First, from Bloomberg, a story by a fellow doing quite well, thank you very much:
Gore Is Romney-Rich With $200 Million After Bush Defeat
And from Business Insider, news about others not doing as well:
The Worst Unemployment Crisis In Modern History Is Unfolding Right Now
And from the London Telegraph
, a story about a change of heart:
German euro founder calls for ‘catastrophic’ currency to be broken up
Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning that the current course is “leading to disaster”.
And back home to California, where the fruits of a clever neoliberal property tax scheme are continuing to bear fruit for the one percenters, reported by the Los Angeles Times:
Prop. 13 loophole gives edge to big players
Change of ownership, key to reassessment, is cut-and-dried for homeowners but not businesses. It means a loss of tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue.
Posted in Banksters, Class, Corpocracy, Debt, Economy, Europe, Finance, Governance, Labor, Politics, Poverty, Wealth
We open with Europe with this from the Irish Times:
IMF trims global growth forecast and warns of bumpy recovery
Warns Europe not to relax efforts to tackle debt crisis
Capital Study: Chinese Investment in Europe Hits Record High
From El País:
IMF sees Spain’s jobless rate climbing to 27 percent this year
Closer to home, there’s this From ProPublica:
FDA Let Drugs Approved on Fraudulent Research Stay on the Market
And finally this from the Sacramento Bee:
Nevada buses hundreds of mentally ill patients to cities around country
Posted in Academia, Asia, Corpocracy, Economy, Europe, Finance, Governance, Health, Labor, Politics, Poverty
From The Real News Network, host Paul Jay moderates a debate of Barack Obama’s planned Social Security cuts featuring Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Committee for Economic Development (CED) in Washington, and chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget for the eight years of the Clinton Administration. He’s pitted against one of esnl’s favorite economists, Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently a Visiting Professor of the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School University in New York.
A transcript of the debate is posted here.
We are reminded of an 8 November 1954 letter from then-President Dwight David Eisenhower to his older brother Edgar:
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H.L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
Posted in Class, Corpocracy, Culture, Deep Politics, Economy, Elders, Finance, History, Politics, Poverty, Resources, Video, Wealth
Of how many older Americans rely largely or entirely on Social Security. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Unemployment Is Really 14.3%–Not 7.6%
From the Los Angeles Times:
Budget cuts force California courts to delay trials, ax services
The courts have lost about 65% of their state general fund support in the last five years, a new study says, and the effect of the cuts is growing
From Deutsche Welle:
Risk of social unrest rises in EU
From the London Telegraph:
Helmut Kohl: I acted like a dictator to bring in the euro
Helmut Kohl, Germany’s former chancellor, has admitted that he acted like a “dictator” to bring in the single currency to the country, otherwise he “would have lost” had he held a referendum
Posted in Class, Debt, Economy, Europe, Finance, Governance, History, Labor, Law, Politics, Poverty, Wealth
From Eurostat, the latest grim unemployment numbers for both the 27-member European Union and the smaller 17-nation common currency [euro] zone, where official unemployment has hit a new high of 12 percent. Click on the image to enlarge:
From the London Telegraph:
Europe’s leaders paralysed as EMU jobless rate hits record high
Eurozone unemployment reached a record 12pc in February and looks certain to ratchet higher as fiscal cuts deepen and manufacturing continues to struggle, raising the spectre of social explosion across southern Europe
From the London Daily Mail:
U.S. sees highest poverty spike since the 1960s, leaving 50 million Americans poor as government cuts billions in spending… so does that mean there’s no way out?
From The Independent
Pregnant women ‘more likely to miscarry as result of cuts to Government spending’
Extreme poverty could be wiped out by 2030, World Bank estimates show
World Bank head speaks of ‘auspicious moment in history’ amid criticism rhetoric is not being matched with detailed policies
IMF wants faster home repossessions
Golden Dawn wants death penalty for violent migrants
From Keep Talking Greece:
German policemen at Greek airports to check travellers bound to Germany
Posted in Class, Culture, Debt, Deep Politics, Economy, Europe, Finance, Governance, Health, Hypocrisy, Intolerance, Labor, MSM, Politics, Poverty, Wealth
From Dutch public television, another stunning VPRO Backlight documentary [previously featured shows], this one exploring the dirty little corporate tricks used to avoid paying taxes:
The program notes:
“Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?” Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight director Marije Meerman (‘Quants’ & ‘Money & Speed’), takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally.
Those routes go by resounding names like ‘Cayman Special’, ‘Double Irish’, and ‘Dutch Sandwich’. A financial world operates in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy. A place where sizeable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax. The Tax Free Tour is an economic thriller mapping the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalised capitalism?
At the same time, the free online game “Taxodus” by Femke Herregraven is launched. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible.
research: William de Bruijn
camera: Jean Counet
montage: Bart van den Broek
geluid: Tim van Peppen, Benny Jansen, Joris van Ballegoijen
productie: Marie Schutgens
animaties: Bitcaves & Motoko
What becomes clear is that borders are only meaningful for the flesh-and-blood person, while they are utterly permeable for the disembodied corporate person so beloved of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Posted in Banksters, Corpocracy, Debt, Deep Politics, Economy, Finance, Governance, Law, Organized crime, Poverty, Resources, Secrecy, Video, Wealth
Latest US GDP Data Show Economy Weak at Year’s End but Corporate Profits Near Record High
Obama signs ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ written by Monsanto-sponsored senator
From World Socialist Web Site:
US food stamp use swells to a record 47.8 million
From Cornell University:
You Don’t “Own” Your Own Genes
Posted in Agriculture, Class, Corpocracy, Debt, Deep Politics, Economy, Finance, Food, Governance, Law, Poverty, Resources, Wealth
From economist Michael Hudson:
Book V of Aristotle’s Politics describes the eternal transition of oligarchies making themselves into hereditary aristocracies – which end up being overthrown by tyrants or develop internal rivalries as some families decide to “take the multitude into their camp” and usher in democracy, within which an oligarchy emerges once again, followed by aristocracy, democracy, and so on throughout history.
Debt has been the main dynamic driving these shifts – always with new twists and turns. It polarizes wealth to create a creditor class, whose oligarchic rule is ended as new leaders (“tyrants” to Aristotle) win popular support by cancelling the debts and redistributing property or taking its usufruct for the state.
Since the Renaissance, however, bankers have shifted their political support to democracies. This did not reflect egalitarian or liberal political convictions as such, but rather a desire for better security for their loans. As James Steuart explained in 1767, royal borrowings remained private affairs rather than truly public debts. For a sovereign’s debts to become binding upon the entire nation, elected representatives had to enact the taxes to pay their interest charges.
By giving taxpayers this voice in government, the Dutch and British democracies provided creditors with much safer claims for payment than did kings and princes whose debts died with them. But the recent debt protests from Iceland to Greece and Spain suggest that creditors are shifting their support away from democracies. They are demanding fiscal austerity and even privatization sell-offs.
This is turning international finance into a new mode of warfare. Its objective is the same as military conquest in times past: to appropriate land and mineral resources, communal infrastructure and extract tribute. In response, democracies are demanding referendums over whether to pay creditors by selling off the public domain and raising taxes to impose unemployment, falling wages and economic depression. The alternative is to write down debts or even annul them, and to re-assert regulatory control over the financial sector.
Read the rest.
Posted in Banksters, Class, Debt, Economy, Finance, History, Human behavior, Politics, Poverty, Resources, Warfare, Wealth
From UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian:
Berkeley Student Cooperative pushes for cuts to employee benefits
Rising Student-Loan Delinquencies Hurt Young Homebuyers
And to close on a positive note, from Science 2.o:
Pessimists Live Longer And Healthier
From a stunning and very perceptive 1999 report by Robert Fishman for Fannie Mae Housing Facts & Findings on the trends shaping of American cities, past and future.
The number one trend he saw for the first half of the 21st Century is proving right on the money:
The past 30 years have seen increasing concentrations of income and wealth at the top of the income scale, relative stagnation in the middle, and worsening poverty at the bottom. Our respondents expect this trend to continue in the next 50 years, with possible dire consequences for American cities and regions. For growing disparities in income and wealth lead inevitably to an increasingly divided metropolis. If, as our respondents believe, these growing disparities of wealth will become the most important single influence on the American metropolis in the next 50 years, some of the negative consequences are detailed in the rest of the top 10 list: a perpetual “underclass” in central cities and inner-ring suburbs and the deterioration of the “first-ring” post-1945 suburb, as the struggling portions of the middle and working classes find themselves trapped in deteriorating older suburbs. On the wealthier side of the great metropolitan divide, we are likely to see the winners in our “winner-take-all society” isolate themselves in gated communities or other exclusive preserves at the edge of the region.
Other likely trends include a home-building industry increasingly focused on high-end “trophy houses” or “tract mansions;” a similar concentration in retailing on upscale malls; office parks located near the enclaves where the top executives live-locations that often leave the bulk of the employees with long, difficult commutes; and increasing disparities between the quality of the school systems and other services in elite suburbs versus less-favored suburbs and inner cities. We are also likely to see new building focused not just on the outer edge of a region but in certain “quadrants” favored by the affluent: for example, in Washington, DC, the Northwest; in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Southwest; in Atlanta and Chicago, the North. For the affluent who choose to live in gentrified neighborhoods in central cities, the rule of isolation will also obtain, as the wealthy use the techniques of privatization, ranging from private schools to special tax-and-service districts, to insulate themselves from the urban crisis around them.
Posted in Class, Community, Corpocracy, Culture, Development, Economy, Education, Ethnicity, Finance, Governance, History, Intolerance, Labor, Politics, Poverty, Resources, Schools, Wealth
A report from The Real News Network featuring John Weeks, professor emeritus at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, and Jennifer Taub, associate professor of law at Vermont Law School.
A full transcript is posted here.
Posted in Class, Culture, Economy, Finance, Governance, History, Labor, Politics, Poverty, Public service, Video, Wealth
Talk about getting kicked while you’re down. . .
From The Truthseeker, a new feature from Russia’s RT, a distinctly downbeat and flagrantly factual account of America’s sad transformation into the basket case of the industrial West:
The greatest nation on earth (© US politicians & media) exposed as among the worst in the West… on all life indicators, why China steams ahead, plans for Land of the Tax Free + the proud record the States share with Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. Seek truth from facts with Belle Isle: Detroit’s Game Changer author Rod Lockwood, Chair of Chinese Intl. Affairs Barry Naughton, The Personality and Well-Being Lab Director Dr. Ryan Howell, Political Science Professor Joseph Cheng, and Fox host Bill O’Reilly.
From The Real News Network, a Paul Jay interview with Sasha Breger Bush, lecturer at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She describes her specialty as “International political economy, development studies, global financial markets, food and farming, and political theory.
A transcript of the discussion is posted here.
Posted in Agriculture, Banksters, Class, Debt, Development, Economy, Finance, Governance, Politics, Poverty, Resources, Video, Wealth
From UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, fresh proof [PDF] that what was financial crisis for the rest of us was a gold opportunity for those at the top, siphoning off the dwindling wealth of the mass for the private profit of the few. Click on the image to enlarge:
In one of his best episodes yet, Max exposes the confidence game that is quantitative easing after a delightful little excursion into the surrealism of modern banking praxis with co-host and inamorata Stacy Herbert.
The program notes:
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss Ben ‘Horror Frog’ Bernanke ripping the legs off the global reserve currency in order to defend itself from deflation, while in Europe, the Magritte and Dali of policymakers worry not about bankruptcy as long as the fraud flow fees keep flowing, or F-cubed. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Simon Rose of SaveOurSavers.co.uk about his recent experience giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee and about the moochers living on the dole of quantitative easing while the Bank of England sits on one third of the stock of gilts with a ‘cunning’ plan to sell them one day and theoretically make a profit.
Posted in Banksters, Class, Corpocracy, Crime, Debt, Economy, Europe, Finance, Governance, Hypocrisy, Idiocy, Labor, Politics, Poverty, Resources, Video, Wealth
Here’s the quote:
Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned with only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production
It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes—that is the majority—as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair…
The failure of the regime in the Soviet Union was, for me not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism.
So who said it?
The perhaps surprising answer after the jump. Continue reading
From Daily Kos Labor:
More than 40% of Americans are one crisis and less than 90 days from poverty