Wealth and Income distribution
On The Monitor this week:
- Race, War, Ethics, and the American Political Landscape with Wilmer J. Leon
- What “Humanitarian Intervention” has actually meant in practice with David Gibbs
More about this week’s guests:
Wilmer J. Leon III, Ph.D. is a Political Scientist whose primary areas of expertise are Black Politics, American Government, and Public Policy. For 11 years he was a Lecturer/Teaching Associate in the Political Science Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Currently, Dr. Leon is a nationally broadcast radio talk show host on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126, nationally syndicated columnist, and regular political commentator on national and international news programs.
Dr. Leon earned a BS degree in Political Science from Hampton Institute, a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Howard University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Howard University. He was a contributing author to Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia (Lexington Books, 2010). His latest book is “Politics another Perspective: Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics, and the American Political Landscape. 2016 Author House.
Dr. Leon is a regular contributor to TruthOut.org, The Root.com, Politics In Color.com, BlackStar News.com, Black Agenda Report, Black Politics on the Web, and over 200 newspapers and other web sites across the country. He can also be seen as a regular contributor and analyst on TV-One’s News On Now with Roland Martin, Press-TV and RT TV.
A serious void exists in the public discourse relating to the issues that directly and/or disproportionately impact the African-American community. Dr. Leon discusses issues such as the prison industrial complex, environmental racism, school vouchers, health care, crime policy, economic globalization, American domestic and foreign policy from as much of a non-biased and academically accurate perspective as possible. Dr. Leon’s perspective and lectures are grounded in the history of the African American community and the radical tradition of African American scholarship.
David N. Gibbs is professor of history at the University of Arizona, who specializes in international relations and military intervention. His most recent book is First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia from Vanderbilt University Press.
Quote: “U.S. policy is embarking on a reckless course, one that is unlikely to produce any positive results, either in terms of enhancing U.S. security or alleviating human suffering. Even if the policy is successful, regime change in Syria would only increase the ongoing chaos and humanitarian catastrophe, as the multiple rebel groups turn on each other. In general, the history of U.S. efforts at overthrowing dictators in such cases as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya has led to instability and many years of civil war, as well as new terrorist threats against the West. There is no reason to believe the situation in Syria would be any different. In addition, military interventions in Syria are sure to worsen U.S. relations with Russia, and will thus increase the risk of nuclear war.”
- “Why Trump is Pushing the Doomsday Clock to the Brink of Midnight: Noam Chomsky Discussed Trump, Russia, History, and the Future at the University of Arizona,” Salon, April 2, 2017. For full text, click here. For French translation, click here. For Japanese translation, click here.
- Interview with Joan Brunwasser, “Trump Might Actually Be Right about NATO?” OpedNews, July 23, 2016. For full text click here.
- “The Future of NATO,” RT News, April 4, 2016. For full text, click here.
- “Why the Srebrenica Massacre Should not be Used as an Excuse for Intervention,” History News Network, December 27, 2015. For full text, click here.
- On the Cynicism of the Clinton Foundation with Ken Silverstein
- On America’s Racial Wealth Divide with Josh Hoxie
Josh Hoxie is the director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies. Josh joined the Institute for Policy Studies in August 2014 heading up the Project on Opportunity and Taxation. Josh’s main focus is on addressing wealth inequality through the estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. Josh grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attained a BA in Political Science and Economics from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.
Josh worked previously as a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the longest serving independent in Congressional history, both in his office in Washington, DC and on his successful 2012 re-election campaign.
According to a new report, it would take the average black family 228 years to accrue the same amount of wealth that white families have today. The report is called The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come . Josh is one of the main authors. You can read analysis of the report here by Chuck Collins (senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org) and Dedrick Asante-Muhammed (director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the Corporation for Enterprise Development).
The report release coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO. police officer, which spawned the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for racial justice across all segments of society. Here’s a summary of key findings within the report:
- “If current federal wealth-building policies remain in place, it will take the average African-American family 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth that white families have today and it will take Latino families 84 years to reach that goal
- “By 2043, when households of color will constitute a majority of the U.S. population, the racial wealth divide between white households and African- American and Latino households will have doubled from about $500,000 in 2013 to $1 million.
- “The Forbes 400 will see their average wealth skyrocket to $48 billion by 2043—more than eight times the amount they hold today. During that same period, the average wealth for white families will increase by 84% to $1.2 million compared to $165,000 for Latino families (69% growth) and $108,000 for African-American households (27% growth).”
The Corporation for Enterprise Development and IPS call for a range of reforms to address the problem, including fixing an “upside down” tax system that currently doles out more than half a trillion dollars annually to help primarily wealthy households get wealthier, while providing almost nothing to lower-income households.
On The Monitor this week:
- Wendell Potter discusses his book Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts our Democracy and What We can do about it
- Money and Musicals – Gerald Horne on Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and Harriet Tubman
More about this week’s guests:
Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell left his position as VP of Communications for Cigna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to advocate for meaningful health care reform and to help organizations working for the greater good achieve their goals. In widely covered Congressional hearings, Wendell disclosed how insurance companies, to boost profits, engage in practices that have forced millions of Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, and use deceptive PR tactics to undermine health care reform.
His book, “Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks out on how Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans,” is a stark warning that corporate spin is distorting our democracy. Wendell is also the author of “Obamacare: What’s in it for me? What everyone needs to know about the Affordable Care Act.” Wendell is a regular contributor for The Huffington Post and HealthInsurance.org.
Wendell’s latest book, coauthored by Nick Penniman is “Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do about It,” which exposes legalized corruption and links it to kitchen-table issues citizens face every day.
Gerald Horne holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of contexts involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. He has also written extensively about the film industry. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Princeton University. Dr. Horne’s undergraduate courses include the Civil Rights Movement and U.S. History through Film. He also teaches graduate courses in Diplomatic History, Labor History and 20th Century African American History. Dr. Horne uses a variety of teaching techniques that enrich his classes and motivate students to participate.
Quote: “The U.S., as an artificially constructed former settler state, has a problem of unity — not least of all with its African American population. Many nations have to construct a mythology to achieve unity. The U.S. myth of the Founding Fathers has revolved around Washington and Jefferson, but both have been scrutinized. Alexander Hamilton is now in effect being put forward, but he was the captain of the one percent — he represented the interests of big finance at the beginning of the United States. He personified the grievances that continue, and that the Sanders campaign and — to a degree the Trump campaign — have objected to. So, if you have a multiracial, hip hop cast in this musical, you pretend we’re achieving national unity. The actual historical record is so very different. Britain was moving toward abolition, so in 1776, the slave owners rebelled. That’s in large part the origin of the United States. In terms of Alexander Hamilton the man, he migrated to the mainland from the Caribbean as the enslaved Africans became more rebellious. The elite whites could no longer control the situation though the region had been considered the crown jewel of the British empire in this hemisphere. His coming to what became the U.S. was actually an example of what we’d call white flight. Much of our political climate is continuously obscured because we still haven’t come to terms with the racist and economic realities of the United States from its origin. That allows for many poor whites to align politically with white elites rather than with black folks.”
Among his most recent publications
- Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow, 2014.
- The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, 2014.
- Black Revolutionary: William Patterson and the Globalization of the African-American Freedom Struggle, 2014.
This week’s show looks at the games in politics and on Wall Street. We start with the Middle East and end with JP Morgan:
- The history of the start of the CIA’s influence on the Arab World – an interview with Hugh Wilford
- Is the Volker Rule as substitute for the Glass-Steagall Act? – an interview with William Black
More about this week’s guests:
Hugh Wilford joined the California State University Long Beach History Department in 2006, having taught previously at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Trained in the U.K. as a U.S. intellectual historian, he has published widely on such topics as the New York Intellectuals, the history of the American left, Americanization and anti-Americanism in Europe, and the “Cultural Cold War.” His most recent works concern the role of the CIA in shaping Cold War American and western culture, and the role of culture in shaping the Cold War operations of the CIA. The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Harvard University Press, 2008) examines the relationship between the CIA and various apparently private U.S. citizen groups the Agency secretly funded in the Cold War “battle for hearts and minds.” America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (Basic Books, 2013) tells the surprising story of a group of pro-Arab operatives in the early CIA, locating them in longer traditions of American missionary and British imperial engagement with the Arab world.
- America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (New York: Basic Books, 2013).
- The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).
- The U.S. Government, Citizen Groups, and the Cold War: The State-Private Network, ed., with Helen Laville (New York: Routledge, 2006).
- The CIA, the British Left, and the Cold War: Calling the Tune? (London: Frank Cass, 2003).
- The New York Intellectuals: From Vanguard to Institution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995
Bill Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was the executive director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He previously taught at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
Professor Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement.
His book, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One (University of Texas Press 2005), has been called “a classic.” Professor Black recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae’s former senior management.
He teaches white-collar crime, public finance, antitrust, law and economics, and Latin American development.
As the White House fights it out with the Congress in order to avoid a ‘government shut down’ while continuing to consider some combination of military action against Syria and arming ‘rebels’, The Monitor wonders why so little attention is being paid to the underlying questions at the base of these stories: Why is there a revenue problem? and who would ‘we’ arm in Syria?
- Exposing the Big Money in Tax Breaks – an interview with Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project.
- Arming the Syrian ‘Rebels’ – an interview with David Swanson of RootsAction.org
More about this week’s guests:
Jo Comerford is the Executive Director of the National Priorities Project. She sets the strategic direction for National Priorities Project, builds organizational alliances, and acts as the NPP’s primary spokesperson. She has a strong background in community organizing and travels extensively, offering budget talks and facilitating participatory workshops, including as a speaker at a 2012 TEDx and 2013 Ignite. Jo previously served as Director of Programs at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s western Massachusetts office. She is a frequent media contributor, with print pieces appearing in The Nation, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, and Mother Jones. Jo holds an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Smith College School of Social Work.
From the NPP report:
In fiscal year 2013, tax breaks cost the federal government an estimated $1.13 trillion – just slightly less than all discretionary spending, and substantially more than the budget deficit in the same year. Every dollar the government spends on a tax break is a dollar it can’t spend elsewhere – whether on early-childhood education, environmental protection, or infrastructure improvements.
David Swanson is with RootsAction.org, which recently launched a petition, now at over 22,000 signatories: “We helped prevent U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Public pressure made Congress turn against an attack, opening the door to diplomacy. Now let’s stop the flow of ‘lethal aid’ to Syria. ‘The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,’ the Washington Post reported. Those shipments have combined with ‘separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.'” See: StopWeaponsToSyria.org A recent CNN/ORC poll found what when asked “In the conflict in Syria, do you think that the United States should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side?” a full 85 percent of Americans responded “neither side.”
Swanson is author of the new book War No More: The Case for Abolition and “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org
Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for theInternational Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace, and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee.
On this week’s show we look at the Confidential Memo at the heart of the Global Financial Crisis with Greg Palast and how the Egyptian media is covering events in Egypt with Noha Radwan
More about our guests:
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires and Ballot Bandits , Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year on BBC Newsnight Review. Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. government’s largest racketeering case in history–winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding. Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Palast set off on a five-continent undercover investigation of BP and the oil industry for British television’s top current affairs program, Dispatches.
Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. government’s largest racketeering case in history–winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding. Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Palast set off on a five-continent undercover investigation of BP and the oil industry for British television’s top current affairs program, Dispatches.
Noha Radwan is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature Ph.D., UC Berkeley.
Prof. Radwan’s interests include modern Middle Eastern literature in Arabic and Hebrew and postcolonial literature in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Her Book manuscript about modern Egyptian poetry in the colloquial language, Shi’r al-‘ammiyya and Modernism in Arabic Poetry, is currently under review.
“Egypt is going through one of the bleakest moments of its modern history. Despite the paucity of accurate reporting on the attacks against the Muslim Brotherhood’s sit-ins on Wednesday, there is enough evidence that these attacks must be condemned in the strongest of words. Although [ousted president Mohammed] Morsi’s supporters are not exactly non-violent it is clear the police is using a barbaric amount of excessive force. Yet the tragedy runs deeper. Wednesday was not only a dreadful day of killing and violence. It was the tragic and shameful culmination of a long process of polarizing the Egyptian masses between full support for the rule of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and uncompromising opposition to it. For the past three weeks media sources on the ground, whether they are the governmental or the independent channels (On TV, CBC [Capital Broadcasting Center] and al-Nahar) or the Qatari al-Jazeera have been working the public into nothing short of a mass hysteria. The state media labels the Islamists ‘terrorists’ while the Islamists denigrate all support for the current regime as ‘fascism’. Every media source in Egypt is lying, spreading hearsay, and dismissing reports that do not serve their agendas. The result is a frenzied and divided population that is proving uncharacteristically callous to the bloodshed among one group or the other. There is no doubt that it would have been better for President Morsi to have been voted out and not ousted by the military, but it is debatable whether there was a potential for this option. It is also debatable whether his failures during his year in office are enough excuse for the Egyptian ‘liberals’ and ‘revolutionaries’ to strike an alliance with the military, an alliance that was inconceivable to them a little more than one year ago.”