Congratulations to all those at X-RAY who have brought progressive radio back to Portland!
We’re proud to join KXRY, 91.1 FM from 7 am to 9 am on weekdays.
For those of you who missed our 1,363 shows on KPOJ and 262 online broadcasts (click here to visit the archive), welcome to our community. We work for a sustainable and humane world, built through a more responsive democracy.
Three over-arching issues demand our attention.
First, the survival of every species on earth is at stake. Last May, atmospheric carbon dioxide reached 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. And the rate at which it is increasing is unprecedented. The result: rising sea levels, dying oceans, species extinction, catastrophic drought, extreme weather, and increased difficulty in feeding an already overpopulated planet. We must accelerate our shift from a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy.
Second, gross income inequality is crushing the hopes and dreams and lives of millions of Americans and millions more throughout the world. For the past 40 years, we have witnessed a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom up – from workers to a global elite. We are no longer talking about the 1%, but the .1%.
This redistribution was no accident. Those who worship “free market capitalism” engineered tax cuts for the super wealthy and large corporations, declared war on unions and deregulated the financial sector.
Corporations saw massive profits in the 1980s and used them to dole out obscene salaries to CEOs and executives and hire a legion of lobbyists to keep the system rigged in their favor.
Real wages for the rest of us have remained stagnant since the late 1970s, while the cost of everything has skyrocketed.
Consider these markers:
· In 1950, corporate income taxes made up 26.4% of the taxes collected by the federal government. In 2011, it had fallen to 7.4%.
· During this same period, personal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes increased from 51.4% to 83.8% of total tax revenue.
· In 1980, 60% of American private-sector workers had pensions. By 2006, that figure was just 10%.
· In 1950, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay in the US was 20 to 1. Today it is 354 to 1.
We must reverse this trend by fashioning progressive tax reform (that includes closing tax-haven loopholes for corporations) building strong unions, and adopting common sense regulations that protect consumers.
The minimum wage should be raised to $15 per hour. We should have “fair trade” not “free trade.”
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be strengthened and expanded.
Third, we cannot make significant progress in the first two areas, without fundamentally altering “money” and “media.” Oligarchy, corporatocracy, neo-feudalism – whatever you call it – will never be effectively challenged without reversing Citizens United or dismantling the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
We must pass a constitutional amendment that declares that “corporations are not people” and “money is not speech.”
We must bust apart the rules that allow for media consolidation.
So, we won’t do all of this by next Monday. But each day, we will add to the growing coalition that sees a strong economy, just society and sustainable world built by our values.
I am convinced that the Fox noise machine, right-wing hate radio, “Christian Nationalists,” science deniers, racists, an obstructionist Republican Party, delusional libertarians and the Koch Brothers will not win the future.
See you on the radio!