Notes on US history for Dummies

9 Jul

We need a system of social democracy that will 1. end militarism 2. fight unemployment and 3. will create A LIVING WAGE law throughout all 50 states. Capitalism, Marx claimed, was predicated on the exploitation of the workers, ie Cheap labor. He seems to have made that point correctly.

We ask, Why is there poverty in America, the richest economy on earth?
Why did we have no mandatory health insurance, until the advent of Obama?
Why do we keep having year after dreary year of pointless wars?

Is LABOR America’s problem? Apparently it is! The average worker during the Eisenhower fifties earned only 150 percent of what the average minimum wage recipient earned. To create a class of dumbed -down workers may be the strategy of America, which now ranks 16th in the world, in terms of higher education attainment by the youth of this country. This is atrocious.

It is all, I believe, part of the Capitalist strategy.

In other words, 250 percent. But the Federal min wage was $1 an hour in 1955.

Levittown, 1949, Long Island. **A worker made only 150 percent of the minimum wage, as this book proves.

$6900 , 2.5 years wages = one house.

$2760 av. Wage in 1949

Notes on US history for Dummies

by Steve Wiegand

On capitalism.

Walter Lippmann, Harvard University-

“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

From 1859 to 1899 , US mfg rose 600 percent.
Carnegie made $447 million.

But in 1900, the average wage of $400 to $500 a week, was $100 less than a decent standard of living, proving that ‘Capitalism does mean, the exploitation of the workers.’

Wages keep them in a kind of slavery.

Government bonds and stocks. Securities= debt.

The bankers want you to invest not to save.

Capital, industries and retailers.

Lower prices.

Tariffs, bank panics, civil service reform.

Populism of William Jennings Bryan (religious nut).

Muckrakers of the late 19th century.

The author Mark Twain, the industrialist Carnegie and the labor union leader Gompers were opposed to McKinley and Roosevelt’s colonialist actions.

“The progressives” were a group of reformers.

Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair.
Achievements of the ‘age of reform”: Election reform, meat inspection act, pure food and drug act, bank and beef monopolies investigated, The federal reserve was instituted, and the popular direct election of Senators.
Reporters working for Joseph Pulitzer of the NY World exposed underbelly of NY city.

The 16th amendment, progressive tax

1 percent on $4,000 income

2 percent on $20,000 income or above.

Labor shortages drove up wages and prices.

Hoover wanted to eliminate poverty.

US mfg output rose 60 percent during the ‘Roaring Twenties.’

1923, 8 hour workday.

1940, 40 hour workweek. Legislation was passed by both houses of Congress.

1929, 50 percent of the population in the USA lived at the poverty-rate.

1932, the average farmer made $80 a year during the Great Depression.

Unions emerged during the 1930’s.

p. 246, US history for dummies

1929, The Great Depression:

1.Stocks’ value plunged

2.too many people borrowed money to buy stocks

3.Banks made bad loans to farmers

4.The big banks made loans to foreign nations, so that they could repay Great War losses.

5.The nations defaulted on their loans.

6. Banks then went bankrupt.
7.Bank closings and panics ensued.

8.Depositors lost 2.5 Billion dollars , or almost 25 percent of US GDP.

The New Deal

FDR instituted the FDIC and other reforms of ‘free-market’ capitalism.

Labor won ¾ of its strikes during the 1930’s.

Average wages rose from $24 to $46 in 1944.

Fair labor standards , 44 hour workweek.

It was proven that gov’t could be used to help people and overcome the crisis of capitalism.

1938 minimum wage was $.25 an hour.

Ave. week, one earned $17 in 1932 to $22. In 1936.

Up to $1144 a year.

In 1944, wages went up to $46: doubling what they had been 8 years earlier.

Hence, on the high end $2288 a year for forty hours of work.

Huey Long suggested that every man in Louisiana receive $2,500 a year, a homestead and a car.

1940, Congress passed legislation enacting the 40 hour workweek.


Women received $31.21 and men $54.65 for war-work in 1944.

US gov’t. spent $350 B during WW2.

Taxes and borrowing through war bonds.

A lot of money went to California.

GNP doubled from 1939 to 1945.

America won the ‘war of production.’



New Deal freeze on agri. prices, wages, rents and salaries.

FDR died in April 1945.

Postwar America.

From 1945 to 1960, GDP rose from $200 to 500 billion dollars a year.

In other words, 250 percent. But the Federal min wage was $1 an hour in 1955.

Levittown, 1949

$6900 , 2.5 years wages = one house.

$2760 av. Wage in 1949

A TV went from $500 down to $200.

McDonald’s hamburger cost $.15.

Carter, 5 percent to 14.5 percent inflation

MISERY index. Stagnation.

Gas prices rose from .40 to .70 cents.

Phony ‘oil crisis.’

Ronald Reagan, 1980’s.

Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour in 1981.

For five to six years the economy improved. But in

Oct 19, 1987, the stock market plunged 22.6 percent.

Reagan increased US from $ 900 b. debt to 3 trillion in 1990.

Spent it on the military.

Aggressive tax-cutting. Cuts in social services.

$8 in 1848 = $165 in 1999


The US dollar rose 20 5/8th times in 150 years.

.13 per year.

In 1938, .25 an hour as the minimum wage.

In 1955, $1 mim wage; in 1981, $3.35 mim wage.

From 1955 to 1981, fed mim wage rose about .12 times per year.

Goldman Sachs, today. $201,500 per employee.

Whites net worth, $113,000 median?

hispanics, $6325 net worth.

Whites on average have 17.86 times as much money as hispanics.

A male Dr. makes $200,400 per year.

A female Dr. makes $167,600 per year.

In 2012, 50 %of all US jobs pay less than $34,000 a year.

Source: Georgetown University, Dr. Edelman.

The capitalists have used the politicians to say to Labor, “Screw you.”

Today $22,000 is poverty-level for a family of 4.

The mim. wage is up 7 plus times in 55 years.
It goes up about .12 percent a year. Never enough to keep up with the rising cost of living.


Marxian theses:

1. Capitalism divides human beings into capital

or labor.

2. Labor always gets screwed unless strong union representation is fought for.

3. There is a ‘class struggle,’ of corporations, banks and capital vs. labor, the poor and others at the bottom end of the social order.

4. The economic struggle is also a political struggle.

5. Marxism entails the analysis of the social-economic order underlying the cultural and political order.

We need a social-democratic system in America, rather than what we know have: state-capitalism with a hawkish militaristic police-state.


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