This story is from the Fall 2011 Newsletter. Click here to view the newsletter.
CMAW members were present at the 5,000-strong rally in Vancouver on October 15. But the tent city occupation at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia St. and Howe St. downtown in support of the New York occupation is still going on. Please take some time to drop by and say hello.
The truth is it is working people, not the rich or banks or big corporations, that drive our economy and create markets for jobs. In addition to creating all of the wealth via our work, workers also account for most of the non-profit investment of consumer and tax dollars that keep our economies going. And the poorer we get the less we can spend and the worse our economy will get—and the sad fact is, most of us are getting poorer, while a privileged elite is sucking up ever more at our expense.
The Occupy Wall Street movement expresses an underlying desire for fairness and equality in the economy and our society. Here are five big reasons for people in British Columbia to support Occupy Wall Street.
1. The gap is growing, fast
The gap between the rich and everyone else is growing faster in Canada than almost everywhere else in the developed world. According to the Conference Board of Canada, our income gap has been growing faster than the United States since the mid 1990's.
2. Corporate profits are way up. Corporate taxes are way down.
Corporate profits quadrupled in BC in the 1990s and doubled again in the 2000s. On top of increasing pre-tax profits, corporations are paying less tax than ever. Tax cuts since 2001 have robbed public services of more than 12 billion dollars combined.
3. The wealthiest 1% are richer than ever
In the last ten years, the wealthiest 1% have had an average pay hike of over 200,000, or a whopping 36%. PLUS, tax cuts in BC alone put an average of 41,000 more a year in their pockets. That's right, because of the BC Liberals, the wealthiest one per cent are saving more in taxes than the combined annual salary of two minimum wage earners.
4. You aren't richer than you think
Since 1980, real wages have stagnated as the cost of living has increased—and this includes the construction sector. Low interest rates and easy credit allowed people to keep spending, but now most of us are carrying huge debt. On top of that, we are paying more in regressive fees like MSP premiums and unfair sales taxes (like the HST). This year, families paid more in MSP premiums than corporations paid in BC Income tax.
5. Corporations are holding cash, not investing in jobs
Despite benefiting from record profits in the last 10 years and massive tax cuts, corporations in BC aren't investing in our economy. In fact, investment in machinery and equipment is down 20 per cent from historical averages as a percentage of our economy.
Meanwhile the tents are still up. Please take some time to drop by and say hello.
Thanks to the BC Federation of Labour for this information.