, which were part of Yugoslavia). Finally, come Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Cyprus, which have been brutalised by the eurozone crisis.

Large private corporations are taking advantage of wage discrepancies

Wage discrepancies are very significant: the minimum wage in Bulgaria (in 2013, the gross monthly salary is 156 euros) is less than one tenth of what it is in countries like France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. |5| Wage discrepancies within European Union countries can also be very significant. In Germany, 7.5 million employees earn a paltry monthly salary of 400 euros, whereas the normal monthly salary in Germany is more than 1200 euros (there is no national legal minimum wage in Germany).

This discrepancy enables major European corporations, particularly German industrial corporations to be very competitive, because they outsource part of their production to countries like Bulgaria, Romania or to other Central and Eastern European countries, and then transport the parts back to Germany where they are assembled into final products. Finally, they export within the EU or to the global market after having cut the cost of wages to the bone. To top it all off, they pay no import/export taxes within the EU. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/The-euro-crisis-and-contradictions

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* FROM IRELAND TO GREECE: EUROPE’S YOUTH TAKE THE CUTS

The recent decision by the Irish government to cut jobseekers’ allowance for under-25s is just the latest in a series of discriminatory policies against young people that have been introduced in Europe in the last few years.

By James Higgins, Cafe Babel

It’s not easy to be young in Europe these days, particularly if you are among the 5.5 million young people in the EU that are unemployed. With the scourge of youth unemployment constantly in the headlines, and increasing demands for concerted action, governments are hitting back. But instead of focusing all their energy on the labour market inequalities, financial corruption, greed and cronyism that created and exacerbated the crisis, some are hitting back at the young people themselves.

Like it or lump it

On 16 October the Irish government announced that it would reduce jobseekers’ allowance for new entrants aged under-25 to €100 per week as part of its budget for 2014. People aged 25 will also get a reduced rate of €144, and only those aged 26 and upwards will get the full jobseekers’ rate of €188. In the Dáil (Irish parliament) some of the opposition parties and independents expressed concern at these measures, which smack of discrimination. Thankfully parliamentarians on the government benches explained that they wanted to ‘incentivise’ youth employment, and save young people from lying around watching flat-screen TVs all day. To make such a comment about any another age group would be unthinkable, but it seems that young people are fair game.

The National Youth Council of Ireland have labelled the cuts “disproportionate and unfair” and have warned that they will create further hardship for young jobseekers and accelerate the number of young people emigrating from the country. Shortly after the budget was announced, youth campaigners formed a mock airport queue outside the Irish parliament to compel the government to reverse the decision, but the protests fell on deaf ears. Young people would have to like it or lump it. […]

READ @ http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/society/article/from-ireland-to-greece-europes-youth-take-the-cuts.html

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* BARCLAYS BANK ‘HELPS’ AFRICA LOSE MORE IN TAX AVOIDANCE EACH YEAR THAN IT GAINS IN AID

Source: Scriptonite Daily

Every  year, tax avoidance costs the continent of Africa lost revenues of $63bn a year.  This is more than Africa receives in overseas development aid – and enough to deliver the UN Millennium Goals of universal primary education, universal healthcare, and upgrade Africa’s entire road network.  Instead, banks are helping to spirit this money into offshore tax havens.  Barclays Bank is the largest retail bank in Africa, and today ActionAid is launching a campaign to tell Barclays to clean up its act on tax havens.

Why is Africa so Poor?

Africa suffers extreme poverty, and by some measures things are getting worse.  Between 1990 and 2011, the number of new born babies dying rose from 1 million to 1.1million a year, and the number of hungry people rose from 175 million to 239 million.

Much of this poverty and destitution is as a result of the myth of development.  Western creditor nations (mostly ex-colonial) extended credit to African nations in the name of ‘development’, after the Second World War.  In reality, it was merely to keep a surplus of petro-dollars making more money from the interest on loan payments, than in savings accounts during a time of high inflations (which would wipe the value).  Later, when the interest rates became unpayable – the creditor nations offered ‘bridging loans’ often to despots, with extraordinary interest rates and conditions attached. These loans were called ‘Structural Adjustment Programmes’ and administered through the IMF.  This became know as the Debt Trap – and once you understand the Debt Trap, you immediately see the concept of ‘development’ as a myth.  The West is not helping to develop Africa, Africa is helping to develop the West.

This comment from Martin Griffiths in International Relations: The Key Concepts summerises the issue perfectly:

“Between 1982 and 1990 $927bn was advanced to debtor states, but $1,345bn were remitted in debt service alone. The debtor states began the 1990’s 60% more in debt than they were in 1982. Sub-Saharan Africa’s debt more than doubled in this period.  When the issue of debt forgiveness is raised, Western banks have argued that it would create what economists call ‘moral hazard’ – failing to honour debts would simply encourage poor states to keep borrowing in the expectation that they would never have to repay their debts.  On the other hand, some commentators argue that moral hazard should cut both ways.  Over borrowing is over lending, and creditors should pay their fair share of the costs of mistakes made in the 70’s.

By 1997 Third World Debt totalled over $2.2trn.  The same year $250bn was repaid in interest and loan principal. The debt trap represents a continuing humanitarian disaster for some 700 million of the world poorest people.  During the last decade, the world’s most heavily indebted continent, Africa, has experienced falling life expectancies, falling incomes, falling investment levels and rising infant and maternal mortality rates” (Griffiths, 2008) […]

READ @ http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/11/20/barclays-bank-helps-africa-lose-more-in-tax-avoidance-each-year-than-it-gains-in-aid/

Photo by Sasha Y. Kimel released under a Creative Commons license.