Economic news Essays Wall Street
GREEN BOYCOTT LIST
THE CONSUMERIST GUIDE TO FIGHTING BACK
FTC DO NOT CALL REGISTRY
JOINT CENTER FOR POLITICAL & ECONOMIC STUDIES
MULTINATIONAL MONITOR ENRON SITE
PUBLIC INFORMATION NETWORK
PRJCT ON CORPORATIONS, LAW & DEMOCRACY
STUDENT ALLIANCE TO REFORM CORPORTATONS
UNITED STUDENTS AGAINST SWEATSHOPS
WORLD BANK BOYCOTT
Plunder: The Crime of Our Time: The criminal side of the financial crisis
'Inside Job', out on DVD now and Oscar winner for Best Documentary, about the greedy reckless criminal behavior of financial firms and the deregulation under Reagan, Clinton, & Bush II that caused the 2008 economic meltdown. It's entertaining & easily understandable, and you'll get pissed off, especially at Obama, who hired Wall St. insiders (Geithner, Summers, etc.) who were responsible for the mess. -Scott McLarty
Get Up, Stand Up - A guide to taking on the corporatocracy.
The Corporate Whistleblower's Survival Guide: From Erin Brockovich to Enron, whistleblowers who challenge abuses of power that betray the public trust have proven to be a necessity in modern business culture. Recent federal legislation in finance and health reform have cemented legal protections and mechanisms for whistleblowing. This book provides a thorough guide and history to the whistleblower's legal rights. With extensive legal texts, sample letters, resources, and information on upcoming whistleblower reforms.
The Monster: How A Gang Of Predatory Lenders And Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America And Spawned A Global Crisis
FROM OUR OVERSTOCKED ARCHIVES
PSALM OF THE FAST LANE
SAM SMITH, 1986
The Lord is my mentor; I shall want it all.
He feedeth me in world-class restaurants and leadeth me beside the sparkling mineral waters.
He restoreth my house and bringeth me in the path of good access.
Yea, though I jog through the valley of the shadow of high rises I shall fear no viable competition; thy clout and thy bottom line shall comfort me.
He shall prepare a game plan against mine enemies, and shall bloweth dry my head and my Volvo shall runneth over to Bloomingdales.
Surely perks and power lunches shall follow me all the days of my life and 1 shall dwell in an upscale neighborhood forever and ever.
For thine is the power and the glory -
But not for long, sucker. I'm right behind you.
The worlds top 100 billionaires now hold so much wealth, says a new Oxfam report, that just the increase in their net worth last year would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.
The real person of the year
Senator Bernie Sanders: 93% of all new income generated between 2009 and 2010 went to the top 1%.
Corporations are people
CORPORATE HYPOCRITE OF THE DAY
Twenty-five of the 100 highest paid U.S. CEOs earned more last year than their companies paid in federal income tax. The Institute for Policy Studies said it also found many of the companies spent more on lobbying than they did on taxes.
Sell an ounce of cocaine and you go to jail, Wachovia launders $378 billion in drug money and pays fines that are less than interest earned on held money. - Mrkuder
In the 1950s the share of U.S. taxes paid by corporations was 30 percent of federal revenue.In 2009 it was 7%
By one measure, for about every $40 in assets, the nations five largest investment banks had only $1 in capital to cover losses, meaning that a 3 percent drop in asset values could have wiped out the firm.- NY Times
General Motors has joined General Electric as a major foreign corporation, having sold more cars and trucks last year in China than in the U.S. Some of these cars and trucks were made in China. GM also has a factory in India.
Question of the day: Punk Patriot: If corporations are people, does that make shareholders slaveowners? Shouldn't that be challanged on the grounds of the 13th amendment?
GREAT THOUGHTS OF ALAN GREENSPAN: We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve System chair at board of governor's meeting, March 16, 2004
Tom Ely, World Socialist - In 1970, fresh from the Masters program of the Harvard Business School, Paulson entered the Nixon administration, working first as staff assistant to the assistant secretary of defense. In 1972-73, Paulson worked as office assistant to John Erlichman, assistant to the president for domestic affairs. Erlichman was one of the key figures involved in organizing President Richard Nixon's notorious "plumbers" unit that carried out illegal covert operations against the president's political opponents, including espionage, blackmail, and revenge. Ehlichman resigned in 1973, and in 1975 he was convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury, and conspiracy, and was imprisoned for 18 months.
Utilizing his connections, Paulson went to work for Goldman Sachs in 1974. In a 2007 feature, the British newspaper the Guardian wrote, "Not only was he well connected enough to get the job [in the Nixon White House], but well connected enough to resign in the thick of the Watergate scandal without ever getting caught up in the fallout. He went straight to Goldman back home in Illinois."
Paulson rose through the ranks of Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner in 1982, co-head of investment banking in 1990, chief operating officer in 1994. In 1998 he forced out his co-chairman Jon Corzine "in what amounted to a coup," according to New York Times economics correspondent Floyd Norris, and took over the post of CEO.
Goldman Sachs is perhaps the single best-connected Wall Street firm. Its executives routinely go in and out of top government posts. Corzine went on to become US senator from New Jersey and is now the state's governor. Corzine's predecessor, Stephen Friedman, served in the Bush administration as assistant to the president for economic policy and as chairman of the National Economic Council. Friedman's predecessor as Goldman Sachs CEO, Robert Rubin, served as chairman of the NEC and later treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.
Agence France Press, in a 2006 article on Paulson's appointment, "Has Goldman Sachs Taken Over the Bush Administration?" noted that, in addition to Paulson, "the president's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Jeffery Reuben, are Goldman alumni."
"But the flow goes both ways," the article continued, "Goldman recently hired Robert Zoellick, who stepped down as the US deputy secretary of state, and Faryar Shirzad, who worked as one of Bush's national security advisors.". . .
Paulson, according to a celebratory 2006 Business Week article entitled "Mr. Risk Goes to Washington," was "one of the key architects of a more daring Wall Street, where securities firms are taking greater and greater chances in their pursuit of profits." Under Paulson's watch, that meant "taking on more debt: $100 billion in long-term debt in 2005, compared with about $20 billion in 1999. It means placing big bets on all sorts of exotic derivatives and other securities."
According to the International Herald Tribune, Paulson "was one of the first Wall Street leaders to recognize how drastically investment banks could enhance their profitability by betting with their own capital instead of acting as mere intermediaries." Paulson "stubbornly [asserted] Goldman's right to invest in, advise on and finance deals, regardless of potential conflicts.". . .
ARS TECHNICA - After commissioning a 2005 study from LEK Consulting that showed collegiate file-swappers were responsible for 44 percent of movie studio "losses" to piracy, the MPAA then used the report it bought to bludgeon Congress into considering legislation to address this massive problem. Now the MPAA admits that the report's conclusions weren't even close to being right; collegiate piracy accounts for only 15 percent of "losses." Oops. And that's assuming you believe the rest of the data.
STUDY: WAL MART REDUCES NATIONAL WAGES $4.5 BILLION A YEAR
Retail workers in the U.S. are making $4.5 billion less each year due to Wal-Mart's presence, according to a new study by the University of California's Center for Labor Research and Education.
The study focuses on stores that opened between 1992 and 2000 and concludes, "Opening a single Wal-Mart store lowers the average retail wage in the surrounding county between 0.5 and 0.9 percent."
Wal-Mart's presence pushes down wages in two ways. "First is the substitution effect: a new Wal-Mart store replaces better paying jobs with lower-paying ones," the authors explain. "A second factor is competition: Wal-Mart pushes down wages in competing businesses."
Not only did Wal-Mart lower average wage rates, but "every new Wal-Mart in a county reduced the combined or aggregate earnings of retail workers by around 1.5 percent." Because this number is higher than the reduction in average wages, it indicates that Wal-Mart not only lowered pay rates, but also reduced the total number of retail jobs. That finding is consistent with a major study published earlier this year that found that the opening of a Wal-Mart store causes a net loss of about 150 retail jobs.
"At the national level, our study concludes that in 2000, total earnings of retail workers nationwide were reduced by $4.5 billion due to Wal-Mart's presence," they find.
Most of these losses were concentrated in metropolitan areas. Although Wal-Mart is often associated with rural areas, three-quarters of the stores it built in the 1990s were in metropolitan counties.
Another new study from the UC Center for Labor Research and Education indicates that Wal-Mart could substantially raise its workers' earnings, particularly those living at or near poverty, with little impact on most shoppers. "Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart" analyzes the effects of instituting a $10 minimum wage at Wal-Mart. More than half of the retailer's employees (56%) currently earn less than $10 an hour.
"We find that 46.3 percent of the pay increase would go to workers in families with total incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level," the study finds. "These poor and low-income workers could expect to earn an additional $1,020 to $4,640 a year."
STUDY: CORPORATIONS SEEK SUCK-UP DIRECTORS, PUNISH THOSE WHO DO THEIR JOB
CNN - The most sought-after corporate board members are those who curry favor with fellow directors, not those who are active in standing up for shareholders, a new academic study has concluded. . . The study by business professors James Westphal of the University of Michigan and Ithai Stern of Northwestern University suggests that directors - who are supposed to be watchdogs for shareholders - still are not independent enough. . .
"Our findings indicate that directors who engage in monitoring and control behavior are effectively punished in the director labor market," Westphal and Stern wrote. "They are less likely to be selected onto additional boards, and thus they are less likely to become central in the board network" that exists throughout corporate America.