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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 January 2014

Them & Us

85 super-rich people in the world, in total, own as much wealth ($110 trillion) as half the world's population of 3.5 billion people.

In the US the share of income going to the top 1% has doubled since 1980 to 20%. For the top 0.1% it has quadrupled.

Capitalist investor Warren Buffet, ($53.5 billion wealth), pays only 17.7% in income tax while his secretary (on an above average salary of $60,000) pays 30% in tax.

(source: Oxfam)

Cost of living

Total average weekly pay increased from 439 to 476 between March 2008 and October 2013 - 8.5% over 5.5 years.

Over the same period the CPI prices index went up from 106.7 to 127.5 ie up by nearly 20%. Domestic gas and electricity prices rocketed by 50%.

Deeper in debt

Research commissioned by the homeless charity Shelter has shown that one million people have had to turn to payday loans and credit cards to pay their rent or mortgage.

Shelter also report that 9,000 people unable to pay their rent or mortgage called the charity last year - an increase of one-third.

Many more cash-strapped workers are too ashamed to ask for help from friends and family.

Shelter's chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: "Sky high housing costs, stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll."

Below minimum

It's not just Bangladeshi workers (where a factory collapsed last year) who have been suffering from low-wage paying, profiteering employers.

A US embassy cable, leaked by Wikileaks, showed how clothing companies, such as Levi Strauss and Hanes, paying what the embassy described as 'slave wages', decided they didn't want to implement an increase in the Haitian minimum wage to 61 US cents an hour and instead exerted their influence on the US government to persuade the Haitian government to change this to 31 US cents an hour, or $3 a day.

Even the pitifully low US federal minimum wage (which campaigners in Seattle and elsewhere are trying to force up to $15 an hour) is $58 dollars a day, almost 20 times more!

Utwit forecast

And now the weather forecast brought to you by Ukip. 'Blackening skies will be followed by pestilential plagues of frogs and locusts...'

At least it would be if Ukip's suspended councillor in Henley-on-Thames, David Silvester, was involved, judged by his ludicrous claim that extreme weather events have been caused by the government legalising same sex marriages.

Before suspending this former Tory party 'fruitcake' Ukip initially cautioned against disciplining Silvester, saying that spouting such reactionary nonsense was justified on the grounds of "free speech".

Ukip poses itself as an 'anti-establishment' party. In reality it is a vituperous nest of 'real Tory' bigots.

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In The Socialist 22 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Real living wage now

Capitalism is a system in crisis

Pay me - I'm a banker!

What exactly is the point of Labour?

Stop the NHS sell-off

Bedroom tax loophole: Can legal tactics be effective?

Fracking - profiting from environmental destruction

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt referendum: no enthusiasm for new constitution

"Ireland is a success story" rhetoric is based on spin


Education

Stop the student debt spiral - day of action 6 February

Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in Croydon

An open letter to Tristram Hunt


Socialist Party workplace news

Transport workers have power to defeat cuts

Teachers need a date for national action

Teachers strike against threatened redundancies

NUT strikes against management "observations"

More action needed to defend Probation Service

Publicity alone can't save sacked union branch official

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lincoln marches against racism and fascism

Protest against Atos 'assessments' on 19 February

Salford workers and environmentalists challenge council

Stop cuts in Kent

Carlisle petition


Readers' comments and reviews

Benefits Street: A caricature of poverty

Leeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

Robert Burns, insurrectionary poet


 

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