How Corporate Capitalism Is Dismembering America
By Paul Buchheit /

Too many Americans are unaware of the extreme disparities that have been caused by the unregulated profit incentive of capitalism. Our winner-take-all system is flailing away at once-healthy parts of society, leaving them like withered limbs on a trembling body, even as the relative few who benefit promote the illusion of opportunity and prosperity for all. Concerned citizens armed with facts are not fooled. Instead, the more they learn the angrier they get. And as in revolutions of the past, discontent leads to change. 

Hacking Off the Poor Half of Society 

Some wealthy and uninformed individuals have referred to the lowest-income 47% of Americans as the "takers," who enjoy government benefits at the expense of the high-earning one percent. But their claim is meaningless. The total amount paid out in 'welfare' (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is less than the investment income of just three men in a single year

The monthly TANF income for a family of four is less than what the average member of the Forbes Top 20 made in one second at the office. 

The 47% don't own stocks. They don't own anything. The so-called 'takers' have ZERO wealth. The value of any assets owned by nearly half of the country is surpassed by their debt.

Slashing the Security of the Elderly 

Recipients of 'entitlements' are accused by the uninformed of getting something for nothing. The opposite is true. According to the Urban Institute, the typical two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes will receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in. Same for single males. Almost the same for single females. 

Getting something for nothing? Yes, the rich are. Tax expenditures, which are deductions and exemptions that primarily benefit the highest-earning individuals, cost about 8% of the GDP, the same percentage that goes to Social Security and Medicare. 

If just one of the tax breaks for the rich, the $113,700 cap on Payroll Tax, were eliminated, Social Security would be almost entirely funded for the next 75 years

Slicing Up Justice 

In the last few months American citizens, some of them children, have been arrested for:

Looking for Indian arrowheads on federal land. 
Throwing peanuts on the school bus. 
Lying about a home address to get the kids into a better school. 
Sitting on a milk crate.

Meanwhile, not a single banker was arrested for these actions:

HSBC Bank laundered money for Mexican drug cartels. 
Goldman Sachs designed and sold mortgage packages that were meant to fail
Bank of America and Lehman Brothers hid billions of dollars of bonuses and loans from investors.

Severing the Head from the Global Body 

If you could gather together the world's 200 richest individuals, ask each one his or her net worth, get the actual numbers from Forbes, and then add it all up, the total would be more than the total wealth of half the population of the world, 3.5 billion people

The U.S. is one of the greatest contributors to this shameful disparity. It's no coincidence that we're both the third least taxed developed country and the fourth highest in wealth inequality among all nations. It's also no surprise, with so little revenue going to the general public, that our country is the fourth worst in the overall well-being of its children.

Castrating the Taxman 

Corporations have doubled their profits and cut their taxes in half in ten years. The burden of taxes, which Oliver Wendell Holmes called the price of a "civilized society," has been shifted to workers. For every dollar of employee payroll tax paid in the 1950s corporations paid three dollars. Now it's 22 cents. 

Globalization has allowed U.S. corporations to stop paying for national defense and infrastructure and all the benefits of the U.S. legal and educational systems. All of the following companies had sizable U.S. revenues, but they claimed losses here while declaring billions of dollars of profits overseas.

-- Bank of America, with 82% of its revenue in the U.S., declared $7 billion in U.S. losses and $10 billion in foreign profits. 
-- Citigroup, with 42% of its revenue in North America (almost all U.S.), declared a $5 billion U.S. loss and a $28 billion foreign profit. 
-- Pfizer, with 40% of its revenues in the U.S., declared almost $7 billion in U.S. losses to go along with $31 billion in foreign profits. 
-- Abbott Labs, with 42% of its sales in the U.S., declared a $256 million U.S. loss and $12 billion in foreign profits. 
-- Dow Chemical, with 32% of its sales in the U.S., declared a $15 million U.S. loss against foreign profits of over $5 billion.



If there's any way capitalism can work, it has to be regulated. Otherwise greed takes over. Blind greed. The sneering head at the top of the body watches limbs being chopped off, but it doesn't seem to recognize that we're all bleeding to death.


Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (,,, and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at


3.7 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 36,160 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 15,299 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 9,599 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,432 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Why I Didn't Vote Trump or Hillary
Joe Brewer · 3,320 views today ·   This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 3,290 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 2,723 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 2,645 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 1,736 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,607 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 1,022 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 977 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 804 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 706 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 619 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 604 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 500 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 449 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 418 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 395 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
How Corporate Capitalism Is Dismembering America