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Tag Archives: people
Posted: January 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm
According to the Bible, the golden calf ( ggel hazhv) was an icon (a cult image) made by the Israelites during Moses’ absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai. In Hebrew, the incident is known as haggel ( ) or “The Sin of the Calf”. It is first mentioned in Exodus 32:4.
Bull worship was common in many cultures. In Egypt, whence according to the Exodus narrative the Hebrews had recently come, the Apis Bull was a comparable object of worship, which some believe the Hebrews were reviving in the wilderness; alternatively, some believe the God of Israel was associated with or pictured as a calf/bull deity through the process of religious assimilation and syncretism. Among the Egyptians’ and Hebrews’ neighbors in the ancient Near East and in the Aegean, the Aurochs, the wild bull, was widely worshipped, often as the Lunar Bull and as the creature of El.
When Moses went up into Biblical Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12-18), he left the Israelites for forty days and forty nights. The Israelites feared that he would not return and demanded that Aaron make them “gods” to go before them (Exodus 32:1). Aaron gathered up the Israelites’ golden earrings and ornaments, constructed a “molten calf” and they declared: “These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)
Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed the next day to be a feast to the LORD. So they rose up early the next day and “offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” (Exodus 32:6) God told Moses what the Israelites were up to back in camp, that they had turned aside quickly out of the way which God commanded them and he was going to destroy them and start a new people from Moses. Moses besought and pleaded that they should be spared (Exodus 32:11-14), and God “repented of the evil which He said He would do unto His people.”
Moses went down from the mountain, but upon seeing the calf, he became angry and threw down the two Tablets of Stone, breaking them. Moses burnt the golden calf in a fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on water, and forced the Israelites to drink it. When Moses asked him, Aaron admitted collecting the gold, and throwing it into the fire, and said it came out as a calf (Exodus 32:21-24).
The bible records that the tribe of Levi did not worship the golden calf. When Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: ‘Whosoever is on the LORD’s side, let him come unto me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28)
The golden calf is mentioned in Nehemiah 9:1621.
“But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.”
The language suggests that there are some inconsistencies in the other accounts of the Israelites and their use of the calf. As the version in Exodus and 1 Kings are written by Deuteronomistic historians based in the southern kingdom of Judah, there is a proclivity to expose the Israelites as unfaithful. The inconsistency is primarily located in Exodus 32.4 where “gods” is plural despite the construction of a single calf. When Ezra retells the story, he uses the single, capitalized God.
Conversely, a more biblically conservative view offers a tenable explanation accounting for the discrepancy between “gods” in Exodus 32 and “God” in Nehemiah 9:18. In both instances, the Hebrew ‘elohim’ is used. Since ancient Hebrew failed to distinguish ‘elohim’ God (known as the majestic plural) from ‘elohim’ gods, Biblical translations are either determined by a) context or b) the local verb(s). In the original account in Exodus 32, the local verb is in the 3rd person plural. In Nehemiah 9, the verb connected to ‘elohim’ is singular. For the JEDP (i.e. Deuteronomistic) theorist, this inconsistency is confirmatory since the theory maintains a roughly equivalent date for the composition of Exodus and Nehemiah. More conservative scholarship would argue that these two texts were composed about 1000 years apart: Exodus (by Moses) circa 1500 BCE, and Nehemiah circa 500 BCE. The biblically conservative framework would therefore account for the verbal inconsistency from Exodus to Nehemiah as a philological evolution over the approximate millennium separating the two books.
According to 1 Kings 12:2630, after Jeroboam establishes the northern Kingdom of Israel, he contemplates the sacrificial practices of the Israelites.
Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.” After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.
His concern was that the tendency to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem, which is in the southern Kingdom of Judah, would lead to a return to King Rehoboam. He makes two golden calves and places them in Bethel and Dan. He erects the two calves in what he figures (in some interpretations) as substitutes for the cherubim built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.
Richard Elliott Friedman says “at a minimum we can say that the writer of the golden calf account in Exodus seems to have taken the words that were traditionally ascribed to Jeroboam and placed them in the mouths of the people.” Friedman believes that the story was turned into a polemic, exaggerating the throne platform decoration into idolatry, by a family of priests sidelined by Jeroboam.
The declarations of Aaron and Jeroboam are almost identical:
After making the golden calf or golden calves both Aaron and Jeroboam celebrate festivals. Aaron builds an altar and Jeroboam ascends an altar (Exod 32:56; 1 Kings 12:3233).
The incident of the worship of the Golden Calf is narrated in the Qur’an and other Islamic literature. The Qur’an narrates that after they refused to enter the promised land, God decreed that as punishment the Israelites would wander for forty years. Moses continued to lead the Israelites to Mount Sinai for Divine guidance. According to Islamic literature, God ordered Moses to fast for thirty days, and upon near completion of the thirty days, Moses ate a scented plant to improve the odour of his mouth. God commanded Moses to fast for ten more days, before receiving the guidance for the Israelites. When Moses completed the fasts, he approached God for guidance. During this time, Moses had instructed the Israelites that Aaron (Harun) was to lead them. The Israelites grew restless, since Moses had not returned to them, and after thirty days, a man the Qur’an names Samiri raised doubts among the Israelites. Samiri claimed that Moses had forsaken the Israelites and ordered his followers among the Israelites to light a fire and bring him all the jewelry and gold ornaments they had. Samiri fashioned the gold into a golden calf along with the dust on which the angel Gabriel had trodden, which he proclaimed to be the God of Moses and the God who had guided them out of Egypt. There is a sharp contrast between the Qur’anic and the biblical accounts the prophet Aaron’s actions. The Qur’an mentions that Aaron attempted to guide and warn the people from worshipping the Golden Calf. However, the Israelites refused to stop until Moses had returned. The righteous separated themselves from the pagans. God informed Moses that He had tried the Israelites in his absence and that they had failed by worshipping the Golden Calf.
Returning to the Israelites in great anger, Moses asked Aaron why he had not stopped the Israelites when he had seen them worshipping the Golden Calf. The Qur’an reports that Aaron stated that he did not act due to the fear that Moses would blame him for causing divisions among the Israelites. Moses realized his helplessness in the situation, and both prayed to God for forgiveness. Moses then questioned Samiri for the creation of the Golden Calf; Samiri justified his actions by stating that he had thrown the dust of the ground upon which Gabriel had tread on into the fire because his soul had suggested it to him. Moses informed him that he would be banished and that they would burn the Golden Calf and spread its dust into the sea. Moses ordered seventy delegates to repent to God and pray for forgiveness. The delegates traveled alongside Moses to Mount Sinai, where they witnessed the speech between him and God but refused to believe until they had witnessed God with their sight. As punishment, God struck the delegates with lightning and killed them with a violent earthquake. Moses prayed to God for their forgiveness. God forgave and resurrected them and they continued on their journey.
In the Islamic view, the Calf-worshipers’ sin had been shirk (Arabic: ), the sin of idolatry or polytheism. Shirk is the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God (Allah), or more literally the establishment of “partners” placed beside God, a most serious and unforgivable sin, with the Calf-worshipers’ being ultimately forgiven being a mark of special forbearance by Allah.
Despite a seemingly simplistic faade, the golden calf narrative is complex. According to Michael Coogan, it seems that the golden calf was not an idol for another god, and thus a false god. He cites Exodus 32:4-5 as evidence: He [Aaron] took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” Importantly, there is a single calf in this narrative, though the people refer to it as representative of the “gods.” While a reference to singular god does not necessarily imply Yahweh worship, it does not rule out the possibility that it is Yahweh that the people are worshiping, as the reference to a plurality of “gods” would. Additionally, the festival “to the Lord” in verse 5 is sometimes translated as “to Yahweh”. It should also be noted that “in the chronology of the narrative of the Ten Commandments” the commandment against the creation of graven images had not yet been given to the people when they pressed upon Aaron to help them make the calf, and that such behavior was not yet explicitly outlawed.
Another understanding of the golden calf narrative is that the calf was meant to be the pedestal of Yahweh. In Near Eastern art, gods were often depicted standing on an animal, rather than seated on a throne. This reading suggests that the golden calf was merely an alternative to the ark of the covenant or the cherubim upon which Yahweh was enthroned.
The reason for this complication may be understood as 1.) a criticism of Aaron, as the founder of one priestly house that rivaled the priestly house of Moses, and/or 2.) as “an attack on the northern kingdom of Israel.” The second explanation relies on the “sin of Jeroboam,” who was the first king of the northern kingdom, as the cause of the northern kingdoms fall to Assyria in 722 BCE. Jeroboams “sin” was creating two calves of gold, and sending one to Bethel as a worship site in the south of the Kingdom, and the other to Dan as a worship site in the north, so that the people of the northern kingdom would not have to continue to go to Jerusalem to worship (see 1 Kings 12.2630). According to Coogan, this episode is part of the Deuteronomistic history, written in the southern kingdom of Judah, after the fall of the Northern kingdom, which was biased against the northern kingdom. Coogan maintains that Jeroboam was merely presenting an alternative to the cherubim of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that calves did not indicate non-Yahwehistic worship.
The documentary hypothesis can be used to further understand the layers of this narrative: it is plausible that the earliest story of the golden calf was preserved by E (Israel source) and originated in the Northern kingdom. When E and J (Judah source) were combined after the fall of northern kingdom, “the narrative was reworked to portray the northern kingdom in a negative light,” and the worship of the calf was depicted as “polytheism, with the suggestion of a sexual orgy” (see Exodus 32.6). When compiling the narratives, P (a later Priest source from Jerusalem) may have minimized Aarons guilt in the matter, but preserved the negativity associated with the calf.
Alternatively it could be said that there is no golden calf story in the J source, and if it is correct that the Jeroboam story was the original as stated by Friedman, then it is unlikely that the Golden Calf events as described in Exodus occurred at all. Friedman states that the smashing of the Ten Commandments by Moses when he beheld the worship of the golden calf, is really an attempt to cast into doubt the validity of Judah’s central shrine, the Ark of the Covenant. “The author of E, in fashioning the golden calf story, attacked both the Israelite and Judean religious establishments.” 
As to the likelihood that these events ever took place, on the one hand there are two versions of the ten commandments story, in E (Exodus 20) and J (Exodus 34), this gives some antiquity and there may be some original events serving as a basis to the stories. The Golden Calf story is only in the E version and a later editor added in an explanation that God made a second pair of tablets to give continuity to the J story. The actual Ten Commandments as given in Exodus 20 were also inserted by the redactor who combined the various sources.
Archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman say that while archaeology has found traces left by small bands of hunter-gatherers in the Sinai, there is no evidence at all for the large body of people described in the Exodus story: “The conclusion that Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible seems irrefutable… repeated excavations and surveys throughout the entire area have not provided even the slightest evidence.”
A metaphoric interpretation emphasizes the “gold” part of “golden calf” to criticize the pursuit of wealth.
This usage can be found in Spanish where Mammon, the Gospel personification of idolatry of wealth, is not so current.
People and things in the Quran
Groups and tribes
Note: The names are sorted alphabetically. Standard form: Islamic name / Bibilical name (title or relationship)
Posted: at 12:49 pm
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
There is no more precious freedom we have than that of free expression. The first amendment to the constitution isnt telling you what you can do, it is telling the government what they cant do. The founding fathers believed that the rights in the first amendment were inherent or understood to be true. Those 45 words, about twice as long as a standard tweet, were written to make sure they could not be taken from you.
The first amendment guarantees five rights.
Now, there are some things you cannot do, but the list is relatively short, for example. You cannot maliciously defame someone, you cannot spread hateful talk and you cant yell, Fire in a crowded theater (unless there is one).
Free expression is not a principle common to most countries. A recent Freedom House survey found that only 16 percent of the worlds inhabitants live in countries with a free press. And many of them dont have the broad protection our first amendment offers. Many governments restrict the information their people can get by disallowing foreign news programs, the internet, publications and often even discussions. Even our friends in England, do not have the protection that Americans do. The English have no document like our First Amendment.
While there are five guarantees in the amendment, Im going to focus on just one today, the guarantee of a free press.
It is a given throughout history that Governments that do business under the watchful eye of the media are likely to go about their business more honestly than they would otherwise. The news media, also known as the fourth estate, keeps tabs on the three branches of government. Without that scrutiny or the threat of it, we would not have a clue as to what was happening with our tax dollars or what elected representatives were doing.
Even if you dont like the news media and think they are biased, unfair and inaccurate it is still in your best interests to support their continued existence because without them we become just another dictatorship where the people are kept in the dark about everything.
Almost everyone agrees that a free press is necessary but there is always a but. For example, the norm in this country is to be a Democrat or a Republican and either a Christian or Jew. Few will argue that they should be restricted. But, when we deviate from the norm and allow a communist to speak freely, the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally, and the Islamic faith to establish itself thats when many people will make exceptions to the guarantees of the First Amendment. And thats when Congress shall make no law, comes in. You either have free expression or you dont. We must protect Congress shall make no law with all of our energy even when to do so hurts a little. One of the very special things about the first amendment is it balances itself. It says we have a right to free speech and a free press and often the free speech is critical of the free press, and thats as it should be.
Having a free press means we have to take the bad with the good, and sometimes thats hard. But even if on occasion we must suffer their criticism, we are still better off for it. Often, the media in their competitive arena will balance a story by offering several perspectives on the same issue. To be fair, if you are going to judge the news media, then it must be done on a macro basis rather than looking at one or two members and concluding they are all that way.
The first amendment is a clear, bold and loud restriction on Government power and it must be protected at all costs. Without freedom of expression, we have no freedom at all. Thomas Jefferson said, Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
Journalism is an inexact business because it depends entirely on what other people, who have no obligation to be honest, tell the reporter. There is a huge difference between a journalistic inquiry and testimony in a court of law. In the courtroom there are penalties for lying, you must appear in court if ordered to do so and you are required to answer the questions. In a news interview the subject appears voluntarily, can lie if he or she wants to and can refuse to answer questions. The entire news gathering process depends on people volunteering honest information.
The late and great Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, David Broder described a newspaper this way;
a partial, hasty, incomplete, inevitably somewhat flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we have heard about in the past 24 hours distorted, despite our best efforts to eliminate gross bias by the very process of compression that makes it possible for you to lift it from the doorstep and read it in about an hour. If we labeled the product accurately, then we could immediately add: But its the best we could do under the circumstances, and we will be back tomorrow, with a corrected and updated version.
If youd like to know more about the first amendment and the constitution this link offers some excellent information.https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-i
And from where I sit, thats the truth
Posted: at 2:58 am
Income inequality in the United States has increased significantly since the 1970s after several decades of stability, meaning the share of the nation’s income received by higher income households has increased. This trend is evident with income measured both before taxes (market income) as well as after taxes and transfer payments. Income inequality has fluctuated considerably since measurements began around 1915, moving in an arc between peaks in the 1920s and 2000s, with a 30-year period of relatively lower inequality between 19501980.
Measured for all households, U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries before taxes and transfers, but is among the highest after taxes and transfers, meaning the U.S. shifts relatively less income from higher income households to lower income households. Measured for working-age households, market income inequality is comparatively high (rather than moderate) and the level of redistribution is moderate (not low). These comparisons indicate Americans shift from reliance on market income to reliance on income transfers later in life and less than households in other developed countries do.
The U.S. ranks around the 30th percentile in income inequality globally, meaning 70% of countries have a more equal income distribution. U.S. federal tax and transfer policies are progressive and therefore reduce income inequality measured after taxes and transfers. Tax and transfer policies together reduced income inequality slightly more in 2011 than in 1979.
While there is strong evidence that it has increased since the 1970s, there is active debate in the United States regarding the appropriate measurement, causes, effects and solutions to income inequality. The two major political parties have different approaches to the issue, with Democrats historically emphasizing that economic growth should result in shared prosperity (i.e., a pro-labor argument advocating income redistribution), while Republicans tend to downplay the validity or feasibility of positively influencing the issue (i.e., a pro-capital argument against redistribution).
U.S. income inequality has grown significantly since the early 1970s, after several decades of stability, and has been the subject of study of many scholars and institutions. The U.S. consistently exhibits higher rates of income inequality than most developed nations due to the nation’s enhanced support of free market capitalism and less progressive spending on social services.
The top 1% of income earners received approximately 20% of the pre-tax income in 2013, versus approximately 10% from 1950 to 1980. The top 1% is not homogeneous, with the very top income households pulling away from others in the top 1%. For example, the top 0.1% of households received approximately 10% of the pre-tax income in 2013, versus approximately 34% between 19511981. According to IRS data, adjusted gross income (AGI) of approximately $430,000 was required to be in the top 1% in 2013.
Most of the growth in income inequality has been between the middle class and top earners, with the disparity widening the further one goes up in the income distribution. The bottom 50% earned 20% of the nation’s pre-tax income in 1979; this fell steadily to 14% by 2007 and 13% by 2014. Income for the middle 40% group, a proxy for the middle class, fell from 45% in 1979 to 41% in both 2007 and 2014.
To put this change into perspective, if the US had the same income distribution it had in 1979, each family in the bottom 80% of the income distribution would have $11,000 more per year in income on average, or $916 per month. Half of the U.S. population lives in poverty or is low-income, according to U.S. Census data.
The trend of rising income inequality is also apparent after taxes and transfers. A 2011 study by the CBO found that the top earning 1 percent of households increased their income by about 275% after federal taxes and income transfers over a period between 1979 and 2007, compared to a gain of just under 40% for the 60 percent in the middle of America’s income distribution. U.S. federal tax and transfer policies are progressive and therefore substantially reduce income inequality measured after taxes and transfers. They became moderately less progressive between 1979 and 2007 but slightly more progressive measured between 1979 and 2011. Income transfers had a greater impact on reducing inequality than taxes from 1979 to 2011.
Americans are not generally aware of the extent of inequality or recent trends. There is a direct relationship between actual income inequality and the public’s views about the need to address the issue in most developed countries, but not in the U.S., where income inequality is worse but the concern is lower. The U.S. was ranked the 6th worst among 173 countries (4th percentile) on income equality measured by the Gini index.
There is significant and ongoing debate as to the causes, economic effects, and solutions regarding income inequality. While before-tax income inequality is subject to market factors (e.g., globalization, trade policy, labor policy, and international competition), after-tax income inequality can be directly affected by tax and transfer policy. U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed nations before taxes and transfers, but is among the worst after taxes and transfers. Income inequality may contribute to slower economic growth, reduced income mobility, higher levels of household debt, and greater risk of financial crises and deflation.
Labor (workers) and capital (owners) have always battled over the share of the economic pie each obtains. The influence of the labor movement has waned in the U.S. since the 1960s along with union participation and more pro-capital laws. The share of total worker compensation has declined from 58% of national income (GDP) in 1970 to nearly 53% in 2013, contributing to income inequality. This has led to concerns that the economy has shifted too far in favor of capital, via a form of corporatism, corpocracy or neoliberalism.
Although some have spoken out in favor of moderate inequality as a form of incentive, others have warned against the current high levels of inequality, including Yale Nobel prize for economics winner Robert J. Shiller, (who called rising economic inequality “the most important problem that we are facing now today”), former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, (“This is not the type of thing which a democratic society a capitalist democratic society can really accept without addressing”), and President Barack Obama (who referred to the widening income gap as the “defining challenge of our time”).
The level of concentration of income in the United States has fluctuated throughout its history. Going back to the early 20th Century, when income statistics started to become available, there has been a “great economic arc” from high inequality “to relative equality and back again,” in the words of Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman. In 1915, an era in which the Rockefellers and Carnegies dominated American industry, the richest 1% of Americans earned roughly 18% of all income. By 2007, the top 1 percent account for 24% of all income. In between, their share fell below 10% for three decades.
The first era of inequality lasted roughly from the post-civil war era (“the Gilded Age”) to sometime around 1937. But from about 1937 to 1947 a period that has been dubbed the “Great Compression” income inequality in the United States fell dramatically. Highly progressive New Deal taxation, the strengthening of unions, and regulation of the National War Labor Board during World War II raised the income of the poor and working class and lowered that of top earners. This “middle class society” of relatively low level of inequality remained fairly steady for about three decades ending in early 1970s, the product of relatively high wages for the US working class and political support for income leveling government policies.
Wages remained relatively high because of lack of foreign competition for American manufacturing, and strong trade unions. By 1947 more than a third of non-farm workers were union members, and unions both raised average wages for their membership, and indirectly, and to a lesser extent, raised wages for workers in similar occupations not represented by unions. Scholars believe political support for equalizing government policies was provided by high voter turnout from union voting drives, the support of the otherwise conservative South for the New Deal, and prestige that the massive mobilization and victory of World War II had given the government.
The return to high inequality or to what Krugman and journalist Timothy Noah have referred as the “Great Divergence”, began in the 1970s. Studies have found income grew more unequal almost continuously except during the economic recessions in 199091, 2001 (Dot-com bubble), and 2007 sub-prime bust.
The Great Divergence differs in some ways from the pre-Depression era inequality. Before 1937, a larger share of top earners income came from capital (interest, dividends, income from rent, capital gains). After 1970, income of high-income taxpayers comes predominantly from labor: employment compensation.
Until 2011, the Great Divergence had not been a major political issue in America, but stagnation of middle-class income was. In 2009 the Barack Obama administration White House Middle Class Working Families Task Force convened to focus on economic issues specifically affecting middle-income Americans. In 2011, the Occupy movement drew considerable attention to income inequality in the country.
CBO reported that for the 1979-2007 period, after-tax income of households in the top 1 percent of earners grew by 275%, compared to 65% for the next 19%, just under 40% for the next 60%, 18% for the bottom fifth of households. “As a result of that uneven income growth,” the report noted, “the share of total after-tax income received by the 1 percent of the population in households with the highest income more than doubled between 1979 and 2007, whereas the share received by low- and middle-income households declined…. The share of income received by the top 1 percent grew from about 8% in 1979 to over 17% in 2007. The share received by the other 19 percent of households in the highest income quintile (one fifth of the population as divided by income) was fairly flat over the same period, edging up from 35% to 36%.”
According to the CBO, the major reason for observed rise in unequal distribution of after-tax income was an increase in market income, that is household income before taxes and transfers. Market income for a household is a combination of labor income (such as cash wages, employer-paid benefits, and employer-paid payroll taxes), business income (such as income from businesses and farms operated solely by their owners), capital gains (profits realized from the sale of assets and stock options), capital income (such as interest from deposits, dividends, and rental income), and other income. Of them, capital gains accounted for 80% of the increase in market income for the households in top 20%, in the 20002007 period. Even over the 19912000 period, according to the CBO, capital gains accounted for 45% of the market income for the top 20% households.
In a July 2015 op-ed article, Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, stated that the CBO found that from 1980 to 2010 real median household income rose by 15%. However, when the definition of income was expanded to include benefits and subtracted taxes, the CBO found that the median household’s real income rose by 45%. Adjusting for household size, the gain increased to 53%.
Just as higher-income groups are more likely to enjoy financial gains when economic times are good, they are also likely to suffer more significant income losses during economic downturns and recessions when they are compared to lower income groups. Higher-income groups tend to derive relatively more of their income from more volatile sources related to capital income (business income, capital gains, and dividends), as opposed to labor income (wages and salaries). For example, in 2011 the top 1% of income earners derived 37% of their income from labor income, versus 62% for the middle quintile. On the other hand, the top 1% derived 58% of their income from capital as opposed to 4% for the middle quintile. Government transfers represented only 1% of the income of the top 1% but 25% for the middle quintile; the dollar amounts of these transfers tend to rise in recessions.
This effect occurred during the Great Recession of 20072009, when total income going to the bottom 99 percent of Americans declined by 11.6%, but fell by 36.3% for the top 1%. Declines were especially steep for capital gains, which fell by 75% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms between 2007 and 2009. Other sources of capital income also fell: interest income by 40% and dividend income by 33%. Wages, the largest source of income, fell by a more modest 6%.
The share of pretax income received by the top 1% fell from 18.7% in 2007 to 16.0% in 2008 and 13.4% in 2009, while the bottom four quintiles all had their share of pretax income increase from 2007 to 2009. The share of aftertax income received by the top 1% income group fell from 16.7%, in 2007, to 11.5%, in 2009.
The distribution of household incomes has become more unequal during the post-2008 economic recovery as the effects of the recession reversed. CBO reported in November 2014 that the share of pre-tax income received by the top 1% had risen from 13.3% in 2009 to 14.6% in 2011. During 2012 alone, incomes of the wealthiest 1 percent rose nearly 20%, whereas the income of the remaining 99 percent rose 1% in comparison.
If the United States had the same income distribution it had in 1979, the bottom 80 percent of the population would have $1 trillion or $11,000 per family more. The top 1 percent would have $1 trillion or $750,000 less. Larry Summers
According to an article in The New Yorker, by 2012, the share of pre-tax income received by the top 1% had returned to its pre-crisis peak, at around 23% of the pre-tax income. This is based on widely cited data from economist Emmanuel Saez, which uses “market income” and relies primarily on IRS data. The CBO uses both IRS data and Census data in its computations and reports a lower pre-tax figure for the top 1%. The two series were approximately 5 percentage points apart in 2011 (Saez at about 19.7% versus CBO at 14.6%), which would imply a CBO figure of about 18% in 2012 if that relationship holds, a significant increase versus the 14.6% CBO reported for 2011. The share of after-tax income received by the top 1% rose from 11.5% in 2009 to 12.6% in 2011.
Inflation-adjusted pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of American families fell between 2010 and 2013, with the middle income groups dropping the most, about 6% for the 40th-60th percentiles and 7% for the 20th-40th percentiles. Incomes in the top decile rose 2%.
The top 1% captured 91% of the real income growth per family during the 2009-2012 recovery period, with their pre-tax incomes growing 34.7% adjusted for inflation while the pre-tax incomes of the bottom 99% grew 0.8%. Measured from 20092015, the top 1% captured 52% of the total real income growth per family, indicating the recovery was becoming less “lopsided” in favor of higher income families. By 2015, the top 10% (top decile) had a 50.5% share of the pre-tax income, close its highest all-time level.
Tax increases on higher income earners were implemented in 2013 due to the Affordable Care Act and American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. CBO estimated that “average federal tax rates under 2013 law would be higher relative to tax rates in 2011 across the income spectrum. The estimated rates under 2013 law would still be well below the average rates from 1979 through 2011 for the bottom four income quintiles, slightly below the average rate over that period for households in the 81st through 99th percentiles, and well above the average rate over that period for households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution.” In 2016, the economists Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson contended that inequality is the highest it has been since the nation’s founding. French economist Thomas Piketty attributed the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, which he characterizes as an “electoral upset,” to “the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”
U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries measured before taxes and transfers, but is among the worst after taxes and transfers.
According to the CBO and others, “the precise reasons for the
Paul Krugman put several of these factors into context in January 2015: “Competition from emerging-economy exports has surely been a factor depressing wages in wealthier nations, although probably not the dominant force. More important, soaring incomes at the top were achieved, in large part, by squeezing those below: by cutting wages, slashing benefits, crushing unions, and diverting a rising share of national resources to financial wheeling and dealing…Perhaps more important still, the wealthy exert a vastly disproportionate effect on policy. And elite priorities obsessive concern with budget deficits, with the supposed need to slash social programs have done a lot to deepen [wage stagnation and income inequality].”
There is an ongoing debate as to the economic effects of income inequality. For example, Alan B. Krueger, President Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, summarized the conclusions of several research studies in a 2012 speech. In general, as income inequality worsens:
Among economists and related experts, many believe that America’s growing income inequality is “deeply worrying”, unjust, a danger to democracy/social stability, or a sign of national decline. Yale professor Robert Shiller, who was among three Americans who won the Nobel prize for economics in 2013, said after receiving the award, “The most important problem that we are facing now today, I think, is rising inequality in the United States and elsewhere in the world.” Economist Thomas Piketty, who has spent nearly 20 years studying inequality primarily in the US, warns that “The egalitarian pioneer ideal has faded into oblivion, and the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”
On the other side of the issue are those who have claimed that the increase is not significant, that it doesn’t matter because America’s economic growth and/or equality of opportunity are what’s important, that it is a global phenomenon which would be foolish to try to change through US domestic policy, that it “has many economic benefits and is the result of … a well-functioning economy”, and has or may become an excuse for “class-warfare rhetoric”, and may lead to policies that “reduce the well-being of wealthier individuals”.
Economist Alan B. Krueger wrote in 2012: “The rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades has reached the point that inequality in incomes is causing an unhealthy division in opportunities, and is a threat to our economic growth. Restoring a greater degree of fairness to the U.S. job market would be good for businesses, good for the economy, and good for the country.” Krueger wrote that the significant shift in the share of income accruing to the top 1% over the 1979 to 2007 period represented nearly $1.1 trillion in annual income. Since the wealthy tend to save nearly 50% of their marginal income while the remainder of the population saves roughly 10%, other things equal this would reduce annual consumption (the largest component of GDP) by as much as 5%. Krueger wrote that borrowing likely helped many households make up for this shift, which became more difficult in the wake of the 20072009 recession.
Inequality in land and income ownership is negatively correlated with subsequent economic growth. A strong demand for redistribution will occur in societies where a large section of the population does not have access to the productive resources of the economy. Rational voters must internalize such issues. High unemployment rates have a significant negative effect when interacting with increases in inequality. Increasing inequality harms growth in countries with high levels of urbanization. High and persistent unemployment also has a negative effect on subsequent long-run economic growth. Unemployment may seriously harm growth because it is a waste of resources, because it generates redistributive pressures and distortions, because it depreciates existing human capital and deters its accumulation, because it drives people to poverty, because it results in liquidity constraints that limit labor mobility, and because it erodes individual self-esteem and promotes social dislocation, unrest and conflict. Policies to control unemployment and reduce its inequality-associated effects can strengthen long-run growth.
Concern extends even to such supporters (or former supporters) of laissez-faire economics and private sector financiers. Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, has stated reference to growing inequality: “This is not the type of thing which a democratic society a capitalist democratic society can really accept without addressing.” Some economists (David Moss, Paul Krugman, Raghuram Rajan) believe the “Great Divergence” may be connected to the financial crisis of 2008. Money manager William H. Gross, former managing director of PIMCO, criticized the shift in distribution of income from labor to capital that underlies some of the growth in inequality as unsustainable, saying:
Even conservatives must acknowledge that return on capital investment, and the liquid stocks and bonds that mimic it, are ultimately dependent on returns to labor in the form of jobs and real wage gains. If Main Street is unemployed and undercompensated, capital can only travel so far down Prosperity Road.
He concluded: “Investors/policymakers of the world wake up you’re killing the proletariat goose that lays your golden eggs.”
Among economists and reports that find inequality harming economic growth are a December 2013 Associated Press survey of three dozen economists’, a 2014 report by Standard and Poor’s, economists Gar Alperovitz, Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, and Branko Milanovic.
A December 2013 Associated Press survey of three dozen economists found that the majority believe that widening income disparity is harming the US economy. They argue that wealthy Americans are receiving higher pay, but they spend less per dollar earned than middle class consumers, the majority of the population, whose incomes have largely stagnated.
A 2014 report by Standard and Poor’s concluded that diverging income inequality has slowed the economic recovery and could contribute to boom-and-bust cycles in the future as more and more Americans take on debt in order to consume. Higher levels of income inequality increase political pressures, discouraging trade, investment, hiring, and social mobility according to the report.
Economists Gar Alperovitz and Robert Reich argue that too much concentration of wealth prevents there being sufficient purchasing power to make the rest of the economy function effectively.
Joseph Stiglitz argues that concentration of wealth and income leads the politically powerful economic elite seek to protect themselves from redistributive policies by weakening the state, and this leads to less public investments by the state roads, technology, education, etc. that are essential for economic growth.
According to economist Branko Milanovic, while traditionally economists thought inequality was good for growth, “The view that income inequality harms growth or that improved equality can help sustain growth has become more widely held in recent years. The main reason for this shift is the increasing importance of human capital in development. When physical capital mattered most, savings and investments were key. Then it was important to have a large contingent of rich people who could save a greater proportion of their income than the poor and invest it in physical capital. But now that human capital is scarcer than machines, widespread education has become the secret to growth.” He continued that “Broadly accessible education” is both difficult to achieve when income distribution is uneven and tends to reduce “income gaps between skilled and unskilled labor.”
Robert Gordon wrote that such issues as ‘rising inequality; factor price equalization stemming from the interplay between globalization and the Internet; the twin educational problems of cost inflation in higher education and poor secondary student performance; the consequences of environmental regulations and taxes…” make economic growth harder to achieve than in the past.
In response to the Occupy movement Richard A. Epstein defended inequality in a free market society, maintaining that “taxing the top one percent even more means less wealth and fewer jobs for the rest of us.” According to Epstein, “the inequalities in wealth … pay for themselves by the vast increases in wealth”, while “forced transfers of wealth through taxation … will destroy the pools of wealth that are needed to generate new ventures. Some researchers have found a connection between lowering high marginal tax rates on high income earners (high marginal tax rates on high income being a common measure to fight inequality), and higher rates of employment growth. Government significant free market strategy affects too. the reason is there is a failure in the US political system to counterbalance the rise in unequal distribution of income amongst the citizens.
Economic sociologist Lane Kenworthy has found no correlation between levels of inequality and economic growth among developed countries, among states of the US, or in the US over the years from 1947 to 2005.Jared Bernstein found a nuanced relation he summed up as follows: “In sum, I’d consider the question of the extent to which higher inequality lowers growth to be an open one, worthy of much deeper research”.Tim Worstall commented that capitalism would not seem to contribute to an inherited-wealth stagnation and consolidation, but instead appears to promote the opposite, a vigorous, ongoing turnover and creation of new wealth.
Income inequality was cited as one of the causes of the Great Depression by Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis in 1933. In his dissent in the Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee (288 U.S. 517) case, he wrote: “Other writers have shown that, coincident with the growth of these giant corporations, there has occurred a marked concentration of individual wealth; and that the resulting disparity in incomes is a major cause of the existing depression.”
Central Banking economist Raghuram Rajan argues that “systematic economic inequalities, within the United States and around the world, have created deep financial ‘fault lines’ that have made [financial] crises more likely to happen than in the past” the Financial crisis of 200708 being the most recent example. To compensate for stagnating and declining purchasing power, political pressure has developed to extend easier credit to the lower and middle income earners particularly to buy homes and easier credit in general to keep unemployment rates low. This has given the American economy a tendency to go “from bubble to bubble” fueled by unsustainable monetary stimulation.
Greater income inequality can lead to monopolization of the labor force, resulting in fewer employers requiring fewer workers. Remaining employers can consolidate and take advantage of the relative lack of competition, leading to less consumer choice, market abuses, and relatively higher prices.
Income inequality lowers aggregate demand, leading to increasingly large segments of formerly middle class consumers unable to afford as many luxury and essential goods and services. This pushes production and overall employment down.
Deep debt may lead to bankruptcy and researchers Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi found a fivefold increase in the number of families filing for bankruptcy between 1980 and 2005. The bankruptcies came not from increased spending “on luxuries”, but from an “increased spending on housing, largely driven by competition to get into good school districts.” Intensifying inequality may mean a dwindling number of ever more expensive school districts that compel middle class or would-be middle class to “buy houses they can’t really afford, taking on more mortgage debt than they can safely handle”.
The ability to move from one income group into another (income mobility) is a means of measuring economic opportunity. A higher probability of upward income mobility theoretically would help mitigate higher income inequality, as each generation has a better chance of achieving higher income groups. Conservatives and libertarians such as economist Thomas Sowell, and Congressman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) argue that more important than the level of equality of results is America’s equality of opportunity, especially relative to other developed countries such as western Europe.
Nonetheless, results from various studies reflect the fact that endogenous regulations and other different rules yield distinct effects on income inequality. A study examines the effects of institutional change on age-based labor market inequalities in Europe. There is a focus on wage-setting institutions on the adult male population and the rate of their unequal income distribution. According to the study, there is evidence that unemployment protection and temporary work regulation affect the dynamics of age-based inequality with positive employment effects of all individuals by the strength of unions. Even though the European Union is within a favorable economic context with perspectives of growth and development, it is also very fragile. 
However, several studies have indicated that higher income inequality corresponds with lower income mobility. In other words, income brackets tend to be increasingly “sticky” as income inequality increases. This is described by a concept called the Great Gatsby curve. In the words of journalist Timothy Noah, “you can’t really experience ever-growing income inequality without experiencing a decline in Horatio Alger-style upward mobility because (to use a frequently-employed metaphor) it’s harder to climb a ladder when the rungs are farther apart.”
The centrist Brookings Institution said in March 2013 that income inequality was increasing and becoming permanent, sharply reducing social mobility in the US. A 2007 study (by Kopczuk, Saez and Song in 2007) found the top population in the United States “very stable” and that income mobility had “not mitigated the dramatic increase in annual earnings concentration since the 1970s.”
Economist Paul Krugman, attacks conservatives for resorting to “extraordinary series of attempts at statistical distortion”. He argues that while in any given year, some of the people with low incomes will be “workers on temporary layoff, small businessmen taking writeoffs, farmers hit by bad weather” the rise in their income in succeeding years is not the same ‘mobility’ as poor people rising to middle class or middle income rising to wealth. It’s the mobility of “the guy who works in the college bookstore and has a real job by his early thirties.”
Studies by the Urban Institute and the US Treasury have both found that about half of the families who start in either the top or the bottom quintile of the income distribution are still there after a decade, and that only 3 to 6% rise from bottom to top or fall from top to bottom.
On the issue of whether most Americans do not stay put in any one income bracket, Krugman quotes from 2011 CBO distribution of income study
Household income measured over a multi-year period is more equally distributed than income measured over one year, although only modestly so. Given the fairly substantial movement of households across income groups over time, it might seem that income measured over a number of years should be significantly more equally distributed than income measured over one year. However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multi-year income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures.
In other words, “many people who have incomes greater than $1 million one year fall out of the category the next year but that’s typically because their income fell from, say, $1.05 million to 0.95 million, not because they went back to being middle class.”
Several studies have found the ability of children from poor or middle-class families to rise to upper income known as “upward relative intergenerational mobility” is lower in the US than in other developed countries and at least two economists have found lower mobility linked to income inequality.
In their Great Gatsby curve,White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan B. Krueger and labor economist Miles Corak show a negative correlation between inequality and social mobility. The curve plotted “intergenerational income elasticity” i.e. the likelihood that someone will inherit their parents’ relative position of income level and inequality for a number of countries.
Aside from the proverbial distant rungs, the connection between income inequality and low mobility can be explained by the lack of access for un-affluent children to better (more expensive) schools and preparation for schools crucial to finding high-paying jobs; the lack of health care that may lead to obesity and diabetes and limit education and employment.
Krueger estimates that “the persistence in the advantages and disadvantages of income passed from parents to the children” will “rise by about a quarter for the next generation as a result of the rise in inequality that the U.S. has seen in the last 25 years.”
Greater income inequality can increase the poverty rate, as more income shifts away from lower income brackets to upper income brackets. Jared Bernstein wrote: “If less of the economy’s market-generated growth i.e., before taxes and transfers kick in ends up in the lower reaches of the income scale, either there will be more poverty for any given level of GDP growth, or there will have to be a lot more transfers to offset inequality’s poverty-inducing impact.” The Economic Policy Institute estimated that greater income inequality would have added 5.5% to the poverty rate between 1979 and 2007, other factors equal. Income inequality was the largest driver of the change in the poverty rate, with economic growth, family structure, education and race other important factors. An estimated 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2012, versus 26% in 1967.
A rise in income disparities weakens skills development among people with a poor educational background in term of the quantity and quality of education attained. Those with a low level of expertise will always consider themselves unworthy of any high position and pay
Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management noted that, “for the last two decades and especially in the current period, … productivity soared … [but] U.S. real average hourly earnings are essentially flat to down, with today’s inflation-adjusted wage equating to about the same level as that attained by workers in 1970. … So where have the benefits of technology-driven productivity cycle gone? Almost exclusively to corporations and their very top executives.” In addition to the technological side of it, the affected functionality emanates from the perceived unfairness and the reduced trust of people towards the state. The study by Kristal and Cohen showed that rising wage inequality has brought about an unhealthy competition between institutions and technology. The technological changes, with computerization of the workplace, seem to give an upper hand to the high-skilled workers as the primary cause of inequality in America. The qualified will always be considered to be in a better position as compared to those dealing with hand work leading to replacements and unequal distribution of resources.
Economist Timothy Smeeding summed up the current trend:
Americans have the highest income inequality in the rich world and over the past 2030 years Americans have also experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among rich nations. The more detailed the data we can use to observe this change, the more skewed the change appears to be … the majority of large gains are indeed at the top of the distribution.
According to Janet L. Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve,
…from 1973 to 2005, real hourly wages of those in the 90th percentile where most people have college or advanced degrees rose by 30% or more… among this top 10 percent, the growth was heavily concentrated at the very tip of the top, that is, the top 1 percent. This includes the people who earn the very highest salaries in the U.S. economy, like sports and entertainment stars, investment bankers and venture capitalists, corporate attorneys, and CEOs. In contrast, at the 50th percentile and below where many people have at most a high school diploma real wages rose by only 5 to 10% 
Economists Jared Bernstein and Paul Krugman have attacked the concentration of income as variously “unsustainable” and “incompatible” with real democracy. American political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson quote a warning by Greek-Roman historian Plutarch: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Some academic researchers have written that the US political system risks drifting towards a form of oligarchy, through the influence of corporations, the wealthy, and other special interest groups.
Rising income inequality has been linked to the political polarization in Washington DC. According to a 2013 study published in the Political Research Quarterly, elected officials tend to be more responsive to the upper income bracket and ignore lower income groups.
Paul Krugman wrote in November 2014 that: “The basic story of political polarization over the past few decades is that, as a wealthy minority has pulled away economically from the rest of the country, it has pulled one major party along with it…Any policy that benefits lower- and middle-income Americans at the expense of the elite like health reform, which guarantees insurance to all and pays for that guarantee in part with taxes on higher incomes will face bitter Republican opposition.” He used environmental protection as another example, which was not a partisan issue in the 1990s but has since become one.
As income inequality has increased, the degree of House of Representatives polarization measured by voting record has also increased. The voting is mostly by the rich and for the rich making it hard to achieve equal income and resource distribution for the average population (Bonica et al., 2013). There is a little number of people who turn to government insurance with the rising wealth and real income since they consider inequality within the different government sectors. Additionally, there has been an increased influence by the rich on the regulatory, legislative and electoral processes within the country that has led to improved employment standards for the bureaucrats and politicians. Professors McCarty, Pool and Rosenthal wrote in 2007 that polarization and income inequality fell in tandem from 1913 to 1957 and rose together dramatically from 1977 on. They show that Republicans have moved politically to the right, away from redistributive policies that would reduce income inequality. Polarization thus creates a feedback loop, worsening inequality.
Several economists and political scientists have argued that economic inequality translates into political inequality, particularly in situations where politicians have financial incentives to respond to special interest groups and lobbyists. Researchers such as Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University have shown that politicians are significantly more responsive to the political opinions of the wealthy, even when controlling for a range of variables including educational attainment and political knowledge.
Historically, discussions of income inequality and capital vs. labor debates have sometimes included the language of class warfare, from President Theodore Roosevelt (referring to the leaders of big corporations as “malefactors of great wealth”), to President Franklin Roosevelt (“economic royalists…are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred”), to more the recent “1% versus the 99%” issue and the question of which political party better represents the interests of the middle class.
Investor Warren Buffett said in 2006 that: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” He advocated much higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, who pay lower effective tax rates than many middle-class persons.
Two journalists concerned about social separation in the US are economist Robert Frank, who notes that: “Today’s rich had formed their own virtual country .. [T]hey had built a self-contained world unto themselves, complete with their own health-care system (concierge doctors), travel network (Net jets, destination clubs), separate economy…The rich weren’t just getting richer; they were becoming financial foreigners, creating their own country within a country, their own society within a society, and their economy within an economy.
George Packer wrote that “Inequality hardens society into a class system … Inequality divides us from one another in schools, in neighborhoods, at work, on airplanes, in hospitals, in what we eat, in the condition of our bodies, in what we think, in our children’s futures, in how we die. Inequality makes it harder to imagine the lives of others.
Even these class levels can affect the politics in certain ways. There has been an increased influence by the rich on the regulatory, legislative and electoral processes within the country that has led to improved employment standards for the bureaucrats and politicians. They have a greater influence through their lobbying and contributions that give them an opportunity to immerse wealth for themselves.
Loss of income by the middle class relative to the top-earning 1% and 0.1% is both a cause and effect of political change, according to journalist Hedrick Smith. In the decade starting around 2000, business groups employed 30 times as many Washington lobbyists as trade unions and 16 times as many lobbyists as labor, consumer, and public interest lobbyists combined.
From 1998 through 2010 business interests and trade groups spent $28.6 billion on lobbying compared with $492 million for labor, nearly a 60-to-1 business advantage.
The result, according to Smith, is a political landscape dominated in the 1990s and 2000s by business groups, specifically “political insiders” former members of Congress and government officials with an inside track working for “Wall Street banks, the oil, defense, and pharmaceutical industries; and business trade associations.” In the decade or so prior to the Great Divergence, middle-class-dominated reformist grassroots efforts such as civil rights movement, environmental movement, consumer movement, labor movement had considerable political impact.
“We haven’t achieved the minimalist state that libertarians advocate. What we’ve achieved is a state too constrained to provide the public goods investments in infrastructure, technology, and education that would make for a vibrant economy and too weak to engage in the redistribution that is needed to create a fair society. But we have a state that is still large enough and distorted enough that it can provide a bounty of gifts to the wealthy.”
Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that hyper-inequality may explain political questions such as why America’s infrastructure (and other public investments) are deteriorating, or the country’s recent relative lack of reluctance to engage in military conflicts such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Top-earning families, wealthy enough to buy their own education, medical care, personal security, and parks, have little interest in helping pay for such things for the rest of society, and the political influence to make sure they don’t have to. So too, the lack of personal or family sacrifice involved for top earners in the military intervention of their country their children being few and far between in the relatively low-paying all-volunteer military may mean more willingness by influential wealthy to see its government wage war.
Economist Branko Milanovic argued that globalization and the related competition with cheaper labor from Asia and immigrants have caused U.S. middle-class wages to stagnate, fueling the rise of populist political candidates such as Donald Trump.
The relatively high rates of health and social problems, (obesity, mental illness, homicides, teenage births, incarceration, child conflict, drug use) and lower rates of social goods (life expectancy, educational performance, trust among strangers, women’s status, social mobility, even numbers of patents issued per capita), in the US compared to other developed countries may be related to its high income inequality. Using statistics from 23 developed countries and the 50 states of the US, British researchers Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have found such a correlation which remains after accounting for ethnicity, national culture, and occupational classes or education levels. Their findings, based on UN Human Development Reports and other sources, locate the United States at the top of the list in regards to inequality and various social and health problems among developed countries. The authors argue inequality creates psychosocial stress and status anxiety that lead to social ills. A 2009 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published in the British Medical Journal attribute one in three deaths in the United States to high levels of inequality. According to The Earth Institute, life satisfaction in the US has been declining over the last several decades, which has been attributed to soaring inequality, lack of social trust and loss of faith in government.
It is claimed in a 2015 study by Princeton University researchers Angus Deaton and Anne Case that income inequality could be a driving factor in a marked increase in deaths among white males between the ages of 45 to 54 in the period 1999 to 2013.
Paul Krugman argues that the much lamented long-term funding problems of Social Security and Medicare can be blamed in part on the growth in inequality as well as the usual culprits like longer life expectancies. The traditional source of funding for these social welfare programs payroll taxes is inadequate because it does not capture income from capital, and income above the payroll tax cap, which make up a larger and larger share of national income as inequality increases.
Upward redistribution of income is responsible for about 43% of the projected Social Security shortfall over the next 75 years.
Disagreeing with this focus on the top-earning 1%, and urging attention to the economic and social pathologies of lower-income/lower education Americans, is conservative journalist David Brooks. Whereas in the 1970s, high school and college graduates had “very similar family structures”, today, high school grads are much less likely to get married and be active in their communities, and much more likely to smoke, be obese, get divorced, or have “a child out of wedlock.”
The zooming wealth of the top one percent is a problem, but it’s not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the 40 percent of children who are born out of wedlock. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the nation’s stagnant human capital, its stagnant social mobility and the disorganized social fabric for the bottom 50 percent.
Contradicting most of these arguments, classical liberals such as Friedrich Hayek have maintained that because individuals are diverse and different, state intervention to redistribute income is inevitably arbitrary and incompatible with the concept of general rules of law, and that “what is called ‘social’ or distributive’ justice is indeed meaningless within a spontaneous order”. Those who would use the state to redistribute, “take freedom for granted and ignore the preconditions necessary for its survival.”
The growth of inequality has provoked a political protest movement the Occupy movement starting in Wall Street and spreading to 600 communities across the United States in 2011. Its main political slogan “We are the 99%” references its dissatisfaction with the concentration of income in the top 1%.
Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Are you looking for an opportunity to be inspired?
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Are you ready to feel more empowered in your day-to-day life, relationships and career?
Then look no further. WYI’s Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) is for you!
What is PEP?
When is PEP?
The next Personal Empowerment Program will be held on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoriafrom Friday 2nd December to Monday 5th December, 2016.
All participants are responsible for making their way to Melbourne city, transfers to the venue will be arranged if needed. We recommend arriving in the Melbourne city the night before the program begins and departing late in the evening of the final day (or the following morning, if possible). Further details will be provided on acceptance of your registration.
How much does it cost?
Entry to the Personal Empowerment Program is subsidised for recently returned WYI program participants*. The full fee for the four-day program is $950.
All participants are required to pay a $200 registration bond on acceptance of their registration to secure their place at PEP. This bond is non-refundable if a participant cancels their attendance after 1st November 2016. For more information please contact the PEP Coordinator at email@example.com
* If your WYI Overseas Program ended in July 2016 or later your subsidised fee for PEP is the $200 Registration Bond. If your WYI Overseas Program ended in June 2016 or prior and you have not attended PEP your Registration Bond of $200 will be refunded to you after your completion of the program. As of 2017 all WYI participants will be required to pay a minimum of $200 to attend PEP.
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Three nights accommodation, all meals and all activities will be covered during program. This includes all course materials and access to qualified coaching professionals and trained PEP staff. Attendees will need to arrange their own transport to and from Melbourne city, transfers to and from the venue from Melbourne city will be provided if needed.
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Please contact the PEP Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Glenda Fraser, PEP Participant 2015
“I appreciated so much my opportunity to come to PEP. I was more than amazed by the program. it was such a privilege being amongst so many volunteers and being in an environment where our only purpose was to bring the best out of and acknowledge the best in everyone. I found the universality of the power of good alive and well at PEP, where true and enduring values were the overwhelming theme, and much love and acceptance was generated, It was a powerful experience, one I hope never to forget.
Thank you PEP and WYI. – Glenda Fraser, PEP Participant 2015″
Caitlin Murphy, Past Participant 2011
“PEP was a powerful force: a process of waking up and returning to authentic connections. It was a meeting of so many incredible people with energy and drive that kick-started an inner fire in many of us. There was such openness and potential in everyone, and a creative element to the program that was very special. read more
I now feel much more peaceful, balanced and healthy; I feel ready to live passionately and bravely. I can start to trust the way I want to live. I now feel more comfortable in my own skin. I feel I respect myself more, and I respect others’ development. I now feel I have the potential to act and to engage freely with others. I now feel part of a powerful movement of change, and take comfort in the fact that many others are driven by the same conviction. I feel resilient and alive.
Sarah Abrahamse, Past Participant 2010
To be honest I spent a great deal of the weekend being overwhelmed about what was going on around me. I tried my hardest to soak up all I could in terms of ideas, stories, experiences and lessons learnt from others by relating or comparing them to my own. I found that the gathering of like minds allowed incredible growth in a very subtle way. I truly believe that together we created a powerful force, a force that is hard to explain, a force that can really only be felt, a force that despite distance, despite the immensity of issues of the world we were considering, despite the unclear solutions, despite it all, a force that remains. What occurred within those four days will always be evident; our force will continue to develop as we continue to feel empowered. It is through this force that I find hope. I find comfort in the fact that our legacy is not over. I find comfort in the idea that I believe in the people I met, I believe they are powerful, and the fact is that through these beliefs I find strength which enables me to also believe in myself.
One of the most beautiful things I took away from this experience was the ability to embrace diversity. We all entered at different stages on our journey, throughout our time together we experienced different emotions, had our own realisations and dealt with things in our own way. People are unique. So often we forget how imperative that concept is. I found myself in the company of like minded people yet I still felt like my own person. I was on my own journey, but I was not alone. This idea highlighted that we all need each other in our simplest form in order to exist. The program highlighted my favourite concept from Africa, ‘Ubuntu’- I am what I am, because of who we all are, I am because we are. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others. My humanity is caught up and inextricably bound in yours. I feel so privileged to have been a part of this program, to be apart of a family, a force, a movement that ignites my passions and gives me hope.”
Aimee Pitt, Past Participant 2010
“Friendship, challenge, love, fear, liberation: such small words that bring forth such intense memories of my time at PEP. I went simply because I wanted to catch up with like-minded people and learn some leadership skills. Surpassing all expectations, these things were only two of the many things I gained. I wasn’t prepared for the soul battering experience I received, and for that I am blessed. Although only lasting for several days, WYI’s Personal Empowerment Program is the climax to the most life changing journey I have ever been on. All the lessons I learnt about myself on my OAP were tested and solidified. Things that I had “known” for years were finally given meaning and understood. Self doubts that I’d been living with since I was a child were brought to the surface and eliminated. There were tears, there was laughter and above all there was empowerment. I am now in a position to take charge of my life and overcome fear- the cage that binds us all. I now fully realise that challenges are what helps the soul grow. The more vulnerabilities and dreams I make public, the more I inspire others to push their own boundaries and discover hidden strengths. I am responsible, I am powerful; I am the change. And so are you. Led by the most inspiring, generous people I have ever met, the Personal Empowerment Program is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.”
Posted: January 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm
The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies.
They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is 31,458 as of 2012[update] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola and the other Antilles archipelago islands. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170sqmi).[b]
The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption. Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.
The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Tano people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Tanos from Hispaniola.
Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512, they began capturing the Tano of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system) to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.
The first European documented to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Len, who did so in 1512. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.
Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. From 17651783, the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.
After the American War of Independence (17751783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783, they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.
In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.
In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.
In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent. Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution. An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands.
In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.
In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica into 1959.
On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.
When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill for legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.
Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.
The islands’ political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.
In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the Turks and Caicos’ premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Torontos Westin Harbour Castle hotel.
The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620mi) from Miami in the United States, at 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583Coordinates: 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.
The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128sqmi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year) and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.
The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.
The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200m or 7,200ft deep, The islands form a chain that stretches northsouth. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:
Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative districts of the territory that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324km2 (125sqmi).
25 kilometres (16mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370sqmi) in area. Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.
The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56sqmi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47sqmi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45sqmi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1sqmi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3sqmi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.
The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33C (91F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18C (64F).
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.
The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:
A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.
Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick, held thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.
Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.
The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The winning party of Turks and Caicos’ first general election in 1976, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under “Jags” McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country’s leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year. That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.
However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands, but not at the present time.
In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).
A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000. Owing to this, the islands’ status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden attempted to persuade the British government to annex the islands, and the idea has been discussed several times over the last century. In 1974, the government of the islands sent Canada a “serious offer” to join the country, however at the time the Canadian government was focusing on their free trade agreement with the United States.
In 2013, Rufus Ewing, the Premier of the islands, rejected the idea of the islands joining Canada, however the following year he stated that he wasn’t “closing the door completely” on the possibility.
In April 2016, it was reported that the New Democratic Party, one of the three major political parties in Canada, was considering a resolution at an upcoming national convention to discuss the possibility of working with lawmakers and citizens of Turks and Caicos Islands to have it join Canada as the eleventh Canadian province.
In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos, then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption. The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her, although he strongly denies the charge.
On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.
On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.
On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of “high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty”, Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government. Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds. The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement. Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government’s debate on whether to remove the territory’s sovereignty as “tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history.”
On 14 August 2009 after Misick’s last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands’ administration was suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power was transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, “This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management.”
The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick’s successor Williams calling it a “coup”, and stating that, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.” Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule. The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, “or sooner”. Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to “make a clean break from the mistakes of the past” and create “a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development”. Wetherell added: “In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations… Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes.”
On 12 June 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that fresh elections would be held in November 2012, stating that there had been “significant progress with an ambitious reform programme” and that there had been “sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls” A new constitution was approved on 15 October 2012. The terms of the election are specified in the constitution.
The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.
Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.
As of September 2014, the Chief Justice is Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale.
Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census. One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.
The adult population is composed of 57.5% immigrants (“non-belongers”). The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7% 
Vital statistics related to the population are:
The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole which is similar to Bahamian Creole. Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.
72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8% and Others 14%).
Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.
Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.
The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).
Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.
Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.
In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.
Public Education is supported by taxation, and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the studentteacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1. The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in The United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free. They have to commit to working in The Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education.
The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.
In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows: Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.
In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).
The labour force totalled 27,595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:
The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 20072008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.
The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.
The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.
The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.
The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.
The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world and the world’s only conch farm.
The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.
Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.
To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.
The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.
Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000m (6,600ft) long and one is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft)s long and the other is significantly shorter).
The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24km (15mi) paved and 97km (60mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.
The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.
The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.
There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands. Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination. The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.
Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Worldwide, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.
West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.
WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog, an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.
Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.
Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN and the Turks and Caicos Free Press. All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,s3 Magazine,Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.
From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.
Cricket is the islands’ national sport. The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship, as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20. Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.
As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.
Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
Articles relating to the Turks and Caicos Islands
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In a racist ruling that primarily functioned as a way to disarm black residents while protecting white Southern paramilitary groups, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment applied only to the federal government. Chief Justice Morrison Waite wrote for the majority:
The most frequently-cited Second Amendment ruling in U.S. history has been United States v. Miller, a serious but challenging attempt to define the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms on the basis of how well it serves the Second Amendment’s well-regulated-militia rationale. As Justice James Clark McReynolds wrote for the majority:
In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decidedfor the first time in U.S. historyto strike down a law on Second Amendment grounds. Justice Scalia wrote for the narrow majority:
The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a ‘right of the people.’ The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase ‘right of the people’ two other times, in the First Amendments Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendments Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people’). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body …
We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
The opinion the Court announces today fails to identify any new evidence supporting the view that the Amendment was intended to limit the power of Congress to regulate civilian uses of weapons. Unable to point to any such evidence, the Court stakes its holding on a strained and unpersuasive reading of the Amendments text; significantly different provisions in the 1689 English Bill of Rights, and in various 19th-century State Constitutions; postenactment commentary that was available to the Court when it decided Miller; and, ultimately, a feeble attempt to distinguish Miller that places more emphasis on the Courts decisional process than on the reasoning in the opinion itself …
Until today, it has been understood that legislatures may regulate the civilian use and misuse of firearms so long as they do not interfere with the preservation of a well-regulated militia. The Courts announcement of a new constitutional right to own and use firearms for private purposes upsets that settled understanding, but leaves for future cases the formidable task of defining the scope of permissible regulations …
The Court properly disclaims any interest in evaluating the wisdom of the specific policy choice challenged in this case, but it fails to pay heed to a far more important policy choicethe choice made by the Framers themselves. The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy. Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Courts opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.
Posted: January 4, 2017 at 6:13 pm
The effects below describe the common physical, mental and emotional effects which comprise the psychedelic experience.
This information has been compiled from two sources: the decades of observation and study by psychiatrists in a clinical setting before LSD and other psychedelics were outlawed in the late 1960s; and books and anecdotal trip reports written by users. See here for a list of sources.
The most important thing to realize is that no two trips are the same. The intensity and effects of a drug like LSD vary dramatically from person to person. If different people take the same amount in the same circumstances, each will have a distinctly different experience. If the same person takes LSD repeatedly, each experience is usually completely different in its flavor and content. (1)
The nature of the psychedelic experience is strongly determined by set and setting. Set is your mindset (how you’re feeling, issues in your life, your psychological makeup) when taking the drug; setting is where you are – that includes who you’re with and how relaxed you feel. Dosage and previous experience with the drug are also important factors.
Basically, if you take LSD, you will experience some or none of the effects on the following scale:
how you feel before taking a drug
Very mild effect. Relaxation. Giggling. Like being stoned but with enhanced visual perception: colors may seem brighter, patterns recognition enhanced, colors and details more eye-grabbing.
Physically, a feeling of lightness and euphoria, and a slight tingling in the body. Energy. A sense of urgency. Music sounds better.
Stronger visual hallucinations. Radiant colors. Objects and surfaces appear to ripple or breathe. Colored patterns behind the eyes are vivid, more active. Moments of reflection and distractive thought patterns. Thoughts and thinking become enhanced. Creative urges. Euphoria. Connection with others, empathy. Ability to talk or interact with others however slightly impaired. Sense of time distorted or lost. Sexual arousal. “Flight of ideas” and “ambitious designs”. You’re tripping.
Very obvious visual effects. Curved or warped patterns. Familiar objects appear strange as surface details distract the eye. Imagination and ‘mind’s eye’ images vivid, three dimensional. Geometric patterns behind closed eyes. Some confusion of the senses.
Distortion rather than deterioration of mental processes. Some awareness of background brain functioning: such as balance systems or auditory visual perception. Deep store memory becomes accessible. Images or experiences may rise to the fore. Music is powerful and can affect mood. Sense of time lost. Occasional trance states. Paranoia and distortions of body image possible.
Physical symptoms may include: stiffness, cramp, and muscular tension. Nausea, fever, feeling of illness. You’re loaded.
Lying down. Difficult to interact with other people and ‘consensus reality’ in general. You should really be somewhere safe.
Very strong hallucinations such as objects morphing into other objects. Tracers, lingering after-images, and visual echoes.
Intense depersonalization. Category enscramblement. The barriers between you and the universe begin to break down. Connection with everything around you. Experiencing contradictory feelings simultaneously. Some loss of reality. Time meaningless. Senses blend into one. Sensations of being born. Multiple splitting of the ego. Powerful awareness of mental processes and senses. Lengthy trances often featuring highly symbolic, often mythical visions when eyes are closed. Powerful, and sometimes brutal psycho-physical reactions described by users as reliving their own birth. Direct experience of group or collective consciousness, ancestral memories, recall of past-lives, and other mystical experiences. Ecstasy.
Music extremely powerful, perhaps overwhelming. Emotionally sensitivity increased (often massively). Crying or laughing, or both simultaneously.
Tremors, twitches, twisting movements, sweating, chills, hot flushes – all common. You’re essentially out of it.
A very rare experience. Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of self. Transcendental experiences of cosmic unity, merging with space, other objects, or the universe. Out of body experience. Ecstasy. “Entity contact”. The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. Pure white light. Difficult to put into words.
– The Varieties Of Psychedelic Experience, Robert Masters Ph.D & Jean Houston Ph.D (Park Street Press, 2000)
– Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25). A clinical-psychological study. Savage C Amer. J. Psychiat., 1952; 108:896
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Breaking News, Recent Shows – posted on January 3, 2017 by Ron Patton 1/3: MACHINE INCARNATE: PREPARING THE HYBRIDGENERATION
Now that 2016 is over, the technocracy is moving quickly and advanced innovations are accelerating exponentially. Many of us in the future will have a hard time conceptualizing future AI. You may not think at this moment it is important to contemplate upon, but a word of warning must given in 2017; your ability to adapt to new technologies will impact the way you interpret and engage with the world. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about MACHINE INCARNATE: PREPARING THE HYBRIDGENERATION.
Deceit in 2017 is all about how it is spun. The lies generated by a government and fed to the media are definitely signs that we are on the verge of pervasive despotism. Well-organized lies that are being used to deceive the consensus will most certainly destroy the trust of the people and will destroy us from within. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about 2017 SABBAT OCCULTO.
It can be argued the entire narrative of 2016 seemed surreal and as we were bumping through the various obstacles in our journey, some of us felt as though something was subverting and overriding our will. In order to better understand what has really transpired over the year, perhaps we should begin at the end reversed chronology. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with Reverse Speech analyst, David John Oates about THE YEAR IN REVERSE: THE ART OF REVERSE CHRONOLOGY.
The Grim Reaper has been working overtime toward the end of 2016, with many well-known celebrities passing away abruptly. The reality is that we have seen an increase in younger people dying, with heart disease being the leading killer of both men and women worldwide. There are ways to overcome these detrimental health issues, safely and effectively. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with nutritional expert, Dr. Joel Wallach about HEALTHY PREPPERS BLEEDING HEARTS CLUB BAND.
On December 26, 1980, several UFO incidents, including multiple-witness sightings by military personnel, ground traces, and radioactive anomalies were reported from Rendlesham Forest. This case which has been nicknamed the British Roswell, is undoubtedly one of the best documented and most significant military encounters with a UFO. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about U.O.U.K. : UNKNOWN OBJECT RENDLESHAM.
Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in Star Wars, passed away today. When Star Wars debuted in 1977, Leias leadership, bravery and heroism were traits rarely found in women on the silver screen. Her iconic image truly spoke to us on a deeper level. Leia had what Carrie Fisher had in life intelligence, strength and courage. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks with sci-fi critic and TV host, Mr. Lobo, about YOUR WORSHIP: TRIBUTE TO A PRINCESS.
American public opinion supports doing something about global warming, but what is the question? Those who are adamant about the issue will soon feel their support waning because of the money that every American will have to pay to somehow absolve themselves from carbon sins. The climate debate will most certainly be a mess, as we prepare for the winter of our discontent. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks with geo-engineering researcher, Patrick Roddie about CLIMATE DISINFOBESITY: BABY ITS SIZZLING COLD OUTSIDE.
The skies are roaring with strange sounds across the planet with increasing regularity. The sounds range in description from bizarre and creepy to industrial and mechanical. These loud and peculiar noises from above are bringing forth Apocalyptic notions of imminent doom. What could be the cause of this reverberating cosmic disturbance that penetrates deeply into the flesh and soul? On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? ALIENS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH.
The tales of DNA sequencing, hybrid cloning, genetic modification and various other stories of alien hybrid doppelgangers are appearing now, in various television documentaries and news stories. Moreover, it has always been feared that genetic modification, transhuman tinkering, and the so-called hybridization of humans from an alien intelligence can create potential extinction level destruction of our species; namely, a modified human replacing a regular human being. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about HYBRID: SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN.
As we move further into the winter months, it is becoming obvious that the global soft coup is underway and the Deep State is being used to carry out what is playing out to be the crime of the century. It is quite obvious the Deep State has declared war on those who wish to oppose the establishment order that is progressing to a world government. On tonights show, Clyde Lewis talks about DEEP STATE OF SHOCK.
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Ground Zero Breaking News
Posted: December 26, 2016 at 3:20 pm
A proposed Hard Rock casino that was announced for the Meadowlands Racetrack site on Wednesday carried with it considerable support from North Jersey lawmakers for placing a statewide referendum on the November ballot to clear the way for its construction.
michael karas/staff photographer
From left, Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural and Hard Rock casino operator Jim Allen look on as state Sen. Paul Sarlo speaks on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
Hard Rocks chief executive, Jim Allen, said the $1 billion casino would feature 5,000 slot machines, more than 200 table games, and 12 to 15 restaurants, and that it could open as soon as soon as the summer or early fall of 2016. Meanwhile, former Reebok Chief Executive Paul Fireman has proposed a $4 billion casino, hotel, spa and retail project adjacent to his Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City that he said would take up to four years to complete.
Hard Rock Casino
A rendering of the proposed Hard Rock Meadowlands casino.
Hard Rock Casino
A rendering of the proposed Hard Rock Meadowlands casino.
Neither project could be built unless lawmakers elect to let voters decide whether to end Atlantic Citys nearly four-decade-old casino monopoly and thereby allow casinos to be built in North Jersey to compete with gambling palaces in Pennsylvania and New York State. But Sweeney a Gloucester County Democrat whose backing of a statewide referendum would be crucial last month questioned whether it would be wiser to postpone a vote to allow North Jersey casinos until November 2016 based on an expected low turnout this fall.
The unveiling of plans for a Meadowlands casino on Wednesday came with only weeks to spare before time runs out on starting the process of approving a question for the Nov. 3 ballot. Nearly a dozen North Jersey elected officials who attended the Hard Rock announcement insisted in impassioned speeches that the vote should happen this year. Sweeney did not attend, and a spokesman declined to comment.
Allen and the tracks operator, Jeff Gural, reiterated that some of the tax revenues from the new casino would aid the economic recovery of Atlantic City, where a four of 12 casinos have closed in the last 18 months. Allen added that because Hard Rock has sites in 64 countries, a Hard Rock Meadowlands casino complete with a New Jersey Music Hall of Fame would attract many of the millions of foreign tourists who visit Manhattan annually.
The announcement that an estimated 2,360 jobs would be created during construction drew cheers from laborers who attended the press conference at the tracks Victory Sports Bar. The casino also would create 5,000 permanent jobs, officials said.
This is not a fight between North Jersey and South Jersey, Gural said. Were fighting New York and Pennsylvania we need to bring back the people in northern New Jersey who now travel to those casinos.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, said Sweeney would need to be won over and that the ballot question would need to be drafted in the next 30 days.
I dont understand why we would wait another year, or two years New Jersey has a revenue problem, said Jim Kirkos, the president of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. Kirkos has backed new development including a casino at the Meadowlands Sports Complex since 2010.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Secaucus; state Sens. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck and Ray Lesniak, D-Essex; and Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco were among the elected officials who endorsed the Hard Rock plan on Wednesday.
We will work together that this moves ahead the Meadowlands is the place for a casino in North Jersey, Weinberg said to applause from the crowd.
Weinberg said she would support building only one North Jersey casino, at the Meadowlands, while Sarlo and Lesniak support two North Jersey casinos and Caputo is backing up to three casinos in Bergen, Hudson and Essex counties.
But all of the politicians said they would be able to compromise on a plan to bring the issue to voters in November.
Im concerned that if we dont do it now, it will never get done, Lesniak said.
Gural said he met with the owners of the Giants and Jets several months ago and does not expect the NFL teams to oppose a Meadowlands casino. Gural also told the teams that, if a casino is built, he would pay to have the old grandstand adjacent to MetLife Stadium demolished and that the teams could then use that property for additional parking.
The new facility would be built to the left side of the main entrance of the racetracks new $100 million grandstand, which included a 16 percent equity stake by Hard Rock. Allen said the two buildings eventually would be connected.
Gural estimated that the state could collect $400 million in tax revenues at a rate of 55 percent almost double what the entire Atlantic City casino industry pays at its 8 percent rate if no more than two casino licenses are issued.
This was a show of force today, because everyone recognizes that this is the year to put it on the ballot, said Gural, who added that he and Allen may spend $10 million to $20 million on advertising this summer and fall to try to get a referendum passed. Gural estimated that it would cost three times as much to mount a similar campaign in 2016, a presidential election year when advertising would be more expensive.
I dont think that [Sweeney] wants to position himself as being the only obstacle to a project of this magnitude, Gural said.
The tax rate at the proposed 20-acre Jersey City casino complex likely would be far lower than at the Meadowlands, due to the cost of the investment and the greater number of permanent jobs that would be created at the Hudson County facility that like the private Liberty National Golf Club would cater to a highly affluent clientele.
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