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Reviews | Myths and reality as America’s oligarchs devour the economy

The ruling economic class oligarchs in the United States continue to pour billions of dollars into the pockets of politicians. The drift towards oligarchy was propelled in 1976 with the Supreme Court decision Buckley vs. Valeo decision. It continued in 1978 with the Bellotti vs. Bank of Boston decision and culminated with the terrible Citizens United v FEC decision in 2010. Politicians were found to legally sell to the highest bidder.

They are now advancing almost unchecked towards their economic goals. These goals are to not pay their fair share of taxes, to eliminate government regulations that limit their ability to drive up profits at the expense of workers and the environment, and to cancel union organizing. The oligarchs seem to be winning.

Their agenda demands blaming the usual scapegoats for the chronic failures of our economic model. Then it depends on the manipulation and deception of basic employment and poverty figures reported by whatever administration is in power.

For example, the statement below is from the White House website this month by President Biden:

“Today we learned that our private sector has recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, and added jobs on top of that. This is the fastest and strongest job recovery in American history, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the decisive action my administration took last year to fix a broken COVID response and enact the US bailout to get our economy back on track.”

The federal government relies on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to report unemployment and poverty figures.

June 2022 unemployment rate: 3.6%

Percentage of American families below the federal poverty line in 2020: 11.4%

More accurate methods

However, there are more accurate methods for reporting unemployment numbers and the economic realities weighing on the vast majority of American workers, especially minorities:

Ludwig Institute for Shared Prosperity

A compelling organization is the Ludwig Institute for Shared Prosperity (LISEP). Their economists measure the unemployment rate by the percentage of the American labor force that is “functionally unemployed”.

Using data compiled by the BLS, LISEP tracks the percentage of the working population that is not working full time (35 hours per week) but wants one or does not earn a living wage calculated at $20,000 per week. year before taxes. The $20,000 number is surprisingly low considering what is needed to lead a moderate life in most states.

Actual LISEP unemployment rate in June 2022: 22.1%

Shadow Government Stats

Shadow Government Statistics (SGS) also measures unemployment from monthly BLS numbers designated as U-6. U-6 includes short-term discouraged workers, marginally attached workers, and forced part-time workers added to the standard unemployment rate of U-3. U-3 is the most reported number in mainstream media despite its obvious inaccuracies.

U-6 is a relatively closer approximation of the unemployed, but still clearly incomplete in the totals. This is the result of the BLS’s inexplicable removal of the long-term unemployed category from its calculations in 1994.

However, SGS adds these numbers into this category in U-6 and the results are striking.

Shadow states alternative unemployment in June 2022: 24.3%

Limited assets, limited income, employee

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) studies the number of poor families below and just above the BLS poverty income line. These families cannot afford housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care and technology.

Percentage of American families living in poverty, according to ALICE, as of June 2022: 49%


Our economic model fails a significant part of the middle class and the working class. Political strategies and tactics must be implemented to move towards a democratic model and improve the current state of the economy.

This approach must tap into our many spiritual and secular resources. It must address the deplorable disparities in income and wealth, and the accompanying impoverishment of much of the working population. A refreshing start would be to report the real numbers of employment and poverty rather than the predictable misrepresentations that are regularly distributed. Numbers matter.

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