Monday, April 21, 2014

Our World

As we slide back toward the level of unionization we last saw ... oh ... a century ago, there is this.

The United Automobile Workers union unexpectedly announced Monday that it was dropping its effort to force a new unionization vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Bob King, the U.A.W.'s president, said his union was basing its decision on the belief that the National Labor Relations Board’s adjudication process in the dispute “could drag on for months or even years.”

The union lost a vote at the plant in February, 712 to 626, and soon afterward it asked the labor board to order a new election, asserting that anti-union statements and threats by Tennessee lawmakers had prevented a fair election. ...

As noted here a couple of days ago, we live in a time of the New Oligarchs, those lucky duckies who live in their own plush, parallel universe. And want to keep it that way, while paying less for the privilege.

... The median pay for the top 100 highest-paid CEOs at America’s publicly traded companies was a handsome $13.9 million in 2013. That’s a 9 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new Equilar pay study for The New York Times.

These types of jumps in executive compensation may have more of an effect on our widening income inequality than previously thought. A new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners. ...

“What Piketty’s really done now is he said, ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.” ...

The rich will always be with us. I get that. But American taxes have become less progressive over time, so you now have the folks in the Top Tier, who make most of their money from the stock market, paying an effective tax rate of 15%, while poor working slobs (you and me) shell out 18% ... 22% ... 25%.

If we just went back to the tax rates Ronald Reagan signed into laws in 1987, we would have a more progressive tax system, and the bottom 30% of the population would catch a better break.


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