Dear White America…

donald-trump

By: M. K. Williams

… is actually a book.  Yes, seriously. There is a book titled Dear White America and the author’s name is Tim Wise.

I reluctantly picked it up at a Barnes and Noble that was going out of business a few years ago.  I initially thought that it was another “angry black person” book, yelling at white people (which is probably what you’re thinking this article is right now).  But I went ahead and picked it up anyway.  My mental shelves were already packed with a wealth of non-fictional information that could inspire me to yell at all the white people I wanted to my own dang self.  That particular day I didn’t need anybody else yelling the same thing that I could have been yelling at white folks for.

To my utter disbelief, a young looking white man appeared inside the book’s back cover. I couldn’t even claim him as lightskinned.  This man was straight up white.  So I checked to make sure that I picked up the right book, but it still said Dear White America.  When I decided to catch the book being tricky, I read a few pages.  The next thing I remember was that the receipt functioned as my bookmark while I consumed the first 3 chapters sitting in my parked car.

I’ve since followed Wise’s growing influence.  From videos of lectures and panel discussions to appearances on CNN, Wise is one of the boldest white men I have ever heard speak the raw truth about the American mindset.

The only way that I can describe Tim Wise is to ask you to imagine that a black nobel laureate rode a time machine back to the 60’s, got filled with the holy ghost in Nashville, Tennessee, then had his brain squeezed into Wise as a toddler – who apparently has been walking around with it ever since.  Believe me. 

Which brings us now to Donald Trump.  If you’re not wealthy and are even thinking about voting for Donald Trump – don’t let that man make a fool out of you.

You obviously have good sense if you can sit through reading this.  I’m not trying to be funny this time.  You are interested in varying views and I can bet, you’re the type of person that believes in due diligence.  It doesn’t hurt that you also A) read beyond a fourth grade level – which our failing public school systems say is a major accomplishment in this country;  B)  seek out facts TO read which; C) demonstrates that you don’t blindly follow the crowd.  It’s the same innate intelligence that’s been giving you pause over and over again about Donald Trump.

I don’t know if you’re tired of establishment politics or if you agree that the economy is a hot mess.  I don’t even care if you’re just sick and tired of not getting to see white people everywhere you go.  Some things and people can’t  be wished away if we tried, and trust me, I’ve tried.

I’m keeping it real with you and hope that you can too.  Regardless of how your search has landed you on this page, it doesn’t matter as long as you remember this –  Donald Trump and the republican agenda is NOT the answer to improve the quality of your life or that of the “middle class”.

Thanks to the heartless, dog-eat-dog business practices  of this country’s largest corporations / employers, THERE IS NO middle class majority anymore.  There are the poor, the working poor, the small group of folks who are clinging on to high paying jobs or nest eggs that they earned or inherited, and then of course there are the wealthy.

By the way, the same greed driven cut-throat business tactics mentioned above are exactly what Donald Trump is famous for.

The comfortable job stability of an abundantly thriving middle class has gone bye-bye. From the working poor to the “middle class”, everyone  is constantly watching their back, praying that they don’t lose their jobs or nest eggs.  Those with the latter are constantly trying to find ways to hold on to their money, which lands many on Wall Street’s front porch of volatility.  Both know that they’re one month’s earnings away from a potential financial catastrophe.  We watched as major corporate facilities closed down.  We read and lived through countless layoffs and furloughs across the country.  To add insult to injury we saw in three decades time, hundreds of the nation’s largest corporations pull branches of their operations completely OUT of the country while eagerly GIVING OUR OLD JOBS AWAY to people overseas.

What is not as easy to see is how the wealthy have been playing the majority of Americans like a fiddle.  President L.B. Johnson advised his White House Aid, Bill Moyers in 1960,

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”  L.B. Johnson to White House Aid, William Moyers  

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Tell me this – how in God’s good name are Mexicans (and the silent nod including black folks for that matter) responsible for the fact that 10% of people in this country, WHOM ARE PRIMARILY WHITE, earn an average of 9 times more than the entire remaining 90% do?  There aren’t enough illegal immigrants in the world that could pull off such a coup against the United States.   And how are illegal immigrants supposed to take over the country when so many are busy doing work that we’re either too lazy or unskilled to do?

There’s only one way to pull this old trick off: To exploit the majority..regardless of color, gender or faith.  First tactic: don’t let the majority get along with one another.  If they do, they will unite and take over.  To do this, the power structure must create theories and practices to wedge a division between them.  To effectively do this, there must some form of “reward system” for one group while imposing a “penalty” for another. Sound familiar?  It should. Poor whites and slaves were getting along just fine in America back in the day.  While slaves were being beaten and killed into destitution, poor whites just had no other choice.  For neither could read or write, so both had to do the same manual labor to eat.  So, when the wealthy/educated class saw these folks uniting and having babies and parties and rebellions, they knew they had to do something quick.   So, they offered poor whites land and a small taste of power in the form of jobs…as “overseers” of slaves.  Division complete  The rest is history.

(A great lesson about power by former Parliament member, Tony Benn)

If you’re super rich and back Trump, I can almost understand because you probably want to stay super rich and get even richer – regardless if you’re democrat, republican, green, purple, or independent.  I would imagine that you think Trump will definitely protect your interests because you have money.  However, this fundamental question remains:  Why should 90 % of us suffer to make you rich?

I don’t know about you, but I believe Trump could care less if half the planet had to drop dead in order for him to stay rich.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think that he would care if half of us got blown off the map by a Putin or North Korean nuclear attack judging by the way he talks.

I digress.

Let’s take a look at  the striking comparison between the Great Depression leading into the 1930’s and the Great Recession of the early 2000’s.

1.  In 1928 and 2007 the earnings of those who made the highest 10% peaked.  Also during those years, this same group paid historically low tax rates.

2.  The stock market crashed in 1929 ushering in the Great Depression.  The most devastating Recession since the Great Depression tore in with a crash in 2008.

When the largest share of the country’s money stays in the hands of a few, the many can’t afford to buy goods and services.  Without enough money, the companies who employ people to provide goods and services can no longer afford to pay them.  Wala! The companies cut jobs or worse, go out of business like those which brought lawsuits against Donald Trump.

Don’t just take my word about it.  See the hard facts below from the Economic Policy Institute  (their text is in blue).  You can find my recommendations in the conclusion.

 

Income Inequality

Download Chart PackIncome includes the revenue streams from wages, salaries, interest on a savings account, dividends from shares of stock, rent, and profits from selling something for more than you paid for it. Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years.

Household and Family Income

Source: Emmanuel Saez, Center for Equitable Growth, June 2015

Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average nearly nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 38 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 184 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.

 

Source: Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, Emmanuel Saez, June 2015

 

The top 1 percent of America’s income earners have more than doubled their share of the nation’s income since the middle of the 20th century. American top 1 percent incomes peaked in the late 1920s, right before the onset of the Great Depression.

 

Source: Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, Emmanuel Saez, June 2015

 

Inequality in America is growing, even at the top. The nation’s highest 0.1 percent of income-earners have, over recent decades, seen their incomes rise much faster than the rest of the top 1 percent. Incomes in this top 0.1 percent increased 7.5 times between 1973 and 2007, from 0.8 percent to an all-time high of 6 percent. The Great Recession in 2008 did dampen this top 0.1 percent share, but only momentarily. The upward surge of the top 0.1 percent has resumed.

 

Source: Statistics of Income Division, Research, Anlaysis and Statistics, Internal Revenue Service, Table 1, December 2015

 

The 1990s saw the annual incomes of the ultra rich explode in size. Between 1992 and 2002, the 400 highest incomes reported to the Internal Revenue Service more than doubled, even after the collapse of the dot.com bubble in 2000. In the early 21st century, the economic boom driven by the real estate bubble would more than triple top 400 average incomes before the 2008 economic collapse.

 

 

High levels of income concentration are pervasive across the country, but there are important differences among states. Connecticut has the highest threshold for entry into the top 1 percent. At least $677,608 in annual income is needed to be a member of this elite group in that state. That’s three times the minimum needed to be among the top 1 percent in bottom-ranking Arkansas. (place cursor on each state for detailed data)

 

Sources: Household income shares for the 0-99 percent, U.S. Census Bureau. Top 1 percent data, the World Top Incomes Database. Analysis by NPR, January 2015

 

Before the 1980s, lower-income earners owned a far larger portion of total U.S. income than they do today. How much more income would these earners be making today if the United States had the same distribution of income as the nation displayed in 1979? NPR found that Americans would experience income increases of at least $3,000 across all quintile levels, with the highest quintile owed an additional $17,311. The top 1 percent of earners would see a dramatic fall in their income, losing more than just $824,844.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Table 3, November 2014

 

The Congressional Budget Office defines before-tax income as “market income plus government transfers,” or, quite simply, how much income a person makes counting government social assistance. Analysts have a number of ways to define income. But they all tell the same story: The top 1 percent of U.S. earners take home a disproportionate amount of income compared to even the nation’s highest fifth of earners.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Figure 11, November 2014

 

Since 1979, the before-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of America’s households have increased more than four times faster than bottom 20 percent incomes.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Figure 13, November 2014

 

The Congressional Budget Office defines after-tax income as “before-tax income minus federal taxes.” After taxes, top 1 percent incomes are increasing even faster than before taxes. Before-tax income growth for the top 1 percent has averaged 174.5 percent since 1979. The after-tax increase: 200.2 percent. A progressive tax system should function to narrow income gaps between the affluent and everyone else. Over recent decades, America’s tax system has done no narrowing.

 

CEO Pay

Source: Institute for Policy Studies and AFL-CIO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics average hourly earnings data and corporate proxy statements, 2015

 

In the United States today, unions have a much smaller economic presence than they did decades ago. With unions playing a smaller economic role, the gap between worker and CEO pay was nine times larger in 2013 than in 1980.

 

Wages

Source: A look at pay at the top, the bottom, and in between, Spotlight on Statistics, Page 2, U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015

 

Wages in the United States, after taking inflation into account, have been stagnating for more than three decades. Typical American workers and the nation’s lowest-wage workers have seen little or no growth in their real weekly wages.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Kopczuk, Saez and Song (2010) and Social Security Administration wage statistics, November 2015

 

Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income of the top 1 percent of U.S. earners exploded by over 256 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 16.7 percent increase from 1979 to 2014.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis data, January 2015

 

Productivity has increased at a relatively consistent rate since 1948. But the wages of American workers have not, since the 1970s, kept up with this rising productivity. Worker hourly compensation has flat-lined since the mid-1970s, increasing just 15.5 percent from 1979 to 2013, while worker productivity has increased 132.8 percent over the same time period.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis data, January 2015

Nobody has to be an economist to see what’s right in from of their faces.  Greed at the top has sucked a lion’s share of money directly away from the majority and into their own pockets.  And the top earners in this country WANT the majority of Americans to remain broke and dumb so that they can continue to rob us blind.

The top 10% of earners are the very ones who are making the corporate decisions to slash thousands of American jobs at a time with a stroke of a pen which represent billions in American wages . They then hire cheaper employees abroad. Despite popular belief, overseas employees are NOT just laborers in the manufacturing sector. They are also giving our jobs to cheaper highly skilled professionals ranging from engineers and scientists to construction workers and MBA’s. 

To slap a “STUPID” sticker on the brows of Americans, they promote a big fat lie that of all people – it’s the Mexicans who are taking over.  Then, they get all the stupid-sticker folks riled up to VOLUNTARILY pay for a 2,000 mile long x 30 feet high  Trump billboard.

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If you’re not rich and are looking to improve your quality of life i.e.,. the very possibility of higher wages, lower taxes, and guaranteed healthcare in the event that you get ill, vote for Hillary Clinton.  On the other hand, if you want to lose any chance of keeping affordable/ guaranteed healthcare as you continue to work at a job which pays you less than you made 10, 15, and even 20 years ago,  while watching the  rich pay less in taxes than you do – vote for Donald Trump.  That’s just the bottom line.  Check their records.  Oh, Darnit!  I almost forgot…one won’t release them.

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