Richard Wolff: Capitalism Hits The Fan A fascinating and educational podcast of Richard Wolff giving a talk in Santa Fe New Mexico. This is from the summer of 2011 and it is now a year later. He is spot on in his predictions so far...
(excerpts paraphrased from the podcast)
After WWII, for every dollar an individual paid in income tax, corporations paid $1.50 tax on profits. Today, for every dollar individuals pay, corporations pay only 25 cents. In the 1940's, the tax rate on earnings over $200,000 a year was 94%. In the 50's and 60's, it was 91%. In the 70's, it was 70%. Today, the maximum tax rate on earnings over $375,000 is 35%. 

How did we get into this mess? From 1820 to 1970 the United States paid higher wages to it's workers year after. We developed the idea that each generation lives better than the one before it. In the 1970's, the labor shortage in the US stopped. Computers replaced huge numbers of american workers, companies started shifting production to other countries that paid lower wages, and women entered the labor force in large numbers. Wages in 2011, when adjusted for the costs of goods and services are the same as they were in 1970. Real wages have been flat for 40 years. The introduction of the credit card allowed consumers to take on debt to buy what they could no longer afford. In mid 2007, everything fell apart when people could not longer afford the payments.

David Barsamian's introduction to the program:
Like that well known substance, Capitalism has hit the fan. The statistics are numbing and do not convey the suffering and trauma citizens are enduring. Gone up in smoke are their savings, pensions, homes and jobs. Poverty is at record levels. For too many, dreams and hopes are shattered. And like the Howard Beale character in the movie "Network," people are yelling, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore." Occupy Wall Street has gone global. People are in the streets pushing back and saying, Enough. "We are the 99%." There is widespread recognition that the economic crash is not just the result of greed and arrogance and lax regulation. There are deeper structural problems with a system that always prioritizes profits over people. The question is what should replace it?

Direct link to the mp3 podcast:
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