How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation

By Ellen Brown The policy of guaranteeing every citizen a universal basic income is gaining support around the world, as automation increasingly makes jobs obsolete. But can it be funded without raising taxes or triggering hyperinflation? In a panel I was on at the NexusEarth cryptocurrency conference in Aspen September 21-23rd, most participants said no. This is my rebuttal. In May 2017, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford published the results of a survey of the world’s best artificial intelligence experts, who predicted that there was a 50 percent chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years. All human jobs were expected to be automated in 120 years, with Asian respondents expecting these dates much sooner than North Americans. In theory, that means we could all retire and enjoy the promised age of universal leisure. But the immediate concern for most people is […] Read More

No Matter Your Skills, It All Comes Down to Wages: A 180-degree Turn Away from Debt Economy

Dog eat dog? Think of any number of all-American axioms: Survival of the fittest? Winner takes all? Those who have, rule; those who do not have are the reason for their own destitution and undoing? The meek shall inherit the earth? I have the luxury of being 59, having had dozens of jobs inside and outside my skills sets, experience, and educational background. This 35,000-foot view has also been honed by living abroad in such places as Azores, Paris, Edinburgh, Germany, Vietnam, Mexico, Central America, Canada, and England. The perspectives I have also have been shaped by a career military father, grandparents who immigrated from England to Canada and Germany to Iowa and South Dakota. One cornerstone of my thoughts about the best way to survive in a pretty ruthless economic world here in this state and these “united” states was my family’s insistence on getting educated. Two graduate […] Read More

Big Crony CEO Pay Grab: Effects Beyond Greed!

As the New Year gets underway, the highest-paid CEOs of many large corporations have already paid themselves more than the average worker will earn in the entire year!  By the end of the first week of January, the highest-paid CEOs had already made as much as their average workers will earn over 8 years. An analysis by Equilar, a consulting firm specializing in executive pay, found that on average, the 200 highest-paid CEOs make approximately $22.6 million a year, or almost $10,800 an hour, a 9.1% increase from the previous year.  Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reports the average household earns approximately $53,000 a year. Over the past fifty years, the pay gap between many highly-paid CEOs and their employees has increased dramatically. In 1965, when they also liked to be rich, CEOs made approximately twenty times as much as their average employee, meaning they would earn their workers’ average […] Read More

Robert Reich: In the New Economy, Workers Take on All the Risk

More Americans than ever don’t know what they’ll be earning next week. That’s why we need income insurance. As Labor Day looms, more Americans than ever don’t know how much they’ll be earning next week or even tomorrow. This varied group includes independent contractors, temporary workers, the self-employed, part-timers, freelancers, and free agents. Most file 1099s rather than W2s, for tax purposes. On demand and on call – in the “share” economy, the “gig” economy, or, more prosaically, the “irregular” economy – the result is the same: no predictable earnings or hours.  It’s the biggest change in the American workforce in over a century, and it’s happening at lightning speed. It’s estimated that in five years over 40 percent of the American labor force will have uncertain work; in a decade, most of us. Increasingly, businesses need only a relatively small pool of “talent” anchored in the enterprise –  innovators and strategists responsible for the […] Read More

$75k Income Not Enough to Keep a Third of US Households From Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

A third of higher income Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, even when they earn $75,000 a year because they would rather spend money on eating out and experiences than save money for retirement, according to a new survey. In a poll of 519 households earning $75,000 or more, nearly a third of them live paycheck-to-paycheck, at least some of the time, SunTrust Bank found. Almost half (44 percent) of participants said that spending on lifestyle purchases – like dining out and entertainment – causes them to save less than they should each month. Eating out was the biggest reason people said they are not saving enough, with 68 percent of respondents giving it as their main excuse. But one third of participants said a lack of financial discipline at least sometimes holds them back from achieving their goals. Millennials fared even worse when it came to saving: 71 percent blamed […] Read More

Why Does Maryland Have The Most Millionaires Per Capita? The Answer Might Make You Angry

The fat cats in Washington D.C. are living the high life, and they are doing it at your expense.  Over the past decade, there has been one area of the country which has experienced a massive economic boom.  Thanks to wildly out of control government spending, the Washington D.C. region is absolutely swimming in cash.  In fact, at this point the state of Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the entire nation and it isn’t even close.  If you have never lived there, it is hard to describe what the D.C. area is like.  Every weekday morning, hordes of lawyers, lobbyists and government bureaucrats descend upon D.C. from the surrounding suburbs.  And at the end of the day, the process goes in reverse.  Everyone is just trying to get their piece of the pie, and it is a pie that just keeps on growing as government salaries, […] Read More

We’re Killing Ourselves on the Job –The Problem Is About Wealth and Wages: Not More Work

It’s time to build a labor movement that stands for less labor—not more. This story first appeared at Labor Notes.  I keep getting these emails from the Laborers union: “The Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t just a pipeline, but a lifeline to good, family-supporting jobs.” In the labor movement we’re supposed to be for anything that creates more paid work. But here’s some heresy for you: I think we need less work. Senators who voted against the pipeline in November, the union says, threw away a chance to “unlock millions of work hours,” and instead “killed thousands of jobs.” Is the Senate “killing jobs?” Maybe. Meanwhile, jobs are killing us. Jobs: Often Awful Exhibit A: the tragic death of New Jersey fast food worker Maria Fernandes last August, napping in her car between shifts. She was cobbling together at least three Dunkin’ Donuts jobs to make ends meet. But it’s not just […] Read More

The Widening Wealth Gap In The United States

Antonius Aquinas Activist Post A recently released Pew Research Center study confirms what every thinking American has understood for quite some time: the wealth gap between rich and poor has widened considerably since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. The study’s statistics probably underestimate the plight of struggling families and individuals compared to upper-income groups, as the median wealth of upper-income families totaled $639,000 in 2013 – 6.6 times the median wealth of middle-income families of $96,000. This compares with 4.5 times the gap In 2007 between the two groups. Along with the widening wealth gap, the overall outlook for the middle and lower classes is decidedly bleak as stated in the report: “The latest data reinforce the larger story of America’s middle-class household wealth stagnation over the past three decades.” The study adds: “Middle- and lower-income families’ wealth levels in 2013 are comparable to where they […] Read More

Unemployment Dropped Below 6% — So What’s the Bad News?

Some powerful folks want to see interest rates rise to prevent people from getting jobs and demanding higher wages. The jobs report on Friday showed the economy created 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell below 6.0 percent for the first time since the early days of the recession. This is good news for workers. While we are still far from anything resembling full employment, it is getting easier for people to find jobs. If the economy keeps creating jobs at this pace, workers will finally have enough bargaining power to see some real wage gains, thereby getting their share of the benefits of economic growth. But this is also the bad news in the story. There are many powerful people who want to keep these wage gains from happening. Immediately after the jobs report was released, James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve […] Read More