The Voice of Joyce: excerpts : ” The Great Escape”

Facts about inequality:  paraphrased from Angus Deaton’s book,” The Great Escape”

The Facts about inequality:

  •  Poor people do not choose to be poor
  • The unemployed are miserable and demoralized without work
  • The GDP is a well meaning statistic that doesn’t measure the 99% struggling at the bottom of  income distribution
  • Labor unions have declined in membership
  • Legal immigrants have gone from a well off group to being relatively poor
  • The African American male population, may not vote, because of incarceration and remain, disenfranchised

 

The Consequences of Inequality

  • Only the top 20% is left to vote.
  • The top 10% , those making $255,000 and up commanded 47% of all income.
  • The CEO’s of large firms, Wall Street Bankers and hedge fund managers, the working rich, have acquired more wealth with a reduction of taxes on their incomes.  They have prospered much more then the middle class after taxes.
  • We no longer have equal opportunity for upward mobility. Mobility is restricted to networking among an elite class. Middle Class kids are priced out of the job market.
  • The encouragement  of the best minds into financial engineering, “weapons of mass destruction”, is a loss to the rest of the economy reducing growth and innovation elsewhere.
  • The people playing with their own money or their clients money should get rich,   to use the “people’s” money is inexcusable. If these activities cause widespread social harm, that is intolerable.
  • The egregious behavior of a few is compounded by CEO’s sitting on each other’s boards giving giant compensation packages to their friends.
  • Government regulation and laws favor the wealthy and have failed the Middle Classes.
  • Allowing the overturn of Glass Steagall led to the creation of Mega Bank Cartels, responsible to themselves and their profits.  Encouraging risk taking.
  • Political lobbying has played a key roll in the increase of incomes at the top.
  • The collapse of Fannie and Freddie was caused by well connected political operatives who enriched themselves and their senior executives through catastrophic risk taking, keeping regulators at bay,  by means of well funded campaigns of political influence.

 

Bad consequences of Inequality:
Be forewarned, the income at the top may continue to grow by the continued infusion of money into the political process. Studies of Congressional voting by political scientists have demonstrated that Congressmen on both sides of the aisle are sensitive to the wishes of rich constituents and not at all to the wishes of poorer constituents.

 
Rules are made in the interests of the rich who become more rich. The largest increases in shares of income come from the largest cuts in taxes on top incomes.

  • Justice Brandeis argued, the United States could have either democracy or wealth concentration in the hands of a few, but not both.  

 

The very wealthy have little need of state provided education or health care, they have every reason to support cuts in Medicare and to fight increases in taxes.
Overturning our “State of Inequality” is appropriate to restore the well being of everyone else. If we fail to overturn our “State of Inequality”, Democracy is hijacked and we the people will never move forward or achieve well being, a decent education, health care or a good paying job. There could be no Escape from our state of inequality,  if we allow conditions to exist that prevent us from achieving real growth and creativity. The longer we wait, the more people are malnourished in their body and their mind.

 

“the heart and pulse of the Middle Class”

The voice of Joyce:  Be angry, the system is rigged! 

Say No, to Clinton! The thought grabs many , I’m sure.  Her network of well connected friends will keep inequality alive. The top 1% didn’t get there based on merit, they got their money by helping each other and sitting on their friends Boards. How can you decline compensation for a friend?

 
Worse, she advocates Dodd Frank , which has limited enforcement of the  regulations, while  condemning  Glass Steagall,  the best legislation we had for monetary stability .   Under Bill Clinton’s  watch Glass Steagall was abolished,  Derivatives  were introduced and encouraged as financial instruments, and the  law separating the activities of government employees and lobbyists or big business was overturned.   We know the consequences of  overturning of these laws, the rise of Inequality and  money  in politics.

 

The Fannie and Freddie debacle was caused by cronyism .   The Washington elite sat idly by as millions lost their homes .  Bipartisan support  changed the Bankruptcy laws to ensure the loss of homes in a Financial Crisis and continuing Student loan debt.   As you continue reading, you’ll find,  there is enough wrongdoing on both sides of the aisle to be “Mad as Hell”!

 
Today, the front cover of Foreign Affairs magazine, blazes with the banner ” The World is flat”, ” surviving with slow growth”. Why? Why should the Middle Class get used to this dreadful under utilized economy that supports the needs of a few over of the needs of the many?  Worse, if our State of Inequality continues it will take years to catch up!  We are losing a generation of people, between the ages of 20-60 , who could have been the next Thurgood Marshall or Mark Zuckerberg, but they’re stifled .  They lack food, education, a good job.  We’re making it impossible for most people to experience, well being .  There is, in many cases not enough nourishment to keep the creative juices flowing.  All this misery for the many because an elite few have rigged our system and ensures that there is no upward mobility for all.

 

How did we concentrate money in the upper classes ?   We rigged our institutions and the market by rewarding  cronyism and  customized personal and Corporate taxation.  We can thank the Republican Party for fostering a hatred of taxes while creating laws to benefit the Wealthy and large Corporations.    Who likes to pay taxes? Every time, I paid Sales tax, I complained and paid!   Angus Deaton, the 2015 noble laureate in economics , confirmed ” our State of Inequality “” is based on a rigged system, that takes away the rights of labor, by eliminating unions and disingenuously supports taxation favoring Big Business and Banks. People who could be change agents can’t get the education or the money and connections needed to move our society and themselves forward.”

 
“Both sides of the aisle have fostered hatred of each other in order to concentrate their power over the masses. ”  They’ve been successful. People are suffering. They struggle to maintain a roof over their heads. No one in the top 1-5% is listening. Why should they? They don’t wish to give up the ” golden goose”, they’ve created.

 

Employee well being is not the concern of Corporations or their boards or shareholders. The well being of American citizens is no one’s concern. Don’t be fooled by rhetoric! Immigrants and globalization are not the problem, the problem is a rigged system of government that exists on the money of lobbyists and big business .

  • Poor and middle class folks don’t have the money to influence Politics.
  • The lack of unity among us diminishes our clout.
  •  As a litmus test for who we support in government, think who will provide jobs and good job programs to promote our well being now. If someone wants to advocate for the middle class, let them come forward and push Corporate , Banking or Derivative tax through Congress now.
  • Why are Presidential Candidates waiting to demonstrate their support of the Middle Classes ,  rhetoric no matter how polished is only talk!   Show us,  the impoverished Middle Class, how you can mobilize your network and create a more equitable Society now.  Show you care about the Middle Class and the young by letting accountable stimulus money flow into good paying jobs now as we prepare to build a Country for the 22nd Century?

Thank you for reading, dear followers, I remain, “the heart and pulse of the Middle Class”

 

The voice of Joyce: Choose Democracy

Based on the evidence of three economists ; Thomas Piketty, Angus Deaton, & Joseph Stiglitz , our”  State of Inequality” will continue unchecked unless and until , ” we the people”, understand what led us to Economic stagnation and we determine to unify and agree upon the solutions .

 
To further understand our predicament the Presidential politics are addressed in the context of today’s reality. The causes, consequences and solutions presented have appeared previously on ” the voice of Joyce”. The economists position presented to you,  corroborate my empirical findings.  Therefore, dear followers,  I implore you to act now on your own behalf. Time is  indeed of the essence

 
It is our choice, our voice, that is required to move beyond our “State of Inequality”. Only action directed toward reinstating and reforming our Laws will restore our Democracy. According to Justice Brandeis, “we can have Democracy or we can support plutocrats but we can’t have both’. 

 
Please read the following Posts , dear followers,  and let me how you think we can get to action on the issues that effect our lives now.

 
Please don’t choose to wait 20 yrs. !  Every day delayed entrenches the elite classes and “bad ” policy.  Since, according to 3 reputable Economists, the needs of the top earners in our Country  are insatiable , action on our behalf is more urgent.

 

Don’t delay. Don’t retreat into victim hood being in control of our own destiny is preferable even if we don’t initially succeed In America we can fail lose and try again. Nothing is sweeter than regaining our dignity and well being. We have wants and needs too that must be addressed in public !

 
All the best dear followers. Please do comment and let’s move forward on our chosen agenda together.

 

“the heart and pulse of the Middle Class”

The Voice of Joyce: Movie & Friends of the IDF @SWFS 3/6/16

Dear Followers:

As an active member of our Israel Committee, I’d like to invite anyone who wishes to join me to this event on Sunday , March 6th @1:30 pm at the SWFS.    Looking forward to seeing you there!  Our event:

 

“Above and Beyond”:   Film Screening and Presentation

Sunday, March 06, 2016, 1:30 p.m.
Location: Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street, New York, NY US 10023
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In 1948, just three years after the liberation of the Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots flew for Israel in its War of Independence. Join us for a screening of Above and Beyond, the first feature-length documentary about these unsung heroes. Hosted by our Israel Committee, the film will be followed by a presentation by Meir Klifi, CEO of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, who will bring with him a lone soldier.
RSVP ON TICKETLEAP
RSVP for this free program through Ticketleap or contact the Office at response@swfs.org or 212-877-4050, ext. 228.

the Voice of Joyce: Event @SWFS tomorrow

Dear followers:

Anyone in the neighborhood ,  who wishes to attend The Annual Schwartz Glodstein Lecture on Rabbi Stephan Wise and the history of spirituality from his time till now,  is welcome  to attend  services  and lunch at my temple, tomorrow?  10:30am Stephan Wise Free Synagogue.  I’ll be there.

 

 

Saturday, February 27, 10:00 a.m.

Join us for prayer, a complimentary lunch, and learning. After worship and a festive meal, Rabbi Shirley Idelson, dean of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s New York campus, will address our congregation.

Rabbi Idelson has served as dean of HUC-JIR/New York since 2007. Following her ordination from HUC-JIR/New York in 1991, she served at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, as the director of religious activities and chaplaincy services. Rabbi Idelson also directed arts and religion in the Twin Cities and worked at Minnesota Public Radio as a producer and newscaster. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College; has a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; and earned her PhD in the History Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She wrote her dissertation on the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion by Rabbi Stephen Wise.

Admission is free but registration is required, via Ticketleap or the Office,
(212) 877-4050 x 280.

30 West 68th Street | New York, NY | 10023 | swfs.org

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The Voice of Joyce: taxation without representation 

I’ve been thinking about “taxation without representation.”  Everyone in the World  has been thinking about it from the butcher, the baker, to the local pub owner.  We know times “they are a changing”, when folks all over the Globe are focusing on “their State of Inequality”.
In Wales, a community of 2900 is fighting the big boxes. I remember taking courses at NYU in the 90’s predicting the rise of the large box multinational. I didn’t know then , that along  with the Banks , they would suck all the money out of their country origin and everywhere else they set down roots. 29 communities in Great Britain are fighting back. Crickhowell, Wales is ground Zero for a revolt by small business owners in Britain against a tax system they see as rigged against them in favor of Multinational Corporation.  ( See 2/22/16 NY Times)

 

Crickhowell, population 2,063, has become famous for being one of Britain’s last holdouts against the encroachment of big retail chains.

  • They want equal taxation under the law! 

 

  • Last year, Mr Lewis of Crickhowell , decided enough was enough , when his cafe paid $45, 000 in taxes  approx. 21% of his revenue), while Facebook paid $ 6,272.00 (in 2014).   Where’s the parity?
  • On April 15 th in America, who goes first?
  • Or perhaps a Class Action Suit will suffice?

Have we become so enamored with wealth, that we’ve sacrificed our own rights, to pay homage to an elite few? HaHaHa!

 

“the heart and pulse of the Middle Class”

The voice of Joyce: Corporate Taxation: ” How low can you go?”

Why not  reform Corporate taxation policy?   Stop the race to the bottom by paying low wages and encouraging State’s  to compete with each other, by luring business away from another State,  by  offering a better (lower) tax deal for 10 yrs?

If you are serious about lowering the Federal Debt, increase revenue by taxing large corporations and lift the burden of taxation off the Middle Class.  ” Debt” is a function of revenue .    Once revenue increases, the debt load decreases.  To encourage economic growth, “we the People”,  need to benefit from the additional revenue generated by Corporate taxation.  Contrary to the Supreme Court decision, Corporations are not “People”.   If  “we the People” were treated like Corporations, we’d have more money, too!     I’d like to have their perks.  Along with Corporate  purchasing power, lobbying, and negotiating clout.  All the benefits a Large Corporation receives, “we the People” should be entitled to!  Where’s  our equal justice and taxation under the law?
Debt today, is $1.5 trillion and growing faster every year. To stay ahead of debt or balance the budget,  revenue must be added back into the system. The low taxation rates for Hedge Funds, Corporate Managers and other select groups increases the tax  burden on the Middle Class.   Since new projects are not created, America and Americans stagnate,  leaving an  impoverished and debt ridden Middle Class.    At these low interest rates, now is the time for Corporations, to build their companies and develop new products and services for “we the People”.   It’s time for a new “New Deal”.

 

  • How can we increase revenue to fund major projects and jobs in America?
  •  Pass my tax on derivatives and millisecond trades. 6 basis points on these trades adds $660- 750 billion in revenue to the economy, in one year, not 10 years. This revenue would provide enough stimulus to create millions of jobs at all levels of income.    An added bonus, this stimulus would give the Country and the legislators time to restructure Corporate and personal taxes,  cut waste and take money out of Politics.
  • Re balance the Foreign Aid budget to reflect positive outcomes for the People.  Stop rewarding corrupt regimes that pocket the aid and impoverish their people.  We need oversight and enforcement of “better policy”.
  • Increase the wages of Statesmen, not politicians!  Make it illegal for legislators and government employees  to take money from any entity doing business with government for 10 years.    That doesn’t mean we allow shell companies to circumvent the law either.   Create a transparent system of government and enforce laws on “bribery”.
  • Corruption has a cost.  Money in Politics has a cost.  If Corporations, Banks, Wall Street and other Lobbying groups, corporate or personal , are spending money to buy political favors, that money is diverted from Job creation  and  the resurrection of  the Middle Class .
  • It is our choice and our voice!  Politics effects us.   Let’s reverse bad policy and make life easier for “we the people” .

 

Do you want to go back to basics, back to “old time values”, where integrity matters to all of us?

  • Amend the constitution to over ride Citizens United.
  • Elect legislators who are dedicated to the needs of the people not their benefactors.
  • Vote “old time” politicians, who polarize and demonize every one who thinks differently , out of office.
  • One third of the Legislators are rotated for re-election.  Take back our Democracy by voting and  using write in ballots for change.
  • Support  compromise for the benefit of the people.

 

Not convinced that our tax laws are destroying the AMERICAN way of life? Want another example? GE is leaving Fairfield,  Connecticut for Boston. Why? For beneficial Corporate tax breaks. Did anyone ask “What happens to all their employees?”  Will the same skill sets be available in Boston or will GE claim there are no trained employees in there? Who else loses out by this move? Non profits? The butcher, the baker, etc?

 

  • Stop playing three card monte with  Corporate relocations.
  • Stop the States from offering “competitive” taxation  to  lure Corporations elsewhere.
  •   Change Corporate tax law to encourage Corporate investment in their People , products and projects.
  • Create Corporate taxation that incentivizes Corporations to treat employees fairly and encourages R & D.
  •   We can reverse years of low taxation, by saying NO to a tax policy that cripples the Middle Class and prevents the funding of education, infrastructure, clean air and more jobs at better pay .  We’re not asking for much .  We , the Middle Class, are asking for equal taxation and representation under the Law.

 

We are literally killing the Middle Class by allowing Corporate tax flexibility at the people’s expense.  Our “State of Inequality”, is contributing to a gap in life expectancy between the upper and lower classes.  When do we acknowledge, America has a problem valuing Middle Class folks and correct this problem of inequality?
In the 70’s when Ford Motor Co. closed their  Mahwah Plant , the government changed the laws to forbid laying off 5000 people without job placement, relocation packages, prior notice and counseling. We’ve gone from a caring value driven society to a society based on Corporate profit only! You have to ask why do we,  as a people , allow our own destruction and pay for it willingly by supporting bad policy?

 

Ask yourself, why are the laws configured for Corporations to evade taxes? We have institutionalize our own demise.   Demand  responsible Corporate Taxation now.   The system is  rigged to prevent us from achieving upward mobility, but you dear followers, understand this fact.  Tell your friends and convince them as well.  Together we can change our Society.

 

We the people need the lost revenue to fund state  and Federal projects. I don’t feel sorry for a Big Business but I do feel sorry for the Middle Class that supports them. Don’t you want better pay and services too? If Not , why not?  Politics effects us!