household income recovery occupy oakland commons

Reclaiming the Commons would obviate ...
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Richest 1% Captured 93% Of Income Gains In 2010

Can you believe the world you’re in, with the already rich getting so much richer while in other countries politicians promote basic reform? We trim, blend, and append four 2012 articles from: (1) Op-Ed News, Mar 5, on income gap by P. Garofalo; (2) Truthout, Mar 7, on the commons by S. Cagle; (3) Ludington Daily News, Mar 6, on land rent by B. Mulherin; and (4) Westminster Hall, Mar 6, on taxing land by Simon Hughes MP.

by Pat Garofalo, by Susie Cagle, by Brian Mulherin, and by Simon Hughes MP

Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909. 2010, the first full year of the recovery, was very good for America’s richest 1 percent. In fact, that year the richest 1 percent captured 93 percent of the nation’s income gains.

The bottom 90% of Americans lost $127, the bottom 99% of Americans gained $80, and the top 1% gained $105,637. The bottom 99% is net positive for the year because of around $125 in average capital gains.

Even discounting capital gains (which are overwhelmingly made by the very rich), the very richest Americans have seen the fastest bounce back in terms of income. During the slow recovery, corporate profits have already roared back to their pre-recession heights. Wages, however, have yet to follow suit, leaving the 99 percent to struggle.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: While one fringe corrals almost all of society’s output, the opposite fringe celebrates winning a few crumbs.

Founded by squatters more than 150 years ago, full of foreclosed buildings, and shrinking by thousands per year, Oakland in many ways presents as a tremendously attractive target for occupation. But it's been a bumpy road since the first camps were cleared on October 26. Even when working with non-profits such as Causa Justa Just Cause, most of Occupy Oakland's occupations ended in clearances, raids, and arrests. The failed foreclosure defense at 18th and Linden Streets in West Oakland ended in half the occupiers dancing in the street and the other half hanging their heads in disappointment.

The most recent raid on ended in a city bulldozer crushing the second aquapy boat, the "OO Hope Floats." To date, no one from the city has taken responsibility for the crushing.

Oakland is still home to many squats, but Occupy Oakland's occupations now consist of just a cluster of tiny teepees on city hall plaza.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: While who owns public space does matter, it really does not matter all that much. That is, it does not matter who owns land so much as it matters who gets the land rent. Land rent is the stuff of mortgages, of banker power, of the 1%’s fortune. It’s also, under the present property regime, making life tough out on the farm, too. As it will, with ever greater demands upon ordinary people, until they realize rent is the stuff of common wealth that should be recovered and shared.

Paul Petersen has been around cattle his entire life. He said his current arrangement of breeding on Dennis Road in Victory Township came about through a partner who believes in him and handles the embryo implanting costs. Petersen feeds the cattle and their calves and rents land to raise them. He then collects a percentage of the sale price of the animals, generally in August or September.

Petersen said the challenges in the cattle market are many, including land costs and fuel costs. Michigan cattle prices seem bogged down so it’s often more advantageous for him to truck his cattle to Kentucky for sale.

That said, prices are rising all over.

The recession has made things hard on even hobby farmers like Petersen. “You have low prices, you have high feed costs, you have calves that don’t make it,” Petersen said.

Land rent is an issue brought on by other kinds of farming. “People are digging up land that hasn’t been farmed in 30 years,” Petersen said. He noted in most cases, there’s a reason that land hasn’t been farmed in a long time. “What would be nice is if I could get a corn farmer to let the cattle walk in the corn stalks,” Petersen said.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: How people use and share the land follows how people receive the land rent. Directing the rent for land into the public treasury, for the benefit of the entire public, is again being discussed in Great Britain.

If we taxed unused, undeveloped brownfield land as if it had been developed, we would incentivise the owners to use the land. They would realise that there was no point in sitting on undeveloped land because they would be paying the same tax as they would on developed land. Let me repeat publicly the plea that I have made to my colleagues in private. Site value rating -- it can be called by another name -- which the Liberal Democrats have espoused for many years, is really important. We must incentivise people to put their land on the market so that there is the space on which to construct our buildings. There are many unused sites in my constituency that still could and should be used for housing. We must have a tax system that incentivises proper development of property.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: May that MP carry the day!


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

US rich see taxes drop dramatically yet …

Palm oil giants target African land

Family farmers worse off despite high prices

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