The Corporate Contributions to Extreme Inequality

When we talk about fixing income inequality in this country, we typically focus in on taxing the rich to redistribute wealth down to the working poor. But, we often forget about all the income that's constantly being redistributed up to those at the top.

In a recent article over at Alternet, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explained how huge corporate cartels jack up their prices, and funnel our money straight to the ruling elite.

All over our country, massive corporations buy up or buy off their competition, and then use their might to convince us that higher prices and lower benefits are simply the way things are meant to be.

For example, as Mr. Reich explained, we pay more for prescription drugs than the citizens of any developed nation. That's because drug companies have the legal right to pay off generic drug makers to ensure that we can't get our hands on cheaper, unbranded medications even after their patents expire.

And, the pharmaceutical companies aren't alone.

Internet service in the United States costs three-and-a-half times more than faster service in France, but most Americans have only one or two choices for their internet providers. The same goes for our banks, our food producers, and our health insurance companies.

These corporate monstrosities bribe our lawmakers to look the other way when it comes to anti-trust violations, and they spend a fortune on campaigns to convince us that larger companies mean more efficiency and better service. But, all they really care about is increasing profits so that CEOs and shareholders can pocket a larger and larger share of our cash.

The level of inequality in our nation hasn't been seen since before the industrial revolution, and these industries are the very reason why that divide is continues increasing.

Yes, we absolutely must increase taxes on the rich and make them pay their fair share. But, our work to end inequality doesn't end there.

Let's break up the banks and the telecoms and every industry that works to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.


Old_Curmudgeon 8 years 32 weeks ago

Proverbs 963:24-25

{…a rhyme…}

That day shalt thou rue,

thou witless fool who

votest for knaves of the Right.

For lo! shalt they bring thee their night

of xenophobic hates, -

- and rapacious spates

of the rich rulers’ sin.

Thou shalt weep therein.


2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 32 weeks ago

The rich man is laughing all the way to the Cayman Islands.....He's convinced the religious right that voting for the Fascist Party is God's will. He's convinced gun nuts that voting for the Fascists will protect their ownership of guns, guns needed to overthrow the government...the same government that he has bought and paid for, and thus controls. He's convinced many average income citizens that voting for Democrats will only cause their taxes to go up. He's convinced the same group that the continuing private for profit health insurance, the Affordable Health Insurance Act/Romneycare, is a government takeover...WTF? He's even convinced many that the trillions in the Social Security Trust fund are no longer there. He's convinced citizens that the word Socialism means something evil, something other than public highways , the VA, public Schools, Social Security, Medicare, our massive military industrial spy complex...the biggest socialist program in the history of the world, the local police force...etc etc.

He also knows all of this a big damn fat lie. He knows most people are gullible enough to believe the media he owns. That's why he's laughing, laughing as his,"our" trillions flow into off shore tax shelters. The most extreme concentration of wealth in our history...all going to a relative few because it's government to the highest bidder...bald faced REPUBLICON FASCISM!

UNC Tarheels's picture
UNC Tarheels 8 years 32 weeks ago

Kentucky has elected a tea party governor.

Matt Bevin who ran against McConnell as a tea party politician. He now claims to be a"real deal conservative"

Bevin/Hampton (R) 511,363. 52.53%

Conway/Overly (D) 426,599. 43.82%

Curtis/Curtis*. (I) 35,596. 3.66%

* husband and wife.

Matt Bevin will be sworn in Dec 8 2015.

Bevin took a page out of McConnell's playbook and ran against Obama.

sally7's picture
sally7 8 years 32 weeks ago

I agree. The proper role of government is to protect the commons and the inalienble right of the people. We are overlooking some of the most obvious cures for poverty in this country and abroad. This must include price restrictions on the most basic necessaties of life such as medical care, utiliites and education. Additionally, it is long over due for a mandanaroty living wage based on regional cost of living with yearly cost of living adjustments. This is basic common sense, something too many of our "representatives" have lost. A living wage would not only drastically reduce poverty but also the crime and addictions that stem from it.

AnneMarie123's picture
AnneMarie123 8 years 32 weeks ago

No society can work sustainably unless the basics of life are socialized and removed from the marketplace. We already freely socialize our military our police, our schools, our parks, our infrastructure. It's about time we socialized basics like food and medicine. In nature it's survival of the fittest, strongest, luckiest. Do we want to go back to that with our predatory market system? Basically the wonders of our modern system are due to cooperation and this is being eroded by the current market competitiveness.

w1ders's picture
w1ders 8 years 32 weeks ago

OK, so we all, mostly, know what is wrong. What the hell do we do about it? So many complaining but no one with a solution. We need a solution that works immediately. Telling folks to vote for the right person doesn't seem to work and it would take forever for results. We need results now not later. Someone step up and give us a solution. Voting for Senator Sanders and standing with him could be a step in the right direction but do we really think those with the money will let that happen? Not likely. So what do we do before we are all in the street because that is where we are heading faster than any solution I've heard. Some great ideas out there, but how do we make them happen? Soon?

700101erw's picture
700101erw 8 years 32 weeks ago

See the following recent article which shows how our tax law has contributed to income inequality in the United States.

How Clintonomics Created Carly Fiorina

Rana Foroohar; TIME; Oct. 15, 2015

bd93012's picture
bd93012 8 years 32 weeks ago

Education is the great equalizer. We have to demand the redistribution be fundamentally about improving quality of and access to education, especailly pre-K and college. As far as what to do now, keep educating everyone we can. Educated people call BS on the false promises of the conservatives. And be patient: the angry conservatives who have managed to largely shout us down for the past decade are mostly old, white guys and they are dropping like flies. The ultra-conservative base of the Republican party is shrinking rapidly while the Progressives are adding to our ranks daily. Keep fighting the good fight.

teajunkie's picture
teajunkie 8 years 32 weeks ago

I so agree with what you have said here Thom. This country is privatized to the hilt, while income has not raised in a couple of decades, if not since Reagan and our consumption is limited. The economy cannot sustain itself, nor we, it if the many have so little, while the few have so much. YES...I support Bernie Sanders!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 32 weeks ago

Reply to #5: AnneMarie, bingo! Not everything belongs in the marketplace. To put it another way: those basics you refer to, the things we all depend on just to function, comprise the foundation needed for anyone to get ahead. You can't build a prosperous, successful, happy life out of nothing. Once these essentials fall into private hands, it's game over; we're screwed.

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir 8 years 32 weeks ago

The most interesting thing about the link at post #8 for me was this:


The share of independents in the public, which long agosurpassed the percentages of either Democrats or Republicans, continues to increase. Based on 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. (For a timeline of party affiliation among the public since 1939, see this interactive feature.)

When the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account, 48% either identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 39% identify as Republicans or lean Republican. The gap in leaned party affiliation has held fairly steady since 2009, when Democrats held a 13-point advantage (50% to 37%)."

They try to play off the 4% increase in those "leaning" Republican since 2009. That fact plus the increase in those claiming to be Ind. may partially explain these figures from Sunday's "Meet the Press", since 2009 Dem's, under Obama's hegemony have lost 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, 12 governorships, 30 State chambers and 900+ legislative seats. Those figures approach negative records set by Nixon/Ford after Watergate, Eisenhour and all the way back to Woodrow Wilson's era of futility.

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