Vote All You Want. The Secret Government Won’t Change by Jordan Smith

Originally published in the Boston Globe in October 2014. Reproduced here with some new images.

DeGraw image on electionsOctober 19, 2014 

By Jordan Michael Smith

THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.

Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.

How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.

IDEAS: Where does the term “double government” come from?

GLENNON:It comes from Walter Bagehot’s famous theory, unveiled in the 1860s. Bagehot was the scholar who presided over the birth of the Economist magazine—they still have a column named after him. Bagehot tried to explain in his book “The English Constitution” how the British government worked. He suggested that there are two sets of institutions. There are the “dignified institutions,” the monarchy and the House of Lords, which people erroneously believed ran the government. But he suggested that there was in reality a second set of institutions, which he referred to as the “efficient institutions,” that actually set governmental policy. And those were the House of Commons, the prime minister, and the British cabinet.

IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government?

GLENNON:I was curious why a president such as Barack Obama would embrace the very same national security and counterterrorism policies that he campaigned eloquently against. Why would that president continue those same policies in case after case after case? I initially wrote it based on my own experience
and personal knowledge and conversations with dozens of individuals in the military, law enforcement,Obama yes I can bring in new world order and intelligence agencies of our government, as well as, of course, officeholders on Capitol Hill and in the courts. And the docu
mented evidence in the book is substantial—there are 800 footnotes in the book.

IDEAS: Why would policy makers hand over the national-security keys to unelected officials?

GLENNON: It hasn’t been a conscious decision….Members of Congress are generalists and need to defer to experts within the national security realm, as elsewhere. They are particularly concerned about being caught out on a limb having made a wrong judgment about national security and tend, therefore, to defer to experts, who tend to exaggerate threats. The courts similarly tend to defer to the expertise of the network that defines national security policy.

The presidency itself is not a top-down institution, as many people in the public believe, headed by a president who gives orders and causes the bureaucracy to click its heels and salute. National security policy actually bubbles up from within the bureaucracy. Many of the more controversial policies, from the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors to the NSA surveillance program, originated within the bureaucracy. John Kerry was not exaggerating when he said that some of those programs are “on autopilot.”

IDEAS: Isn’t this just another way of saying that big bureaucracies are difficult to change?

GLENNON: It’s much more serious than that. These particular bureaucracies don’t set truck widths or determine railroad freight rates. They make nerve-center security decisions that in a democracy can be irreversible, that can close down the marketplace of ideas, and can result in some very dire consequences.

IDEAS: Couldn’t Obama’s national-security decisions just result from the difference in vantage point between being a campaigner and being the commander-in-chief, responsible for 320 million lives?

GLENNON: There is an element of what you described. There is not only one explanation or one cause for the amazing continuity of American national security policy. But obviously there is something else going on when policy after policy after policy all continue virtually the same way that they were in the George W. Bush administration.

IDEAS: This isn’t how we’re taught to think of the American political system.

'He voted for the Green Party -- he thought it had something to do with money.'

‘He voted for the Green Party — he thought it had something to do with money.’

GLENNON: I think the American people are deluded, as Bagehot explained about the British population, that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy. They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. Now, there are many counter-examples in which these branches do affect policy, as Bagehot predicted there would be. But the larger picture is still true—policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.

IDEAS: Do we have any hope of fixing the problem?

GLENNON: The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.

Jordan Michael Smith is a contributing writer at Salon and The Christian Science Monitor.

____________________________________________________________________

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Memorial Day Dishonor and Disgrace: “War is a Racket” by Stephen Lendman

 

Stephen Lendman--flashpoint_in_ukraine_corrected-291x443Posted on May 23, 2015

by Stephen Lendman 

General Smedley Butler was right. “War is a racket” – based on Big Lies, waged for wealth, power and dominance.

Wars have nothing to do with upholding democratic values, humanitarian intervention or fighting for peace, stability and security.

They have everything to do with conquest, colonization and control – forcing one nation’s will on others, stealing resources and exploiting populations.

America dishonors its war dead – sacrificed on the alter of greed and lust for power.

Privileged elites let others do their dying for them – making the world safe for bankers, war profiteers and other corporate predators.

Innocent youths are sent to die based on Big Lies. Sick and/or wounded returning home are often abandoned.

Epidemic levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affect hundreds of thousands of combat forces and vets. Many go untreated.

Independent reports reveal nearly half of Afghan and Iraq vets have emotional and/or physical combat injuries. Many are maimed for life.

Combat stress is more than many can bear. The disturbing toll wars take is one of the most underreported stories. A generation of combat vets won’t ever be the same again.

Many needing help don’t get it. Too few get enough. An epidemic of vet and active duty suicides symbolizes war’s hellishness.

Many deaths aren’t called suicides – at home or abroad in war theaters. Misreporting is commonplace.

Many suicide victims are age 50 or older. Combat-related trauma is long-lasting. According to a Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suicide report, veterans commit suicide every 80 minutes.

Study authors Margaret Harrell and Nancy Berglass said:

“America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members. And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow.”

Many vets return home feeling helpless. Marine Corps vet Jason Christiansen watched his life unravel. “At one point, I was sitting there with a gun in my mouth,” he said. A friend urged him to seek help.

The Veterans Crisis Line gets hundreds of thousands of calls. CNAS said from 2005 – 2010, “approximately one service member committed suicide every 36 hours.” Too little too late reflects DOD/VA policy.

For what? America hasn’t had an enemy since Japan formally surrendered in early September 1945 aboard the battleship Missouri.

In the decade post-9/11, the VA paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases.

They’re the tip of the iceberg. Malpractice takes countless others. Included are veteran and active duty suicides for denial of vitally needed physical and/or emotional care.

Wrongful diagnoses and botched surgeries are commonplace by uncaring medical professionals in a system encouraging malpractice by devoting resources to war-making, not caring of its sick, wounded or dying.

Malignant tumors are allowed to grow. Over-dosing on dangerous drugs compensates for denial of proper treatment.

Elderly vets promised healthcare for life die from fatal neglect. How many others suffer out of sight and mind?

It bears repeating. America dishonors its war dead, sick, wounded and dying. Paul Craig Roberts is right. Memorial Day is a cruel hoax – a national disgrace.

It’s been this way from inception since 1866 – more than ever today by far.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

______________

Stephen Lendman pictureStephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or achived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. His books are listed below.

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Flashpoint in Ukraine:

How the US Drive For Hegemony Risks World War III

Edited by and contributor Stephen Lendman

For more info including sales info see

Claritypress: Flashpoint in Ukraine:: How the US Drive For Hegemony Risks World War III

BANKER OCCUPATION

Waging Financial War on Humanity

By Stephen Lendman

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Claritypress: BANKER OCCUPATION: Waging Financial War on Humanity

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How Wall Street Fleeces America:
Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War

By Stephen Lendman

This book provides a powerful tool for showing angry Americans how they’ve been fleeced, including a plan for constructive change.

For reviews, a synopsis, and Sales info, please click one of the following links:Claritypress: How Wall Street Fleeces America orAmazon.com

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The Iraq Quagmire:
The Price of Imperial Arrogance

By Stephen Lendman and J.J. Asongu

 

 

If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level by David Swanson

 

Swanson--decline in confidenceBy davidswanson at davidswanson.org

  Posted on 22 May 2015

The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations!

What if not just our civil liberties but our budget got a little bit of 2001 back?

In 2001, U.S. military spending was $397 billion, from which it soared to a peak of $720 billion in 2010, and is now at $610 billion in 2015. These figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (in constant 2011 dollars) exclude debt payments, veterans costs, and civil defense, which raise the figure to over $1 trillion a year now, not counting state and local spending on the military.

Military spending is now 54% of U.S. federal discretionary spending according to the National Priorities Project. Everything else — and the entire debate in which liberals want more spending and conservatives want less! — is contained within the other 46% of the budget.

U.S. military spending, according to SIPRI, is 35% of the world total. U.S. and Europe make 56% of the world. The U.S. and its allies around the globe (it has troops in 175 countries, and most countries are armed in great part by U.S. companies) make up the bulk of world spending.

Iran spends 0.65% of world military spending (as of 2012, the last year available). China’s military spending has been rising for years and has soared since 2008 and the U.S. pivot to Asia, from $107 billion in 2008 to now $216 billion. But that’s still just 12% of world spending.

Per capita the U.S. now spends $1,891 current U.S. dollars for each person in the United States, as compared with $242 per capita worldwide, or $165 per capita in the world outside the U.S., or $155 per capita in China.

The dramatically increased U.S. military spending has not made the U.S. or the world safer. Early on in the “war on terror” the U.S. government ceased reporting on terrorism, as it increased. The Global Terrorism Index records asteady increase in terrorist attacks from 2001 to the present. A Gallup poll in 65 nations at the end of 2013 found the United States overwhelmingly viewed as the greatest threat to peace in the world. Iraq has been turned into hell, with Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia close behind. Newly embittered terrorist groups have arisen in direct response to U.S. terrorism and the devastation it’s left behind. And arms races have been sparked that benefit only the arms dealers.

But the spending has had other consequences. The U.S. has risen into the top five nations in the world for disparity of wealth. The 10th wealthiest country on earth per capita doesn’t look wealthy when you drive through it. And you do have to drive, with 0 miles of high-speed rail built; but local U.S. police have weapons of war now. And you have to be careful when you drive. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure a D+. Areas of cities like Detroit have become wasteland. Residential areas lack water or are poisoned by environmental pollution — most often from military operations. The U.S. now ranks 35th in freedom to choose what to do with your life, 36th in life expectancy, 47th in preventing infant mortality, 57th in employment, and trails in education by various measures.

If U.S. military spending were merely returned to 2001 levels, the savings of $213 billion per year could meet the following needs:

End hunger and starvation worldwide — $30 billion per year.
Provide clean drinking water worldwide — $11 billion per year.
Provide free college in the United States — $70 billion per year (according to Senate legislation).
Double U.S. foreign aid — $23 billion per year.
Build and maintain a high-speed rail system in the U.S. — $30 billion per year.
Invest in solar and renewable energy as never before — $20 billion per year.
Fund peace initiatives as never before — $10 billion per year.

That would leave $19 billion left over per year with which to pay down debt.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but this is life and death. War kills more by how the money isn’t spent than by how it is spent.

The 16 Core Progressive Policies, Really? by David Swanson

Swanson--books ie war is a lieBy davidswanson at davidswanson.org

 Posted on 22 May 2015

Salvatore Babones’ proposals in Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America are not bad, assuming a progressive agenda can limit itself to one nation.

But these sorts of proposals tend to be — and this one is no exception — smart, compassionate takes on the topics that are in the corporate media. The topics that aren’t already on your television also aren’t in this book or others like it.

What should the U.S. public budget be? Is nearly double the 2001 level too much military spending, too little, or just right? Who knows. Babones doesn’t say.

Why not consult someone on “the other 54% of the budget” that all such literature ignores (the military’s 54% of discretionary spending, as calculated by the National Priorities Project)? Just a quick consultation with someone aware of the existence of the single largest public project of the United States would add something to all of these pseudo-electoral platforms.

Item number 14 in Babones’ list is “Stop torturing, stop assassinating, and close down the NSA.” He goes through the common pretense that Obama “banned torture,” as if it weren’t a felony that was simply going unpunished on Obama’s orders. He follows this up with the usual pretense that the limited “ban” on torture opened up loopholes for torturing “legally.” Babones does a bit better on drone murders. But what about manned-aircraft murders? Tank murders? Gun murders? What about war? Is war “progressive”? Who knows!

Should we, as the other 15 points propose, create jobs, build America’s infrastructure, support public education, extend Medicare to everyone, raise taxes on top incomes, refinance social security, take down Wall Street, make it easy to join a union, set a living minimum wage, upgrade to 10-10-10, put an end to the prison state, pass a national abortion law, let people vote, suffer the refugee children, and save the earth? Of course, we should.

But if you’re willing to end the prison state (and as the text expands on that, to end the militarization of local police) then you are willing to make significant change, and you are aware of the problem of militarization. So how does that little item that takes up 54% of the budget go AWOL from all of these projects?

If U.S. military spending were merely returned to 2001 levels, the savings of $213 billion per year could fund education, a new justice system, aid for refugees, an open and fair and verifiable election system, and the saving of the earth — with a good bit of change left over.

Whence the nearly unanimous decision to avoid the topic? The Institute for Policy Studies, which published this book, does not ignore the topic elsewhere. Why does it not manage to infiltrate these progressive platforms? Perhaps peace is just not progressive.

A Color Revolution for Macedonia — Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts--How America Was LostReposted from:  Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy

by Paul Craig Roberts

May 22, 2015

During the Cold War Washington was concerned about communists fomenting street protests that they could turn into revolutions, with groomed politicians waiting in the wings to take over the new government, thus expanding the Soviet empire. Today this is precisely what Washington does.

We recently witnessed this operation in Ukraine and now it seems to be underway in Macedonia.

The National Endowment for Democracy was established in 1983. The official purpose is to promote democracy abroad. The real purpose was to create dissension in Soviet Eastern Europe. Today the NED uses our tax money to overthrow governments not aligned with Washington.

The NED funds non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in countries targeted by Washington for political destabilization. These NGOs operate under such rubrics as “teaching democracy” and “human rights.” The NGOs develop cadres consisting of idealistic students and disgruntled politicians and set them against the existing government whose independence Washington wishes to curtail.

The idealistic students are simply dupes, and the disgruntled politicians simply desire power in office and will serve Washington in order to get it.

According to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion in Ukraine grooming politicians and creating NGOs as Washington’s Fifth Columns. When Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich refused to align Ukraine with Washington’s interests, Washington unleashed its Fifth Columns, and Yanukovich’s government was overthrown with violence. Despite Washington’s talk about democracy, the fact that Yanukovich’s government was democratically elected and a new election was only a few months away did not stop Washington from overthrowing Yanukovich.

Now the same fate seems in store for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgystan, and Macedonia. Most Americans don’t know where these places are. Armenia and Azerbaijan are east of the Caspian Sea and are former provinces of the Soviet Union. Kyrgystan is a former Soviet province that borders China. Macedonia, birthplace of Alexander the Great, is a part of northern Greece, but in the 20th century portions of Macedonia became parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania before becoming a province in Yugoslavia. When Washington destroyed Yugoslavia, Macedonia became an independent republic of two million people. Macedonia is landlocked and surrounded by Greece on the south, Bulgaria on the east, Albania on the west, and by Serbia and Washington-created Kosovo on the north.

Why is Washington interested in controlling Macedonia?

(image by Skopje #sharemacedonia)   DMCA

The Macedonian government refused to participate in Washington’s sanctions against Russia and supports the Russian Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline that will deliver Russian natural gas to Europe via Turkey to the Greek border.

The Macedonian government refused to participate in Washington’s sanctions against Russia and supports the Russian Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline that will deliver Russian natural gas to Europe via Turkey to the Greek border.

Greece is being looted by the European Union, the IMF, and the German and Dutch banks. Consequently, Greece is being pushed into Russia’s arms as Russian support is Greece’s only alternative to the crippling austerity that the EU is forcing upon the Greek people. Macedonia sits between Greece and Serbia, a country with no love lost for Washington and the EU as a result of Serbia’s dismemberment by Washington and NATO aggression. Washington fears the flow of Russian energy, over which Washington would have no control, into its European vassal states via Russian allies in Europe.

If Washington can grab Macedonia, Washington can stand between Greece and Serbia and perhaps persuade Greece to align with a Washington-supported natural gas pipeline that would supply Europe from Azerbaijan, thus reducing Russia’s influence in Europe.

Macedonia has an Albanian minority population. Albania is a Washington vassal and NATO member. Washington has aligned with the dissident Albanians, demonstrators are in the streets, the Macedonian government is accused of corruption as was the Ukrainian government, and the US State Department is expressing its concerns about the Macedonian political crisis that Washington has orchestrated.

Washington is forever talking about democracy and human rights but has no respect for either. Washington uses these words as assertions of their absence in governments Washington intends to overthrow.

The Russian government understands the unfolding events. Whether the Russian government has learned its lesson from standing aside while the Ukrainian government was overthrown remains to be seen.

From an American perspective, as contrasted with Washington’s perspective, the question is whether the reckless pursuit of US hegemony is worth the risk of war with Russia and China. The neoconservatives, who have an iron grip on US foreign policy, believe that hegemony is worth any risk. But do Americans derive sufficient vicarious pleasure from a handful of neocons lording it over the world to accept the risk of nuclear war?

The naked aggression that Washington is displaying toward Russia should alarm not only the American people but also the entire world. War is in the making. War with Russia means war also with China. This is not a war that Washington and its vassals or human life can win.

____________________________________________________________________
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

GLENN GREENWALD ON WORKING WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Reposted from The Greanville Post

AUTHOR

John Halle


 Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald on Working Within the Democratic Party

“The idea of working to reform the Democratic Party by electing better Democrats or more progressive Democrats is something that I thought was a viable course of action even as recently as a few years ago is something that I have completely rejected.”

“And I think the only means of true political change will come from people working outside that system to undermine and subvert it and weaken it and destroy it and not try to work within it to change it.”

“There have been lots of people who have made radical critiques of the government like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn and others who have said that as horrible as the Democrats [are] the fact that they’re even a little better than the Republicans means that it is important that they win because with an entity as powerful as the U.S. government even small differences can make meaningful differences in the lives of millions of people.

“And that to me was an argument that was persuasive for a while. (But) what I have actually concluded is that even if there are short term benefits to electing Democrats instead of Republican-you get Sonia Sottomayor instead of Antonin Scalia that’s a benefit that will sway cases in better directions-there’s also extreme costs to pledging your fealty to a political party.

“Knowing as party leaders do that many people on the left are convinced by this reasoning they can continue to ignore people on the left, because they know that at the end of the day they’ll scare enough of them with scary images of Michelle Bachman or Newt Gingrich so that they’ll continue (their) support even though they’re ignored and get nothing and they’ll get nothing and be ignored forever, and that’s a huge cost.


electionBoycottAdvos“Another huge cost is the opportunity cost of doing activism for a political party which doesn’t care at all about you instead of using your money and time on more meaningful changes. And so that is the ultimate formula which needs to be evaluated, the ultimate weighing of costs and benefits which needs to be assessed, not just that there are some benefits to Democrats therefore let’s vote for them. But what are the costs from continuing to support and prop up this party and having them know that they can take the support for granted and putting our time and energy into that rather than into something more significant that can achieve something more enduring and more fundamental and longer lasting benefits.

“That’s the calculus which has swayed me away from that view.”

 

 

U.S. and Israel Have Worst Inequality in the Developed World

 

Income Inquality--from OECD reportBy Times Of Israel

May 21, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “AP ” –  When it comes to inequality, Israel is second only to the United States among developed nations, an OECD report says.

In Israel, the richest 10 percent earn 15 times more than the poorest 10%, a lot more the average gap between haves and have-nots among OECD nations, which is 9.6 times.

The average income of the top 10 percent in the US was 19 times higher than the bottom 10 percent in 2013. The US figure rose from just 11 times higher 30 years ago, the OECD says.

The report also says Israel is failing to increase sufficiently the participation of women in the workforce, a key driver for reducing inequality.

“There’s a [long] way to go in Israel to get the female employment rates higher,” says Mark Pearson, the author of the report.

Policies to improve women’s treatment in the labor market and measures to reverse the growing share of low-quality, “dead-end” jobs are key to reducing income inequality and unlocking more economic growth, the OECD says.

“Put simply: rising inequality is bad for long-term growth,” the OECD concludes in the report, which is titled “In It Together, Why Less Inequality Benefits All.”

_________________________________________________________________

Reposted from RTT News

Widening Gap Between Rich And Poor

Widening gap rich and poor5/21/2015 10:53 AM ET

The gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

A report published by OECD Thursday says growth, if any, has disproportionately benefited higher income groups while lower income households have been left behind. This long-run increase in income inequality not only raises social and political concerns, but also economic ones. It tends to drag down GDP growth, due to the rising distance of the lower 40 percent from the rest of the society.

Lower income people have been prevented from realizing their human capital potential, which is bad for the economy as a whole, says the book titled “In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All”.

It highlights the key areas where inequalities are created and where new policies are required, including the consequences of current consolidation policies; structural labor market changes with rising non-standard work and job polarization; persisting gender gaps; the challenge of high wealth concentration, and the role for redistribution policies.

In most countries, the gap between the rich and the poor is at its highest level since 30 years. In 34 OECD member states, the richest 10 percent of the population earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 percent. In the 1980s, this ratio stood at 7:1, rising to 8:1 in the 1990s and 9:1 in the 2000s.

In several emerging economies, particularly in Latin America, income inequality has narrowed, but income gaps remain generally higher than in OECD countries.Most of the European Union as well as developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan are members of OECD.

During the financial crisis, income inequality continued to increase, mainly due to the fall in employment and because tax and benefit systems became less effective at redistributing income. However, at the lower end of the income distribution, real household incomes fell substantially in countries hit hardest by the crisis.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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