Some Occupy Wall Street Proposals (And Some News On Economic Mobility)

I’ve proposed my own answer to that question on this blog in the past.

However, The Associated Press is reporting today what they’ve heard while interviewing protesters. There are some good suggestions on this list — especially ending corporate personhood and imposing a 1 percent “Robin Hood” tax on large financial transactions.

By The Associated Press
Some of the leading proposals to solve the country’s economic and political problems, offered by members of the Occupy movement who were interviewed by The Associated Press:
— Impose a 1 percent “Robin Hood” tax on large financial transactions, and use the money to support social programs.
— Reinstate portions of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that were repealed in 1999. The act had prevented bank holding companies from getting into certain other types of financial ventures, effectively separating investment banking and commercial banking.
— Freeze all property foreclosures; cap interest charges at 6 percent or less.
— Reduce military spending; stop wars that drain financial resources.
— Reparations; make government payments to the descendants of African slaves to reset a broken, unbalanced economy.
— Ban big corporate donations to campaigns and set equal spending limits.
— Instill a fair conscience and a sense of morality into the minds of big decision makers.
— Revamp the tax code to take a higher percentage of multimillionaires’ earnings. Ensure that Wall Street and big companies pay higher business taxes.
— Equalize public education by paying fairly and proportionately for the entire U.S. population, regulating spending by student and not by school district.
— Pass congressional legislation that returns bankruptcy protection to student loans.
— End corporate personhood.
— Ensure equal-access health care for all Americans.

On a related note, the Los Angeles Times is reporting today on a new study about economic mobility in the United States. It’s not good news.

(Keep in mind that studies already show that Americans are less mobile than many of their European counterparts. Click here to learn some reasons why.)

OK, on to the Los Angeles Times

There’s nothing more American than going from rags to riches. Or so the image goes.

The reality, according to a recent study, is far less rosy.

The ability to go from poor to rich — or at least to climb out of poverty — has become much harder to do in the last three decades, according to an analysis by Wells Fargo Securities. The percentage of low-income people who moved up the economic ladder slowed sharply from 1980 to 2009, compared with the previous dozen years, the study found.

The drop in economic mobility, combined with recently declining government aid to the poor, has left many Americans with no way to dig themselves out of poverty.

“Those at the lower end of the income distribution are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place,” the study said. “They do not have the economic mobility to improve their finances in the labor market, and government assistance helping them get by is now drying up.”

The picture was brighter for the middle class, whose ability for upward mobility improved notably from 1980 to 2009. The highest-earning people in the study — those in the top quintile — had average annual income of $140,000. For the top 1%, it was $644,000. And the top 0.1% earned an average $1.1 million a year.

Read the rest here.

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