Dr. Fitrakis Speaks At Community Leaders Forum “Capitalism: A Love Story”

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus
93 West Weisheimer Road
Columbus, OH 43214-2544

On Friday, April 2, 7:30 PM, Dr. Robert Fitrakis, Editor, The Columbus Free Press, and Professor, Columbus State Community College, will lead a discussion of the film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” The film will be shown, starting at 7:30PM, with the discussion of the film to follow. The showing and the following discussion are both free and open to the broad Columbus community.

Here are some key facts given emphasis within the film: Ronald Reagan opposed workers’ rights. During the Reagan administration, major corporations laid off tens of thousands of American workers while making enormous profits. “Since 1980, 2 million workers have been cut from the U.S. manufacturing payroll. Millions more have accepted – or been forced to accept – reductions in earnings.” As productivity increased, from 1980 to the
present, working people’s wages remained essentially frozen.

The richest had their taxes cut in half. The top marginal rate decreased from 70% in 1980 to 28% in 1989. Historical marginal tax rate tables are posted on the website of the Tax Policy Center. By 2008, total household debt grew to nearly one hundred percent of the GDP. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis provides data on household
debt and on GDP. The stock market rose enormously from the time of Reagan’s election to the present. CEOs pay increased greatly from the time of Reagan’s election to the present.

According to Fortune magazine, GM made $4.86 billion in profit in 1989, while laying off over 40,000 workers. In Germany, unions help hire and fire the board of directors so the workers have a say in what’s going on.

Shortly before Christmas 2008, Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors fired its entire unionized workforce of over 250 people, giving them only three days notice, and failing to pay legally required vacation
and severance pay.

Purchasing life insurance policies on non-essential employees is a common corporate practice, one referred to in the insurance industry as “Dead Peasants” insurance. Citigroup’s research department wrote three memos for investors concluding that wealth and power in the U.S. were increasingly concentrated in the hands of the top 1%, stating the top 1% of the population now have more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined.

New York Times, April 24, 2009: “Although the average person has never heard of it, MERS – short for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems – holds 60 million mortgages on American homes, through a legal maneuver that has saved banks more than $1 billion over the last decade but made life maddeningly difficult for some troubled homeowners.

The FBI warned of an approaching “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. CNN, September 17, 2004: “Rampant fraud in the mortgage industry has increased so sharply that the FBI warned Friday of an ‘epidemic’ of financial crimes which, if not curtailed, could become ‘the next S&L crisis.'” The FBI says that 80% of the mortgage fraud was induced by
the banks, not the individuals seeking loans.

Rocky Mountain News: “The FBI report said research indicates that 80 percent of mortgage fraud nationwide ‘involves collaboration or collusion by industry insiders.'”

Again, this film showing is free and open to all. Dr. Fitrakis will discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affecting the ability of corporations to finance political contests within America. If related information is desired, please contact the Church Office at (614) 296-6304.

With Sincere Regard,

Earl Wurdlow, Facilitator
Community Leaders Forum