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The Progressive Review

AN ONLINE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE NEWS & INFORMATION

  
SINCE 1964, THE NEWS WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

\Economic Undernews

Labor
Housing and foreclosures
Wall Street and banks

TOPICS
Books
Corporados
Debt
Essays
Housing and foreclosures
Links
Just the facts
Middle class
Pocket paradigms
Poverty
Small business
Social Security
Stats
Wall Street and banks
Words
 

ESSAYS

Confessions of a vision impaired stakeholder with dubious management practices embarking on an ill-defined mission

Some ways to occupy our future...and our economy

BAD ADVICE AND THE FINANCIAL CRASH

WHY IS AIG SO IMPORTANT?

WHY NOT A PUBLIC OPTION IN BANKING?

THE SAVINGS & LOAN BAILOUT

NUMBER BUNCHING: WHAT THINGS COST

BAD ADVICE & THE FINANCIAL CRASH

HOLISTIC ECONOMICS

BORN AGAIN ECONOMICS

WHAT BANKS, ACADEMICS, THE MEDIA AND POLITICIANS DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT MONEY

PRINTING MONEY

ALTERNATIVE CURRENCY

WHAT A REAL STIMULUS MIGHT LOOK LIKE

ALL PUBLIC WORKS ARE NOT THE SAME

HOW BUSINESS SCHOOLS HURT AMERICA'S ECONOMY

SHORT HISTORY OF THE ECONOMIC AMERICAN

THE CORPORATE CURSE

STATS

GETTING BETTER

2013

Housing

New home sales highest since 2008

Housing starts largest since 2006

Homelssness down from 2007

Mortgage delinquencies decline

Homes with indoor plumbing up from 55% in 1940s to 99% now

GETTING WORSE

2013

@SenSanders - The US has seen the loss of more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and the closure of more than 60,000 factories since 2000.

From the Economic Collapse Blog

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.

Today, approximately 20 percent of all children in the United States are living in poverty. Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

29 percent of all African-American households with children are dealing with food insecurity.

The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million. That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

There are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

About 40 percent of all unemployed workers in America have been out of work for at least half a year.

One out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even include Social Security or Medicare.

An all-time record 48 million Americans are now on food stamps. Back when Barack Obama first took office, that number was only sitting at about 32 million.

According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."

Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, close to one out of every six Americans is on food stamps. More than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

MORE STATS

Self employed at all time low

During recovery, wealth at top went up 28% while rest went down 4%

Bottom 90% earning only $59 more than in 1966

The collapse of America (in two charts)

57% report less than $25,000 in savings

MISERY INDEX BY PRESIDENT

CHART OF FEDERAL DEBT RELATIVE TO GDP FROM 1900 ON


Back to the 1920s

In 1989, the median American household made $51,681 in current dollars (the 2012 number, again, was $51,017). That means that 24 years ago, a middle class American family was making more than the a middle class family was making one year ago.

FILMS

Heist

Six good movies about the financial crisis

Inside Job: Dissecting the 2008 fiscal disaster

A video that every boss should be required to watch

JUST THE FACTS

LINKS

Where the Great Recession really began: Part II

Where the Great Recession really began: Part 1

COMMUNITY CURRENCY
BERKSHARES

EF SCHUMACHER SOCIETY

CONSUMERS

THE CONSUMERIST GUIDE TO FIGHTING BACK

HOW TO ESCAPE CORPORATE PHONE HELL & SPEAK TO A LIVE PERSON

OTHER WAYS TO REACH A LIVE PERSON

STILL MORE HUMAN CODES

PUBLIC CITIZEN

PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP

RIP OFF REPORT

SPY CHIPS

TRANS-ATLANTIC CONSUMER DIALOGUE

WHO'S OUTSOURCING IN YOUR STATE

COOPERATIVES

NATIONAL COOPERATIVE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
CO-OP AMERICA
NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSN
NORTH AMERICAN STUDENTS OF COOPERATION

CORPORATE PERSONHOOD
COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

CREDIT UNIONS
NAT FED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CREDIT UNIONS

ECONOMICS
BINARY ECONOMICS
CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JOBS & INCOME SUPPORT

CENTER FOR ECONOMIC & POLICY RESEARCH
CENSUS DATA
COMMUNITY INVESTING
COOP AMERICA
ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE

ECONOMIC STATS
FINANCIAL MARKETS CENTER
FUCKED COMPANY

GREEN ECONOMICS
GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE CURRENCIES

INEQUALITY
INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL SELF RELIANCE

INVEST-IN PROJECT
JOINT CENTER FOR POLITICAL & ECONOMIC  STUDIES
MIDDLEBURY ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JOBS & INCOME SUPPORT
NATIONAL COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT
  COALITION
NEW ECONOMICS INSTITUTE
NATIONAL JOBS FOR ALL COALITION
NATIONAL JUSTICE FOR ALL COALITION
NEW ECONOMICS FOUNDATION

POST-AUTISTIC ECONOMICS
RAINBOW/PUSH
REDEFINING PROGRESS
REINVENTING MONEY

SHAREHOLDER ACTION
TEMPS
TOO MUCH
TRUE MAJORITY
TWO ECONOMIC VISIONS

UNITED FOR A FAIR ECONOMY
WAL-MART WORKERS
WHERE WOULD JESUS BANK?

EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP
NATIONAL CENTER FOR EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP
SHARED CAPITALISM INSTITUTE

DATA
CENSUS DATA
ECONOMIC STATS
MARKETING CLICHES BY ZIP

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT CALCULATOR

FOOD
AGRI SURF

CORPORATE AGRICULTURE RESEARCH PROJECT
FARM SUBSIDY DATABASE

FOOD RESEARCH & ACTION CENTER
FOODSPEAK
OREGON FARM WORKERS
ORGANIC CONSUMERS

ORGANIC FARMING RESEARCH FOUNDATION
NAT COALITON AGAINST MISUSE OF PESTICIDES
PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK

RURAL ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION INTL
RURAL COALITION

SUSTAINABLE FARMING CONNECTIONS
UNITED FARM WORKERS

INFO
BUR OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ECONOMIC CLOCK
INFLATION CALCULATOR
SALARY CHECKER
STOCK MARKET CHARTS

WALL ST RESEARCH

LIVING WAGE
ACORN
BRENNAN CENTER
COALITION ON HUMAN NEEDS

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

MEDIA

Gar Alperovitz
Dean Baker
Center for New Economics
Ctr for Economic & Policy Reseach
Dirt Diggers Digest
Economic Policy Institute
Fed Up
Naked Capitalism
Real World Economics Review
Robert Reich

MONEY
REINVENTING MONEY

POOR
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Center for Community Change

Center for Law and Social Policy

Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s HealthWatch

Coalition on Human Needs

First Focus


Food Research and Action Center

Half In Ten

Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Legal Momentum LIFT


National Council on Aging National Council of La Raza

National Employment Law Project

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Partnership for Women and Families

National Women’s Law Center

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Results

Spotlight on Poverty

Witnesses to Hunger/Center for Hunger-Free Communities

SMALL BUSINESS
SMALL BUSINESS NEWS

STEADY STATE ECONOMICS
CTR FOR ADVANCEMENT OF STEADY STATE ECONOMY

TAXES
TAX JUSTICE USA

TIME BANKS
Getting a time bank started

USURY
TEN PERCENT IS ENOUGH

WEALTH
RICHEST ZIP CODES

WORK
HOW TO NEGOTIATE YOUR SALARY
WORKING CLASS STUDIES


BOOKS

America Beyond Capitalism

People Helping People: A History of the Maine Credit Union Movement

The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive is a new book by Dean Baker, one of the wisest voices in poitical journalism today. You can get a free download here

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. Robert Reich explains what's really happened to the American economy

There's No Such Thing as a Free Market

Plunder: The Crime of Our Times - Investigative film by Danny Schechter explores how the financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity. Schechter speaks with bankers involved in these activities, respected economists, insider experts, top journalists including Paul Krugman, and onvicted white-collar criminal, Sam Antar, who blows the whistle on intentionally dishonest practices.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us by John Quiggin. "In “Zombie Economics”, Professor Quiggin takes aim at a number of “dead” ideas – the Great Moderation; Efficient Markets Hypotheses; Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium; Trickle Down Economics; Privatisation. The central thesis underlying “Zombie Economics” is that the global financial crisis exposed the weaknesses of these ideas, which underpin free market or neo-liberal economics.

Five books on the Mondragon cooperatives: A review

Winner Take All Politics: How the super rich got so much richer

Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer

All the Devils are Here: the housing market and Wall Street and what happened

WORDS

The reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars — unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. -Bernie Sanders

There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by…corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses. - James Madison

Corporate profits at 85 year high; wages at 65 year low

Popular Resistance - Corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.

Before taxes, corporate profits accounted for 12.5 percent of the total economy, tying the previous record that was set in 1942, when World War II pushed up profits for many companies. But in 1942, most of those profits were taxed away. The effective corporate tax rate was nearly 55 percent, in sharp contrast to last year’s figure of under 20 percent.

The trend of higher profits and lower effective taxes has been gaining strength for years, but really picked up after the Great Recession temporarily depressed profits in 2009. The effective rate has been below 20 percent in three of the last five years. Before 2009, the rate had not been that low since 1931.

A few reasons that anti-poverty programs work

The War on Poverty succeeded in reducing the poverty rate by one-third, from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent in 2012

Far from serving a static underclass of the perpetually poor, safety net programs benefit the majority of Americans—70 percent—at some point in their lives

Safety net programs boost economic mobility, making poor children more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and enter the middle class

Poverty costs the U.S. economy more than $500 billion every year, the result of low productivity, poor health, and high levels of crime and incarceration

@SenSanders - A record breaking 46.5 million Americans lived in poverty last year


I AM ECO WARRIOR

Why a guaranteed income makes sense

IMF finally discovers that inequality isn't good for economy

Huffington Post - Income inequality can lead to slower or less sustainable economic growth, while redistribution of income, when measured, does not hurt and can even help an economy, IMF staff found in a research study.

Although the study by International Monetary Fund economists does not reflect the Fund's official position, it is another sign of a shift in its thinking about income disparity.

"It would still be a mistake to focus on growth and let inequality take care of itself, not only because inequality may be ethically undesirable but also because the resulting growth may be low and unsustainable," according to the study.

The IMF analyzes the economies of each of its 188 member countries and offers advice on government budget and monetary policies. It is also a lender of last resort, tasked with supporting global financial stability.

It has traditionally advised countries to promote growth and reduce debt, but has not explicitly focused on income inequalities. But in the past year, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that creating economic stability is impossible without also addressing inequality.

Oxfam, the international development group, has long argued that organizations like the IMF need to address rising gaps between the rich and poor, and stop encouraging low public spending.

"In the bad old days, the IMF asked governments to cut public spending and taxes," said Nicolas Mombrial, the head of Oxfam's Washington office. "We hope this research and Christine Lagarde's recent statements are a sign that they are changing their tune."


WORKING MAINE

Postal banking works

How computers contributed to the decline of the middle class

The role of free trade in income inequality

Tennessee governor urges two free years of community college and technical school

2013

What happens in Davos should stay in Davos (along with those who go there)

Swiss banks want amnesty for helping US citizens avoid taxes

Why America's obsession with growth doesn't work

China doubles investment in U.S.

How’s your GDP today?

Well paying American service jobs being off shored

America's 40 year slump

The long term disaster of austerity politics

Why a little inflation is a good thing in times like this

Economists confuse greed with intelligence

Growing number of Americans feel they'll have to work until they're in the 80s . . .or until they die

Some well working cooperatives

According to a Brookings Institution’s survey, more than a quarter of Americans say capitalism is working “not too well” while 16% say capitalism is working “not at all well.”

Some ways to democratize the economy

Capital's income soars as rest of country's goes down

The sickest article we've read in a long time

Middle class has declined with fall of union membership

17 states rejecting up to 80% of new welfare applicants

Some reasons our economy is such a mess

The economy Washington and the media refuse to face

Germany produces twice as many cars as U.S. with workers paid twice as much

Why the GDP is obsolete

Hillary Clinton gets around campaign spending laws by huge fees for speeches

Organizing without a union

Big banks trying to screw credit unions

Koch brother wants to get rid of minimum wage

Why is Obama keeping his planned anti-American trade agreement secret?

American capitalists have screwed you; time to talk cooperatives

American households have regained less than half of wealth lost during recession

Austerity leads to record unemployment in Europe

Pope attacks "dictatorship of the economy"

Corporate lobbyists getting big bonuses for hacking into government

The corporate civil war against the First American Republic

Sale of Bentleys soar as economy stalls

California Attorney General Sues J.P. Morgan Over Alleged 'Fraudulent and Unlawful Debt-Collection Practices'

OREGONIAN FINDS JPMORGAN CHASE MEMO ON HOW TO SNEAK IN SUBPRIME LOANS

The Supreme Court hasn't been this pro-business since the 40s

What austerity cost

Young Americans still slammed by recession

Department of Good Stuff: The student who tackled the austerians
 
Having just a few companies control an industry isn't competition, it's oligarchy
 
Economic crashes that are happening right now
 
How Germany does better with employment
 
How the FDIC plans to steal your money to bail out banks

NPR exposes con behind Clinton's welfare attack

Case for a steady state economy

Bernanke won't say he won't seize some of your bank funds

American social mobility is a myth

Occupy Wall Street eliminates over $1 milion in debt for 1,000 people

Steelworkers pushing co-ops

Walmart Sales Are A 'Total Disaster'

The real story of social welfare

The real story of the recession

The Richest 1 Percent Have Captured 121 Percent Of Income Gains During The Recovery

George Will & Sherrod Brown agree it's time to break up the big banks

Constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood introduced

David Cobb talks about the fight against corporate personhood

Debtor prisons still surviving

The world’s 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.”

Eight chains that will close the most stores this year

Austerity through a ten year old's eyes

Made in America making it

Corporate profits have soared under Obama

2012..

The most underreported fact from the cliff

Chile, Mexico, Turkey only developed countries more economically unequal than U.S.

Dream fades for Gen Y professionals

Mr. Incompetent still messing up our finances


LA PROGRESSIVE

Not all box stores are run the same way

Number of Families Struggling to Afford Rent Rises Sharply

Why the Madoff scheme didn't have to happen .

The gap in the Queen City

A cheap way to to get rid of debt: buy it

US has had the best economic recovery of any nation

Who's better at handling the economy?

@HarpersIndex - Amount by which the average Canadian household is richer than the average American one: $43,232

The economic cost of anti-immigration policies

America is so competing globally

Degrowth movement growing

As unions decline, so does the middle class

New Balance: the last shoe maker in US fights against new trade agreement

American corporation to privatize three Honduran cities

Earth’s richest 1,000 control as much wealth as poorest 2.5 billion

Most unequal wealth and income distribution since the 1920s

The Justice Department had more people investigating Roger Clemens lying to Congress than investigating the financial system

Nation's kids big victims of austerity politics

How to set up your own offshore account

People losing homes for back taxes not fully paid

Canada shows cutting taxes for corporations doesn't help economy

Most new jobs are low paying ones

Federal work program is actually a form of unconstitutional indentured servitude. . .and neither Republicans or Democrats care

A bipartisan solution to the fiscal crisis won't work because that's what caused it

US trade policy has sent 2.7 million jobs to China

Word: The fundamental problem is not government debt. Over the past few years, the budget deficit has been caused by low growth. If we focus on growth, then we get growth, and our deficit will go down. If we just focus on the deficit, we're not going to get anywhere.- Joseph Stiglitz

The new economy

Three stats that tell it all

    1. Corporate profit margins just hit an all-time high.
    2. Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades.
    3. Wages as a percent of the economy are at their lowest since 1940

Recovered history: predicting the financial disaster

Great combo: Paul Krugman and Stephen Colbert

35-44 year olds worst losers in net worth

Verizon plans to get rid of 1,700 workers so execs can continue to earn millions

Charts show how bad economy is

Tough town turns to co-ops

Why you don't have to listen to Mitt Romney about capitalism

America's war on tourists

Four things Obama could do to help the economy

LIFE IN AMERICA'S POOREST COUNTY

Word: At least they paid something for their madness

In a certain sense, wealthy people could live with a justifiable guiltlessness in “Mad Men” New York. Not because they were blind to the city’s mounting racial crisis or to the perils of smoking or sexism, but rather because, fiscally speaking, they were paying their due. In 1966, which is where the new season finds us, the federal income tax topped out at 70 percent on income over $100,000 (approximately $700,000 in present-day dollars), a figure reduced from 90 percent in a tax cut enacted two years earlier. - David Dyssegaard Kallick,Senior Fellow,Fiscal Policy Institute

Bloomberg News calls for higher minimum wage

America's soaring inequality began in the Reagan years

If America's income were evenly distributed each married couple would earn over $100K

The collapse of the pension

The original Occupier: Huey Long
More on Huey Long

17 states have introduced bills for state banks

Capital's unemployment tells an American story

Economy - not social issues - is what matters to voters

How the media fouls up budget reporting

Washington legislators considering state bank

Beyond capitalism: what's possible

Small business
BACK TO TOP

How Obamacare will hurt small businesses

2012

How small business (and its jobs) got done in

2010

Congress & Obama screw small business with an avalanche of new paperwork

Middle class
BACK TO TOP

Signs the American middle class is over

Median household wealth at lowest since 1969

Middle class has worst share of income on record

Middle class shrinking, getting poorer

Poverty
BACK TO TOP

Some folks who got food stamps

One in five American families struggling to meet basic needs

Portion of U.S. foster children who will experience homelessness by age twenty-six: one third.

Some facts about poverty

Poverty in New Jersey hits 52 year high

How Clinton and his successors hurt food stamps

More than 40% of Americans are one crisis and less than 90 days from poverty

Nearly 44 percent of Americans don't have enough savings or other liquid assets to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income.

Average household left with only $100 after normal monthly expenses

Real America: Living in the tunnnels of Las Vegas

An anti-poverty program for 2013

2012

Food stamps to be cut

Capitol's child poverty rate higher than Mexico's

Food stamp use hits record level

Senior hunger growing

From 2000 to 2010, the number of children living in poverty jumped from 12.2 million to 15.7 million, an increase of nearly 30 percent.

Report: 5.6 million have switched banks in past 90 days

Why conservative economics kills the economy

8 million children live in areas of concentrated poverty

One out of seven Americans pursued by debt collectors

One in five older Americans crimping on healthcare

Some facts about food stamps the Republicans won't tell you

15% of Americans on food stamps

Poverty moves to the suburbs in a big way

A third of American middle class has fallen out of it

Most Americans can't afford a $1,000 emergency expense

UN investigator accuses US of shameful neglect of homeless

48 million Americans live in poverty

Use of food stamps up ten percent this year

Working families heading for the soup kitchen

Debt

Cost of living to rise in 40 states due to credit card settlement

It's private, not public, debt that's the problem

Two ignored truths about public debt

Contrary to what the media has told you, Keynes was right

The debt debacle: a few things to keep in mind

Moody's suggests eliminating debt ceiling

Ten things the GOP doesn't want you to know about the debt...

Nearly two-thirds of debt ceiling rises in past 50 years have been under Republican presidents

Bookshelf: People Helping People: A History of the Maine Credit Union Movement

How Germany builds twice as many cars as U.S. and pays its workers twice as much

The safety net has worked

Why people don't trust the Fed

The military is a lousy way to create jobs

Some ways to occupy our future...and our economy

Recovered history: What Adam Smith really said

73% of boomers planning to work past retirement age

Workers with college degrees have indeed, on average, done better than workers without, and the gap has generally widened over time. But highly educated Americans have by no means been immune to income stagnation and growing economic insecurity. Wage gains for most college-educated workers have been unimpressive (and nonexistent since 2000), while even the well-educated can no longer count on getting jobs with good benefits. In particular, these days workers with a college degree but no further degrees are less likely to get workplace health coverage than workers with only a high school degree were in 1979. - Paul Krugman

A more equal economy would produce big gains for the middle class

Study: Income equality spurs economic growth

The party's over. What happens now?

Why Harvard should claim 1/5th of the blame for the mess we're in

Free checking disappearing

Obama's new economic advisor wants still more corporate subsidies

The secret the politicians and media won’t tell you: Government is legally required to create jobs

The Bush Obama bailout fraud

How FDR learned to hate what the GOP & Obama are doing to the economy

The Wal-Marting of America

Medicare payments likely to be cut thanks to deficit debacle

How the GOP screws you for their rich buddies

Why the NY attorney general's bank probe is important

Republicans so bad, even the Economist has turned against them

Budget crunch: NYC limiting toilet paper at Cony Island

Robert Reich explains the economy in two minutes and fifteen seconds

What we could learn about business from the Germans

Stocks Of Socialized Countries Have Outperformed U.S. Since Reagan Era

Mayors say jobs won't return until 2020. . .

How to reform our money system

Most Americans have less than $25,000 saved up for retirement.

Study: Wal Mart hurts local communities

This chart shows every Democratic president between Roosevelt & Obama lowering the fedral debt as a percent of GDP. Every Republican president since Reagan, on the other hand, has raised it.

Graffiti at Berkeley

Another GOP & embedded media lie: 'the government doesn't create jobs'

Microcredit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Union membership drops again.. . and what to do about it

Republicans launch war on unions

51 million Americans will do worse under Obama tax bill

The farrmland price bubble

2010

Black DC councilmembers agree with Bill Clinton: you can only be poor for five years

The wealth of the top 1 percent of households rose, on average, 103 percent (to $18.5 million per household) from 1983 to 2007. The poorest 40 percent of households experienced a 63 percent decline in wealth during the same period (to $2,200 per household).

Inflation: the next thing to worry about

RAHM EMMANUEL: "FUCK THE UAW"

JOB GROWTH IN U.S. DRIVEN BY STARTUPS

SPY SWAP COMPARED WITH WALL STREET CRIMES

TEACHING AMERICA NOT TO MAKE
BUESINESS INSIDER

NEW FINANCIAL BILL EXEMPTS SEC FROM FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW

PRIVATE BUSINESS PAY CHECKS THE LOWEST PERCENT OF AMERICANS' INCOME EVER

CHECKING OUT WHAT BIG CORPORATIONS HAVE DONE TO THE OLD 'HOOD

TAX AUDITS OF LARGEST CORPORATIONS DECLINE

43% OF WORKERS HAVE LESS THAN $10K IN RETIREMENT FUNDS

TOWARDS A STEADY STATE ECONOMY

MASSACHUSETTS TO REMOVE FUNDS FROM 3 BANKS TO PROTEST USURY

CIA AGENTS HELPED HEDGE FUNDS PLAY THE MARKETS

THE THREE HORSEMAN OF THE FISCAL CRISIS

COMMODITIES WHISTLEBLOWER VICTIM OF BIZARRE HIT AND RUN

WHO PAYS WHAT

THE REAL CAUSE OF INFLATION

POVERTY REDEFINED BY OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

SOCIAL SECURITY SCARE SQUAD MISSTATES FUTURE

COLLEGE-HIGH SCHOOL GRAD PAY GAP NOT AS GREAT AS CLAIMED

BRITISH CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION SAYS WORKERS SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO RETIRE

INCOME INEQUALITY SOARED OVER PAST 30 YEARS

ANOTHER OBAMA CAMPAIGN PROMISE DOWN THE DRAIN

BILL AIMS TO CUT TECH FIRMS' BIAS AGAINST AMERICAN WORKERS

TOUGH TIMES FOR ENGINEERS: OVER-REPRESENTED IN AL QAEDA; UNDERREPRESENTED IN SEX

BRITISH AIRLINES TO CHARGE YOU TO SIT NEXT TO YOUR CHILDREN

PAST DECADE HAD WORST ECONOMY IN MODERN TIMES

GEITHNER'S NY FEDERAL RESERVE BANK FIDDLED WITH AIG'S GOVERNMENT REPORT TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER

STOP BANKING WITH THE BAD GUYS

THE GROWING UNDERCLASS

THE CAUSES OF RISING INEQUALITY IN AMERICA

JOBS: WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING

HOW TO MAKE AN EASY ONE BILLION DOLLARS

FACING OUR HIDDEN WELFARE PROBLEM

STUDY: NEARLY HALF OF ALL U.S. CHILDREN WILL USE FOOD STAMPS

2009

BERNANKE SAYS SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE NOT MANDATORY

FOUR THINGS THAT WOULD TRULY HELP THE ECONOMY

WHY HELPING LOWER INCOME PEOPLE HELPS REVIVE THE ECONOMY

WHAT WOULD A ROUT OF THE DOLLAR LOOK LIKE?

HUNGER IN AMERICA HITS NEW LEVELS

ADMINISTRATION REPORTS STIMULUS BENEFITS IN NON-EXISTENT PLACES

CELEBRITY MEDIA BUBBLE JOINS THE RECESSION

TORN TARP: TAXPAYERS ABOUT TO LOSE $2.3 BILLION FROM FAILED BAILOUT

OBAMA AFRAID TO PROVIDE JOBS

BOSTON GLOBE FINDS MAJOR MISTAKES, MISSTEPS & MANIPULATION IN STIMULUS JOB COUNT

GLEANINGS FROM THE STIMULUS PACKAGE: $9 MILLION FOR A BOSTON FOOTBRIDGE

TEN YEARS AGO: CLINTON, SUMMERS, SCHUMER BLOW IT

SEVEN QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY THAT AREN'T BEING ASKED

OBAMA'S PROGRAMS FOR WORKERS: ANOTHER STUDY IN NOTHINGNESS

THE ECONOMIC MODEL MENTIONED BY NEITHER FOX NOR MSNBC

BEN BERNANKE GOES TO COSTLY RESORTS TO PREACH LOWER FEDERAL DEFICITS

JAMES GALBRAITH ON THE VIRTUES OF DEFICITS

CONGRESSIONAL WATCHDOG CRITICAL OF FORECLOSURE EFFORTS

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: WE ARE NOT OUR GDP

YOU'RE NOT UNEMPLOYED, YOU'RE JUST A LAGGING INDICATOR

ANOTHER HUD SCANDAL: DEPARTMENT TURNED FORECLOSURE WORKOUTS OVER TO WALL STREET PREDATORS

LAGGING INDICATORS: 67 BODIES IN DETROIT MORGUE REMAIN UNCLAIMED

SOTOMAYOR CHALLENGES MYTH THAT CORPORATIONS ARE PERSONS

CREDIT CARD USURERS COME UP WITH NEW WAYS TO HIS CLIENTS

LAUNCHING THE BAILOUT RIP-OFF

INCOMES OF YOUNG IN 8-YEAR NOSE DIVE

27 PERCENT OF NEW YORK BLACKS UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED

THE COMPLEXITIES OF LOCALISM

TOP EXECS CASH IN ON HUGE STOCK OPTIONS

HOMEOWNERS FORCED INTO BEING LANDLORDS

BARTERING SOARS IN BAD ECONOMY

MIDDLE CLASS JOINING THE POOR ON FOOD STAMPS

MADOFF AIDE EXPLAINS HOW IT WAS DONE

WHY IS THE MEDIA DOWNPLAYING THE JOB CRISIS?

AFL-CIO PUSHING STOCK TRANSFER TAX

LOCAL HEROES: SOMEONE IN GOVERNMENT WHO ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT FORECLOSURES

BUSH PROVES SOCIALISM WORKS

WHAT UNDERWEAR TELLS YOU ABOUT THE ECONOMY

OBAMA'S FORECLOSURE PROGRAM SUBSIDIZING SUBPRIME LENDERS

OBAMA'S PLAN TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IS A BUST

UNDERSTANDING THE UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES

UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS RUNNING OUT FOR 1.5 MILLION AMERICANS

PANHANDLERS TELL THEIR STORY

HOW JOB LOSS AFFECTS YOUR LIFE EXPECTANCY

BOOKSELF: INEQUALITY IS BAD EVEN FOR THOSE AT THE TOP

AVOID SOCIALISM OR YOU COULD END UP LIKE NORWAY

HYBRID REBATES DON'T WORK

OVER 1200 RHODE ISLAND BUSINESSES TOLD THEY'RE OUT OF BUSINESS IF THEY DON'T PAY OVERDUE SALES TAXES IMMEDIATELY

REAL UNEMPLOYMENT HIGHEST SINCE DEPRESSION

7-11 GROWING DESPITE RECESSION

USURY PROTESTS IN FIVE CITIES

BAILOUT WATCHDOG SAYS TREASURY REJECTS 'COMMON SENSE'

WHAT CALIFORNIA COULD HAVE DONE WITH ITS IOUs

OBAMITES FINALLY DISCOVER SMALL BUSINESS

WHAT RECOVERY?

AN INSTRUCTIVE - IF DEPRESSING - COLLECTION OF CHARTS ON THE ECONOMY

BAD ADVICE AND THE FINANCIAL CRASH

OBAMA'S FINANCIAL PLAN ISN'T CLOSE TO WHAT THE NEW DEAL DID

HOW MUCH SHOULD THE FED BE FED?

RENTERS' PLIGHT IGNORED BY CONGRESS

THE GOOD & THE BAD IN OBAMA'S FINANCIAL REGULATORY PLAN

THREE ESSENTIALS OF FINANCIAL REFORM

END OF AN AFFAIR WITH CHRYSLER

THE FINANCIAL WAR AGAINST US

THE ULTIMATE FORECLOSURE: CITY BOARDS MAN UP IN HOUSE HE LOST

DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO END USURY BY BANKS GETTING BAILOUTS

DEMOCRATS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER DEALERSHIP CLOSINGS

STATE UNEMPLOYMENT FUNDS IN DEEP TROUBLE

STATE BUDGET WOES TO GET WORSE

THE BANKRUPT APPROACH TO GENERAL MOTORS

SIX WAYS THE BAILOUT IS A SCAM

OBAMA BACKED AUTO DEALER SLASHING IS NEW BLOW TO STATES

WHY ARE CHRYSLER & GM DESTROYING THEIR CUSTOMERS, THE DEALERS?

BILLIONS FOR BANKERS; NOT ONE DIME FOR SUNSHINE DODGE

COURT OKAYS FORECLOSURE ON GOTTI ESTATE . . .
BUT NOT UNTIL DELINQUENCY HIT $650K

HOW OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS HELPED CREATE THE CRISIS

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

AIG BONUSES 2.5 TIMES MORE THAN STATED EARLIER

AS AMERICA SHRINKS, CHINA GROWS

CAN SBA HANDLE SMALL BUSINESS STIMULUS PACKAGE?

CREDIT CARD COMPANIES ABUSE BUSINESSES AND CUSTOMERS WITH HIGH TRANSACTION FEES

THE COLLAPSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS

CREDIT CARD COMPANIES ILLEGALLY BLOCKING SOCIAL SECURITY OF DEBTORS

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH TIM GEITHNER

PULLING THE TARP ON TARP

TENT CITIES GROWING

WORKERS OF MIXED ETHNICITY PAID LESS THAN WHITES OR BLACKS

THE LAW THEY JUST WANT TO FORGET ABOUT, NOT REPEAL

WHERE YOUR BAILOUT MONEY WENT

THE NEW DEAL WORKED; THE GOP'S DISMANTLING OF IT IS WHAT GOT US INTO THIS TROUBLE

WHY IS ONCE CRIMINAL USURY NOW COMMON PRACTICE?

THE HUGE FRAUD BEHIND THE FISCAL CRISIS

LARRY SUMMERS: A WALKING, TALKING CONFLICT OF INTEREST

CREDIT UNIONS ALSO IN DANGER

WHY BANK RAGE IS NOT POPULISM

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ITALY ABOUT ECONOMIC COOPERATION

HOW THE GEITHNER TOXIC ASSET SCHEME IS ANOTHER BANK SCAM

HOMELESSNESS UP A THIRD

WHAT'S REALLY BEHIND THE AIG BAILOUT

THE MARKET AS PREDICTOR

HIDDEN PENSION FIASCO MAY FOMENT ANOTHER $1 TRILLION BAILOUT

GROWTH IN PRISON SPENDING TOPS ALL BUT MEDICAID

INTERVIEW WITH DEAN BAKER, WHO SAW IT COMING

ELIMINATING EARMARKS, WEAKENS CONGRESS, STRENGTHENS WHITE HOUSE

HOW WRONG YOU CAN BE IN WASHINGTON AND STILL NOT SAY YOU'RE SORRY

WHY IS AIG SO IMPORTANT?

GALLERY: SCENES OF A RECESSION

KARL MARX IS BACK

TMZ FINDS $1.6 BILLION FOR THE GOVERNMENT

THE MEDIA'S ROLE IN THE FISCAL CRISIS

ABOUT EARMARKS

FBI WARNED OF MORTGAGE FRAUD EPIDEMIC FIVE YEARS AGO

BANK NATIONALIZATION ATTRACTS OBAMA, GOP, ECONOMISTS

COMMODITY MARKET PONZI SCHEMES ON THE RISE

WHY THE STIMULUS MAY LEAVE THE ECONOMY SOMEWHAT FLAT

LOOK WHO PLANS TO MAKE BIG BUCKS OUT OF THE BAILOUT. . . WITH TAXPAYERS SUBSIDIZING IT

THINGS THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT THE BAILOUT

HOW MUCH YOU'LL GET FROM THE BAILOUT

THE RECOVERY PLAN FROM HELL

HOW MUCH DID THE BI-PARTY KNOCK OUT OF YOUR SCHOOL SYSTEM'S CONSTRUCTION BUDGET?

HOW CLOSE THE WORLD ECONOMY CAME TO COLLAPSING

CALVIN & HOBBES GOT IT DOWN YEARS AGO

TWO OUT OF FIVE DEMOCRATS BUY INTO GOP TAX CUT MYTH

NOT ALL PORK IS EQUAL

THE CASE FOR NATIONALIZING BANKS

BUSH'S APPROACH TO SOCIAL SECURITY PROVED A DISASTER. . .IN ITALY

SAVING THE GLOBE VS. GROWING THE ECONOMY

PROGRESSIVES & THE BAILOUT

WHO'S ON FIRST? AN EXPLORATORY CALCULATION

UN CRIME WATCHDOG SAYS DRUG MONEY HELPED IN FISCAL CRISIS

THE GOOD AND THE BAD IN OBAMA'S ECONOMIC PLAN

BRITS PROVE BAILOUTS DANGEROUS TO THOSE IN POWER

AUTO BAILOUT INCLUDES WORKER STRIKE BAN

LEMON SOCIALISM AT ITS WORST

LAUNDERING ILLEGAL FUNDS THROUGH THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM

NEARLY TWO THIRDS OF AMERICANS DON'T AGREE WITH OBAMA ON TARP

RECESSION GIVES BOOST TO LIBRARIES

THE BUDGET SWAMP NOBODY MENTIONS

WHAT'S A DEPRESSION?

WHAT SORT OF ECONOMISTS DO WE GET?

ECONOMY TRASHER GREENSPAN GOT HIS START WITH AYN RAND

WAL-MART: NATION'S LEADING UNION BUSTED

RAIL TAKES BACK SEAT IN OBAMA STIMULUS PLAN

THE PRICE OF FOLLOWING JIM CRAMER'S ADVICE

TRAPPED UNDER THE TARP

FED TO GIVE HEDGE FUNDS LOANS

STIMULUS IS FOR SUCKERS: WHAT WE REALLY NEED

WHAT A REAL STIMULUS MIGHT LOOK LIKE

Sam Smith

- Reduce credit card interest. As one politician once put it, "I'd frankly like to see credit cards rates down. I believe that would help stimulate the consumer and get consumer confidence moving again.'' Another politician responded by offering a bill in the Senate to cap credit card interest at 14%. The Senate voted for it 74-19. The first politician was that radical president, George Bush, in 1991. The other politician was that well known progressive, Alfonze D'Amato. Why are Obama and the Democrats more conservative than Daddy Bush and D'Amato?

- Start a movement to nationalize banks. Progressives led by Robert LaFollette did this in the 1930s, giving FDR cover for his more moderate solutions. Today, all the political pressure is coming from Wall Street, which tilts policies in that direction.

- All measures must put the interest of the ordinary citizen first. Neither the GOP nor the Democrats are doing that.

- Deemphasize tax cuts. They are far less effective than many think.

- Emphasize programs that will cheer people up and where they can see things changing for the better. Among the Wall Street bailout scam's many faults was that no one could tell what was happening as a result. Good economies need optimism.

- Use revenue sharing. It's a quick way to get money down to the states and cities and to the people who live there. Sure, some of it will get corrupted but far less than is already happening with the phony stimulus packages. The upside is that citizens have a better idea of what is being done on their behalf and have some say in how it is done.

- Fund public works project that have large spin-off benefits and which will be heavy in blue collar employment. These would include new mass transit service and a massive growth of America's rail system. It would deemphasize fixing up existing systems because the spin off benefits are far less. Would it include the much discussed new energy projects? We haven't seen any serious discussion of this. What is the blue collar employment potential of such projects?

- Institute a shared equity program for homeowners in distress under which the federal government buys a portion of the mortgage, renegotiates interest rates with the lenders and then gets its part of the equity back when the house is sold. A similar program could be used for building new homes.

- Decentralize decisions and negotiations on foreclosures and real estate interest rates, using local courts and similar bodies as was done in the 1930s.

- Give the government preferred stock in companies it aids. At one point in the New Deal, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation owned bank shares that would be worth at least $20 billion today.

NADER: TIME TO CHALLENGE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD IN COURT

THE MYTH OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM

2008

A VISUAL GUIDE TO THE BAILOUT: HOW IT NORMALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED, HOW IT WAS HANDLED, AND HOW IT COULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED

FED REFUSES TO REVEAL RECIPIENTS OF BAILOUT

THE CRASH OF AMERICAN IMAGINATION

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE MIDDLE CLASS?

CHINESE BARGAIN HUNTERS CHECKING OUT U.S. REAL ESTATE

HOW CHINA AND HONG KONG HAVE HANDLED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS

WHAT BANKS, ACADEMICS, THE MEDIA AND POLITICIANS DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT MONEY

THE SUB PRIME CASE FOR BLAMING IT ALL ON SUB PRIMES

FOOD STAMP USE HITS RECORD

THE BANKING SYSTEM IS REALLY BROKEN

SMALL BANKS ANGRY WITH BAILOUT

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE MIDDLE CLASS

Divided by the CPI (which has been understated for decades) the "adjusted" Median Household Income has barely grown at all since 1973. .

Do you think the strapped middle-class family feels better when hearing that inflation is "only" 4%, instead of 11.6%, as measured prior to 1983? Not likely. Understated inflation does not help remove the sting of declining purchasing power. It just adds to the confusion and desperation. . .

Americans have been slowly transferring ownership of their homes to the banking system over the last 50+ years. These figures would look much worse if the roughly 1/3 of homes owned "free and clear" (mostly by seniors) were removed from the data, but you can see the trend is toward less equity and more debt. This is not a sign of a prospering middle-class.

WHY WASHINGTON CAN'T HANDLE DETROIT'S PROBLEM

PAULSON THREATENED CONGRESS WITH MARTIAL LAW IF IT DIDN'T PASS BANK SWEETHEART DEAL

ETHICAL SUBPRIME LENDING

THREE CITIES SEEKING FEDERAL FUNDS

LANGUAGE: THE BAILOUT IS FAR MORE FASCIST THAN SOCIALIST

BILL CLINTON'S ROLE IN THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE

TWO WOMEN WHO TOOK ON THE WALL STREET TOUGH GUYS

THE BAILOUT: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

WHAT ECONOMISTS DON'T UNDERSTAND

THE PROFANITY OF CASINO CAPITALISM

BANKERS ALREADY RIPPING OFF A TENTH OF THE BAILOUT FOR THEMSELVES

THE ESTABLISHMENT THAT DESTROYED AMERICA'S FIRST REPUBLIC

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: THE S&L BAILOUT REVISITED

ETHICAL SUBPRIME LENDING

BANKS PRINT MONEY; WHY CAN'T THE GOVERNMENT?

TAKING IT FROM THE TOP AGAIN

THE FALLACY OF THE 401(K)

HANK PAULSON'S BACKGROUND

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL IS FAR WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

SHIPPING COSTS CUTTING GLOBALIZATION

CORPORATE EXECS ABUSING PENSION PLANS FOR OWN BENEFIT

LAS VEGAS ON THE HUDSON. . . AND WHAT WE PAID FOR IT

HOW THE MELTDOWN WORKED

THE MYTH OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM

WHY YOU CAN'T BLAME THE HOUSING CRISIS ON POOR HOMEOWNERS

WHERE WILL ALL THE MONEY GO?

OBAMA FINALLY COMES UP WITH SOME IDEAS FOR THE CRISIS

NINE WAYS A DEPRESSION WILL HELP NEW YORKERS

TOYOTA WORKPLACE UNDER FIRE

AN ECONOMIC HITMAN EXPLAINS HOW THE NSA & US POLICY TOWARDS POOR COUNTRIES REALLY WORKS

LATIN LEFT HAVING FUN WITH 'COMRADE BUSH'

CUSTOMERS FLOCK TO NATIONALIZED BANK; FREE MARKETEERS CRY THAT'S NOT FAIR

FANNIE MAE FORGIVES LOAN AFTER 90 YEAR OLD WOMAN SHOOTS HERSELF

REPRESENTATIVE SAYS MEMBERS WERE THREATENED WITH MARTIAL LAW IF THEY DIDN'T PASS BILL

PAULSON PRIVATIZING BAILOUT OPERATION

TRASHING OUT ON FORECLOSURE ALLEY

SICKEST BAILOUT STORY OF THE DAY.

STATES ACT TO CUSHION WALL STREET MELTDOWN

$700 BILLION FIGURE PULLED OUT OF THIN AIR

HOUSE TOSSES $25 BILLION TO CAR MAKERS; STILL NOTHING FOR HOMEOWNERS

UNDER PLAN, PAULSON COULD PAY OFFENDERS TO SOLVE THE CRISIS

THE GREEN VIEW OF THE FISCAL CRISIS

LIVE ON IMAGINARY MONEY; DIE BY IMAGINARY MONEY

YOU GOT SOME BAD ASSETS? ADD THEM TO THE FEDERAL SHITPILE

ONLY 28% SUPPORT BAILOUT PLAN

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you. . . MORE

THE LIST: WHAT A TRILLION DOLLARS WILL BUY

BUSH PROPOSES COUP BY EMERGENCY LEGISLATION

BUSH WANTS TO BAIL OUT FOREIGN BANKS, TOO

CLINTON-BUSH HOUSING BUBBLE BIGGEST IN A CENTURY

COMPARE BAILOUTS BY SIZE

HUGE BONUSES PROMISED TO SOME LEHMAN STAFF, OTHERS LEFT WITHOUT PAY

BUSH OFFERS GAMBLING INSURANCE TO THE RICH
INSTEAD OF HEALTH INSURANCE TO EVERYONE

THE INVISIBLE & UNAIDED VICTIMS OF THE FISCAL CRISIS

DEJA VU: NO FAULT CAPITALISM MEETS LEMON SOCIALISM AL CRISIS

WHY THE DEMOCRATS HAVEN'T BEEN MORE HELPFUL

WHAT THE BRITISH LEFT THINKS ABOUT THE FISCAL CRISIS

AIG STORY ISN'T OVER

REAGAN GAVE BIRTH TO TODAY'S FISCAL CRISES

47% OF WORKERS UNABLE TO SAVE ANYTHING

ELDER BANKRUPTCIES SOAR

NEARLY ONE THIRD OF HOME OWNERS OWE MORE THAN HOUSE IS WORTH

DEALING WITH THE ECONOMIC FREE FALL

THE LIST: RECENT STORE CLOSINGS

ECONOMY HITTING STATES HARD

VOLUNTARY FORECLOSURES RAISES NEW BANKING THREAT

LIVE ON IMAGINARY MONEY; DIE BY IMAGINARY MONEY

One of the important things not being discussed about the financial crisis is that the money that is gone was not real in the first place, something we have mentioned from time to time. . .

Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual, 1994 - The total federal state, local and private debt in this country in 1996 was around $14 trillion. The actual money supply was just under $6 trillion. So what happened to the rest of the money? Most of it doesn't exist and never did. We call this imaginary money debt. This debt is money that we (as individuals, companies and government) have borrowed, primarily from private sources. As Bob Blain, a professor at Southern Illinois University, put it:

"Most debt is not the result of people borrowing money; it is the result of people not being able to repay what they owed [to banks or individuals] at some earlier time. Instead of declaring them bankrupt, creditors just add more to their debt."

This new debt is called interest. Many people think the idea of the government printing money is shameful, yet our laws permit private financial institutions to create money all the time. Every time you fail to pay off your credit card, you're letting a banker print some more money.

You're not the first, of course. For example, when the Congress met in February 1790 to figure out how to pay off the Revolutionary War debt of $75 million, Alexander Hamilton strongly advocated issuing debt certificates and using them as money. Congressman James Jackson of Georgia warned that this would "settle upon our posterity a burden which [citizens] can neither bear nor relieve themselves from. . . Though our present debt be but a few millions, in the course of a single century it may be multiplied to an extent we dare not think of."

An alternative to Congress borrowing money to pay off its debt would have been to have created the $75 million, using Congress's constitutional power to "coin money and regulate the value thereof." Instead Congress began a long tradition of borrowing the money that -- five trillion dollars of debt later -- many believe we can neither bear nor relieve ourselves from.

In the early 19th century, the little British Channel island of Guernsey faced a smaller but similar problem. Its sea walls were crumbling. its roads were too narrow, and it was already heavily in debt. There was little employment and people were leaving for elsewhere.

Instead of going still further into debt, the island government simply issued 4,000 pounds in state notes to start repairs on the sea walls as well as for other needed public works. More issues followed and twenty years later the island had, in effect, printed nearly 50,000 pounds. Guernsey had more than doubled its money supply without inflation.

A report of the island's States Office in June 1946 notes that island leaders frequently commented that these public works could not have been carried out without the issues, that they had been accomplished without interest costs, and that as a result "the influx of visitors was increased, commerce was stimulated, and the prosperity of the Island vastly improved." By 1943, nearly a half million pounds worth of notes belonged to the public and was so valued that much of it was being hoarded in people's homes, awaiting the island's liberation from the Germans.

About the same time that Guernsey started to fix its sea walls, the town of Glasgow, Scotland, borrowed 60,000 pounds to build a fruit market. The Guernsey sea walls were repaid in ten years, the fruit market loan took 139. In the first part of the 20th century, Glasgow paid over a quarter million pounds in interest alone on this ancient project.

How did Guernsey avoid the fiscal disaster that conventional economics prescribed for it? First and foremost by understanding that when you build roads or sea walls or colleges or houses, you are not reducing your society's wealth. In fact, if you do it right, you are creating something that will add to its wealth. The money that was created was simply backed by public works rather than gold or "full faith and credit." It was, in fact, based on something more solid than the dollar bills in our wallets today. In contrast, tacking on an interest charge to public works -- as we do in the US -- creates no new wealth, but merely transfers claims on existing wealth from debtors to creditors.

The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but is the government's greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. -- Abraham Lincoln

CLINTON-BUSH HOUSING BUBBLE BIGGEST IN A CENTURY

Sam Smith, Progressive Review - According to a study by Yale economist Robert J Shiller cited in his book, "Irrational Exuberance," between 1890 and 1990 the sale of the average existing house (not new construction) rose no more that 25% over the inflation corrected value for 1890. In the 1990s, beginning in the Clinton years, that changed dramatically. Between 1997 and 2006 the typical house doubled in value of over the 1890 average. In other words, the Clinton-Bush housing bubble was greatest in over a hundred years. The bright side is that if the average house drops by 50% we'll be right back where we were in 1997.

Throughout the preceding century, houses varied from 85-125 percent of the 1890 average value with the exception of the depression, which for housing actually began during World War I. By 1920,housing prices were down to about 65% of 1890 levels and then began to slowly rise. By 1940 they were back to the 1890 figure. In other words, housing devaluation can be a harbinger of worse to come

WEST COAST FOOD BANK SEES DEMAND RISE 80% THIS SPRING

HOW SUBPRIME POLITICIANS, LOBBYISTS AND BANKERS CAUSED CRISIS

FACING THE HOUSING CRISIS

AIRLINES THINKING ABOUT PASSENGERS AS FREIGHT NOT CUSTOMERS

TEN WAYS AMERICANS ARE HURTING, NOT WHINING

CORPORADOS PACKING LESS IN SAME SIZE BOXES

HOUSING CRASH DISASTROUS FOR RETIREMENT SAVINGS

SHOPPING CENTER CONSTRUCTION BOOMS AS STORES CLOSE

EXPANDING FREE TRADE MAY BE NEARING END

HOME ELECTRICITY PRICES SOARING

NUMBER OF MARRIED MOTHERS IN WORK FORCE DROPS

THE ROLE OF SPECULATION IN CURRENT PRICE INCREASES

TIP DEPENDANT WORKERS FEELING THE SLUMP

CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURES UP 327%

WASHINGTON & BANKS USING FISCAL CRISIS TO LIMIT STATE REGULATORY ROLE

FEARS MOUNTING OVER BANKS' USE OF FED'S LOANS

THE NEW AMERICA

IMF SAYS MORTGAGE CRISIS IS LARGEST FINANCIAL SHOCK SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION

HOME EQUITY LOANS NEXT CRISIS?

HUD WARNS LANDLORDS IT MAY RUN OUT OF HOUSING ASSISTANCE FUNDS BY FALL

SOARING FOOD PRICES CAUSING CROP THEFTS, FOOD TRUCK HIJACKINGS

FED'S RESCUE HALTED A DERIVATIVES CHERNOBYL

THE FED'S VERSION OF LEMON SOCIALISM

THE FISCAL CRISIS: AMERICANS HAVE BEEN CONNED

ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION HELPED FUEL SUBPRIME CRISIS

AMERICA'S DISINTEREST IN POVERTY

WHEAT MARKET GOES WILD   

SO DOES CORN

BEN BERNANKE THREE YEARS AGO: HOUSING MARKET NO PROBLEM

HEDGE FUNDS GOOD FOR LAUNDERING DRUG MONEY

WHAT A REAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY PROGRAM WOULD LOOK LIKE

SUBPRIME SCANDAL AN OLD STORY IN STOCKTON, CA

SUBPRIME LENDERS TARGETED BLACKS & LATINOS

SUBPRIME CRISIS HELPED BY SUBPRIME POLITICS. . . AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

HOW TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY

SOROS CALLS IT'S THE WORST FINANCIAL CRISIS SINCE WORLD WAR II

BUSH'S WAR ON TERROR HAS COST AMERICA $94 BILLION IN TOURIST DOLLARS

MORTGAGE LENDERS PREFER FORECLOSURE TO HELPING HOME BUYERS PAY OFF LOAN

WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING IN MANUFACTURING

JOB MARKET 2009

THE FISCAL CRISIS TOTALLY EXPLAINED

TENT CITIES SPRINGING UP

COMPARING FINANCIAL CRISES: WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE

In 1990, the Progressive Review ran an article, "No-Fault Capitalism Meets Lemon Socialism" in which we examined the second great savings & loan scandal: the bailout of the S&L industry. The article won an Utne Reader award for one of the ten most undercovered stories of the decade. In it, we compared the government's reaction to the S&L crisis to its reaction to the banking crisis that culminated in the banking holiday and emergency legislation of 1933. Although the causes of the two crises were quite different, so were other factors. Some may ring a bell in today's financial crisis.

1933

Underlying financial problem involved shortage of deposits.

Fraud was not a major factor

Single bi-partisan goal: to save the banking system

Protection of average citizens' interest central to decisions.

Long-range implications of actions thought through

Majority party not beholden to major financial interests

Pressure for nationalization of banking industry by progressives such as Sen. Robert LaFollette, creating a political middle for FDR to work within.

Administration and Congress moved decisively. Within five days of FDR's inauguration, emergency banking legislation was passed with only 40 minutes of House debate. From introduction to president's signature it took only eight hours.

Problem affected 18,390 banks Administration handled specific cases quickly. About two thirds of all banks were opened under government license four days after bank holiday was declared. Another 1300 banks were reopened a month later and within nine months another 1200 banks were reopened and the remaining 2000 would be reopened as soon as financing from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation could be arranged.

Specific situations handled by small bureaucracy in decentralized fashion with banks placed under conservatorships. Emphasis on recapitalization and low interest loans.

Government allowed to participate in recovery by holding preferred stock in commercial bank. At one point, the RFC held $1.3 billion in commercial bank stock.

Heavy White House pressure on banking industry to cooperate. Appeal to patriotism, implicit threat of nationalization.

1990

Underlying financial problem involved failure of loan repayments

Fraud is a major factor

Multiple and conflicting bi-partisan goals including changing the financial system (even to extent of eliminating S&L industry), avoiding blame, escaping political and criminal liability.

Protection of major financial institution's interest central to decisions.

Decisions driven by fire-sale mentality

Both parties beholden to major financial interests.

No significant progressive pressure for radical solutions, hence politics of situation skewed heavily toward rightwing assumptions.

Administration and Congress moved indecisively. Early actions were driven by attempt to conceal from public the true extent of the problem. When situation got out of hand, legislation was passed hastily with inadequate forethought.

Problem affected 2600 savings & loans

Administration handles specific situations at snail's pace. The Resolution Trust Corporation dealt with only 200 out of 450 failed thrifts in its first eleven months, with another 260 S&Ls expected to go under in the next year.

Specific situations handled by large centralized bureaucracy in Washington, adding the inefficiency of scale to other problems.

Emphasis on government subsidies and lemon socialism. Rightwing paradigm prevents government from engaging in self-supporting solutions.

No political or financial burden placed on S&L industry as a whole. Political leverage of White House lies fallow.

RECOVERED HISTORY: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF 'THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY'

STIMULUS PACKAGE A SURPRISE BUST FOR 36 STATES

PRIMING THE SUBPRIME CRISIS

JAMES MCCUSKER, EVERETT HERALD, WA - In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent global economic depression, Congress, among other actions, passed the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited banks from engaging in securities underwriting. There was money to be made in securities, though, and after a suitable period of penance for their contributions to the crash and depression banks began to agitate for relief from this restrictive law.

The banking industry's whining about Glass-Steagall eventually paid off. . . Few people spoke out against the idea, which was endorsed by America's top banking regulator, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. It is tempting to say that his enthusiasm for the idea, and Congress' action, made sense at the time, but that was not so. In fact, it made no sense then, and makes none now. . .

Banks eagerly bought up low-quality mortgage loans, packaged them up and sold them as securities -- all the while using "three-card Monte" accounting constructs to keep the transactions off their balance sheets. . .

The Federal Reserve, the president and Congress have their hands full at this time. Their first priority is damage control, and that is as it should be. Eventually, though, the economy will right itself, with or without Washington's help, and the president, the Federal Reserve and Congress will have time to consider what got us into this fix in the first place.

If we had to pick a single event that set off this economic stink bomb, it would have to be Alan Greenspan's decision to support the expansion of bank activities into securities underwriting. While the Congress has a mind of its own, it is extremely doubtful that they would have approved this expansion in the face of his objections. He was at the height of his powers then, and his support for the idea made it bullet-proof, politically.

As soon as possible, Congress should extend its damage control operations to put banking back on solid ground, and reconstruct the wall between banking and stock-market gaming.

WALL STREET REWARDED ITSELF WITH $39 BILLION IN BONUSES AS MARKET WAS TANKING

WORLD SOCIALIST - The five largest Wall Street banks doled out a record $39 billion in bonuses last year, according to data collected by the Bloomberg news service. After driving hundreds of thousands of families into foreclosure, causing a financial crisis affecting hundreds of millions, and pushing the US and world economies closer to recession, it appears Wall Street is rewarding itself for a job well done.

The banks announced record losses in the fourth quarter, wrapping up the financial industry's worst year since 2002. All in all, Wall Street wrote off more than $90 billion in bad debt for the year, and the five largest banks saw their profits drop more than 60 percent. Three of the five firms posted losses in the fourth quarter.

While the $39 billion was divided among 186,000 workers at the five firms -averaging $211,849 - the lion's share was reserved for a few thousand high-level managers, traders, and senior executives, who took in multimillion-dollar bonuses in addition to their salaries. Rank-and-file clerical workers took home a few hundred dollars. Bonuses for traders in subprime-related securities are reported to be about 30 percent lower this year in comparison to other sectors.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jan2008/bonu-j21.shtml

HOW TO SIMULATE AN ECONOMY

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE - An effective, appropriate stimulus package should meet the following five criteria:

1. A stimulus package should generate growth and jobs to offset rising unemployment. . . The two feasible ways to boost demand are to increase consumer spending (for example through tax or monetary policy) or to increase government spending (at the federal, state, or local level). Any stimulus aimed at spurring more business investment will not be effective at this point, because business investment will remain sluggish until consumer and government demand picks up. For example, a recent study estimated that business investment write-offs and the dividend-capital gain tax reductions included in Bush's tax packages had a small "bang-for-the-buck. . .

Government spending is more effective than tax cuts in stimulating domestic demand for two reasons: a portion of the tax cut will be saved rather than spent immediately, and consumers are more likely than the government to spend on imports (rather than domestically produced goods). Approximately 10 cents per dollar of consumer expenditures will be spent abroad, while virtually every penny of investments in public infrastructure will be spent domestically. Especially problematic would be more tax cuts directed at the wealthy, which would not be as effective as tax cuts directed at the low- and middle-income households who would spend (rather than save) a larger share of any extra income.

2. A stimulus package should take effect quickly. . . Ideally, an effective package would have some components that have immediate effect and others that might have impact in six months to a year, thus ensuring a solid foundation for the recovery. . .

3. A stimulus package should raise current deficits but not affect the long-term budget outlook. The purpose of any good stimulus package is to boost immediate job growth. For this purpose we need one-time measures that, if the recession deepens, can be extended as necessary. Permanent, ongoing measures that will affect the budget two or three years from now are, in most cases, inappropriate. . .

4. A stimulus package should target unmet needs. Another goal of any good stimulus plan should be to meet, where possible, unmet social needs. For instance, it is widely acknowledged that there is a huge backlog of necessary school and bridge repairs and new construction projects. A temporary spending increase for such infrastructure would be doubly beneficial in that it would meet the other criteria listed above but also address an acknowledged, pre-existing need. Other examples could include funding needed sewage-treatment plant construction or making public facilities energy efficient.

5. A stimulus package should be fair. The distribution of wages, income, and wealth in the United States has become vastly more unequal over the last 30 years. In fact, this country has a more unequal distribution of income than any other advanced country. Therefore, a criterion for favoring one stimulus plan over another should be that the plan avoids exacerbating income inequality and, wherever possible, acts to lessen current inequalities. A temporary increase in federal revenue-sharing with the states, for example, would fulfill this criterion well by helping preserve public school spending, Medicaid for low-income families and low-income elderly in nursing homes, and other state programs that could face cutbacks due to state fiscal crises.

http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/bp210

THE SELFISH CAPITALISM OF REAGAN, BUSH AND CLINTON MAY BE WHAT HAS MADE US UNHAPPY

THINGS THE MEDIA DOESN'T TELL YOU: THE PUBLIC HOLDS BIG BUSINESS IN LOW REGARD

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."

http://www.newrules.org/retail/news_slug.php?slugid=365

STEADY STATE ECONOMICS

BRIAN CZECH AND HERMAN E. DALY, WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETIN 2004 - A steady state economy with long human life spans entails low birth and death rates. In our opinion this is preferable, within reason, to a steady state economy with short life spans, high birth rates, and high death rates. The same concept applies to capital and durable goods such as automobiles. We opine that a relatively slow flow of high-quality, long-lasting goods is preferable to a fast flow of low-quality, short-lived goods.

Nothing about a steady state economy precludes economic development, where development is defined as a qualitative process. Various sectors may come and go in a steady state economy. For example, organic farms may supplant factory farms, the proportion of bicycles to Humvees may increase, and professional soccer may attract more fans while NASCAR attracts fewer. As long as the physical size of the economy remains constant in the long run, a developing economy is a steady state economy.

Nor would any type of cultural stagnation result from a steady state economy.

John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest economists and political philosophers in history, emphasized that an economy in which physical growth was no longer the goal would be more conducive to political, ethical, and spiritual improvements

A steady state economy means a constant rate of employment. . . Economic development continues in a steady state economy so that in the extractive sector, oilfield roughnecks may decrease in number while wind-power facility attendants may increase. In the arts, guitar playing may wax while flute playing wanes. In the sciences, industrial chemists may be replaced by wildlife ecologists. . .

In a steady state economy, the average amount of money in real dollars earned by workers from the current generation to the next remains constant.

"Real dollars" means that inflation has been accounted for. Because income reflects the use of natural resources, stabilized income reflects a stabilized "ecological footprint," which is the area of land required to support a human being . . .

If the steady state economy is established at a relatively low population level, the potential exists for each worker, and his replacement in the next generation, to earn a high income. This scenario is similar to that of a low-density deer population with plenty of forage per deer. If, on the other hand, the steady state economy is established at a high population level, less income is available for the average worker, as in a high-density deer population with little forage per deer.

We think it important that a steady state economy be established at a relatively low population level. This scenario is conducive to incomes high enough to allow retirement savings and social secu rity (in the generic sense), making the economy more politically acceptable and therefore more stable. If the steady state economy is established with-in ecological carrying capacity, each new generation may expect its workers to accumulate retire- ment savings of the same magnitude as the previous generation. So we think it important to establish a steady state economy as soon as possible. As the population grows, it becomes less likely the steady state economy may be established whereby incomes are high enough to support reasonable periods of retirement.

Won't the stock market crash if a steady state economy is established? . . . Many people view the stock market as predicated on economic growth, so they wonder if a stock market could even exist in a steady state economy. It certainly could and probably would. In a steady state economy, firms still need to invest in capital--namely, at the same rate at which capital depreciates.

Publicly traded stocks provide the social benefit of liquidity to investors and offer an efficient mechanism for the acquisition of investment capital.

Stock markets tend to expand and contract in concert (though often with lags) with gross domestic product, the dollar value of newly produced, final goods and services. There are winners and losers in bullish and bearish markets, though the winners tend to be more prominent in the for- mer. The stock market in a steady state economy of stable GDP would be neither bullish nor bearish for extended periods. It, too, would have winners and losers, with perennial losers becoming insolvent and being replaced by more competent firms. But in a steady state economy the stock market would be less of a casino than in the growth economy.

Economic growth, on the other hand, is bound to cause an extensive and extended stock market crash because demands for capital eventually will exceed the productive capacity of the earth.

Therefore, advocating a steady state economy is appropriate not only for purposes of wildlife conservation but also because it would reduce the volatility of the stock market.

There are, of course, alternatives to the stock market for purposes of financing capital investment. For example, capital may be financed by private banks, cooperatives, and governments. In fact, all of these institutions are active financiers throughout the world. The relative prominence of each in a given nation helps to describe that nation's history, ideology, and "political economy," which brings us to our next question--a very big one.

Doesn't a steady state economy require a socialist government? More generally put, what kind of government is most conducive to a steady state economy? Might it be, for example, a capitalist democracy, a communist state or a dictatorship? In theory, each is capable of producing or coexisting with a steady state economy, but we do not think any of these is particularly conducive. Each has exhibited far more concern with GDP growth than with other important endeavors, such as poverty alleviation and, of course, wildlife conservation.

We think the form of government most conducive to a steady state economy, in the context of twenty-first-century nation states, is a constitutional democracy somewhat more socialized than the current American version. "Socialist democracies," as the term is used in political science, already exist in many nations, most notably such European nations as Sweden, Switzerland and England.

Economists more frequently call them "mixed economies." These are democratically operated governments in which the state plays a more prominent role in the economy than the American government plays in its economy

EDWARDS TAKES ON CREDIT CARD USURY, TRICKS

ONE AMERICA - Senator John Edwards has outlined a plan to take on abusive lenders and help American families save. "Debt has become the central fact of middle-class existence," said Edwards. "For most families, wages have not kept up with rising costs for middle-class essentials like health care, housing and child care. Consumer debt has skyrocketed in recent years and today, half of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck.

"At the same time, abusive credit card companies deliberately build in tricks and traps for families. Consumers often fail to understand the basic terms of their cards due to complicated and confusing disclosures. Most big credit card companies advertise low rates but reserve the right to change rates at any time for any reason - a single late payment can trigger penalties that raise interest rates to an average of almost 25 percent.

To take on the credit card industry - that has spent $250 million on lobbying and campaign contributions since 1998 - Edwards promises to:

- enact national legislation to protect families from the most abusive practices in the credit card industries.

- create a new Family Savings and Credit Commission to review all financial services products marketed to families to determine that terms are reasonable and fairly disclosed.

- subsidize bank accounts for low-income workers - nearly 28 million Americans lack them - and create work bonds to match their savings.

http://johnedwards.com/news/headlines/20071202-abusive-lenders/

2007

NOVEL IDEA FOR THE HOMELESS: GIVE THEM A HOME

THE REAGAN-BUSH-CLINTON-BUSH YEARS:
BRINGING INEQUALITY TO PRE-DEPRESSION LEVELS


FROM THE ECONOMIST

HOW TO CONTACT A LIVE PERSON IN CORPORATE AMERICA

BRINGING FAIR TRADE HOME

ERBIN CROWELL, EQUAL EXCHANGE, IN COOPERATIVE GROCER - Today, just 10 corporations account for over 50 percent of the revenue generated globally by food retailing. Not surprisingly, as agribusiness profits have gone up, the share of the consumer dollar received by farming families has declined dramatically. By 2003, there were just 1.9 million working farmers in the U.S. - less than the prison population.

For African American farmers, the challenge is even more severe. For example, in 1920, one in seven farmers were African American; by 1998, just one in 100, a loss rate more than three times that of white farmers. Like many of the small farmers that Equal Exchange works with across Latin America, Africa and Asia, black farmers in the U.S. have been shut out of markets, denied access to capital, and given racist treatment at an institutional level. . .

Recently Equal Exchange and the Federation began exploring a new idea: Domestic Fair Trade. The goal of the partnership is to bring the Federations nearly 40 years of organizing for civil rights and community development together with Equal Exchanges 20 years of international Fair Trade experience and commitment to cooperation. The result will be healthy snacks grown, processed, marketed, and sold by cooperatives.

Our first project is with Southern Alternatives, a pecan processing cooperative in southern Georgia. Through collective action and persistence, this group has managed to accomplish something inspiring: a black-owned, cooperatively organized pecan processing facility that includes farmers and workers. With the support of the Federation, workers in the facility kept the business alive as a strategy for preserving jobs in a rural area devastated by the modern agricultural economy and abandoned by the textile mills that have moved overseas. .

http://cooperativegrocer.coop/articles/index.php?id=697

LEFT BUSINESS OBSERVER HITS 20

DOUG HENWOOD, one of the most useful and remarkable voices on the left for the past two decades has just published his 20th edition issue of the Left Business Observer. One of the things we've always liked about Henwood is his ability to make one think differently about money and its effect on us. His anniversary issue is no different. For example he notes that Tom Frank in the 'What's the Matter with Kansas' had argued that "the white working class has been hoodwinked by Republican culture warriors into voting against their economic interests." This has been a case we have long made as well and is one of the reasons we support a strong populist approach to politics.

But Henwood shoots two well-aimed holes in the argument:

- "[Richard Hofstadter] made the now largely forgotten point that American Protestants have long had a deep sympathy for The Market. Since they see humans as fallen, corrupt creatures always in need of a good kick in the ass, they revere it as a wonderful mechanism of social discipline, punishing the lazy and rewarding the hard-working. If people are poor, it's because they're immoral, impatient, or wasteful.". . .Henwood notes the acceptance of this fantasy explains "why there's been so little political price paid for the economic march back to the 19th century."

- "I'll confess that for a moment or two after the dot com bubble burst, and Enron and the other corporate scandals were revealed, I'd hoped there might be some moment of magical awakening. But it didn't happen that way. And the reason it didn't happen was well anticipated by C. Wright Mills in the Power Elite. Writing of of the routinization of crisis and scandal, Mills declared there was really no energy for sustained or productive outrage: 'Among the mass distractions this feeling soon passes harmlessly away. For the American distrust of the high and mighty is a distrust without doctrine and without political focus; it is a distrust felt by the mass public as a series of more or less cynically expected disclosures.'"

Henwood hopes to have a more upbeat tone for the 30th anniversary of LBO, but in the meantime it's an excellent place to find why things work the way they don't. . . and why they don't know matter how hard we try.

LEFT BUSINESS OBSERVER
http://leftbusinessobserver.com/

WHERE WOULD JESUS BANK?

Do you know who is your banker is? Do you know what your banker is doing with your money right now? The corruption and violence we are witnessing today could only be happening with the complicity and leadership of the major banks. When we do business with these banks, we are "voting with our money" to finance the Wall Street-driven government and financial policies we say we despise.

We have the power to transform events by making some simple choices about who we bank with on Main Street. According to Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing during Bush I and successful Wall Street investment banker, this is the single most effective action that consumers can take to clean up government and dirty money.
In an audio seminar, Fitts illuminates the relationship between our banks and growing corruption; identifies the "Tapeworm Banking 20" -- our vote for the 20 worst offenders; walks you through how to affirm your existing bank or choose a new local bank or credit union; describes why a small number of people shifting their deposits locally can have a dramatic impact in a highly leveraged financial system; explains why the first step to decentralized energy solutions and new job creation is decentralizing our bank deposits.

http://www.solari.com/store/free_offer/

2006...

SUPER RICH EVADE AS MUCH AS $70 BILLION A YEAR IN TAXES

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, NY TIMES - So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes.

THE COST OF BEING POOR

ERIK ECKHOLM, NY TIMES - Drivers from low-income neighborhoods of New York, Hartford and Baltimore, insuring identical cars and with the same driving records as those from middle-class neighborhoods, paid $400 more on average for a year's insurance.

RISE OF THE SUPER-RICH

TERESA TRITCH, NY TIMES - Income inequality used to be about rich versus poor, but now it's increasingly a matter of the ultra rich and everyone else. The curious effect of the new divide is an economy that appears to be charging ahead, until you realize that the most of the people in it are being left in the dust. . . Figures show that from 2003 to 2004, the latest year for which there is data, the richest Americans pulled far ahead of everyone else. In the space of that one year, real average income for the top 1 percent of households - those making more than $315,000 in 2004 - grew by nearly 17 percent. For the remaining 99 percent, the average gain was less than 3 percent. . .

GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF THE DAY

How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?

The answer is indeterminate. Choose one of the following:

TWO: one to change the bulb and one to assume the existence of a ladder.

EIGHT: one to screw in the bulb and seven to hold everything else constant.

NONE: They are all waiting for an invisible hand.

[Alcom, S. and Solarz, B, Yale Economic Review]

STUDY: WAL-MARTS INCREASE POVERTY

PSYCHOLOGISTS FOUND BETTER THAN ECONOMISTS AT STOCK PICKING

BERNANKE: THE MUSIC VIDEO

BACKGROUND: R. Glenn Hubbard, a predecessor of Bernanke's at the Council of Economic Advisers, had long been seen as a candidate for the Fed job, but as Bernanke's star rose, so did the voices of Hubbard advocates, who saw him as a stronger conservative. Hubbard's role as architect of Bush's drive to all but eliminate taxes on dividends won him strong allies among supply-side economists, who view tax cuts as the surest path to economic growth. - Washington Post

KIDDING OURSELVES ABOUT POVERTY

BANKS OUT TO GET RID OF CREDIT UNIONS

43% OF FIRST TIME HOMEOWNERS LAST YEAR PUT NO MONEY DOWN

THE MIDDLE CLASS PRECIPICE

[A deep look at the problems of the middle class]

ELIZABETH WARREN, HARVARD MAGAZINE - Middle-class families have been threatened on every front. Rocked by rising prices for essentials as men's wages remained flat, both Dad and Mom have entered the workforce-a strategy that has left them working harder just to try to break even. Even with two paychecks, family finances are stretched so tightly that a very small misstep can leave them in crisis. As tough as life has become for married couples, single-parent families face even more financial obstacles in trying to carve out middle-class lives on a single paycheck. And at the same time that families are facing higher costs and increased risks, the old financial rules of credit have been rewritten by powerful corporate interests that see middle-class families as the spoils of political influence.

In just one generation, millions of mothers have gone to work, transforming basic family economics. The typical middle-class household in the United States is no longer a one-earner family, with one parent in the workforce and one at home full-time. Instead, the majority of families with small children now have both parents rising at dawn to commute to jobs so they can both pull in paychecks. . .

Today the median income for a fully employed male is $41,670 per year (all numbers are inflation-adjusted to 2004 dollars) - nearly $800 less than his counterpart of a generation ago. The only real increase in wages for a family has come from the second paycheck earned by a working mother. With both adults in the workforce full-time, the family's combined income is $73,770-a whopping 75 percent higher than the median household income in the early 1970s. But the gain in income has an overlooked side effect: family risk has risen as well. Today's families have budgeted to the limits of their new two-paycheck status. As a result, they have lost the parachute they once had in times of financial setback-a back-up earner (usually Mom) who could go into the workforce if the primary earner got laid off or fell sick. This "added-worker effect" could buttress the safety net offered by unemployment insurance or disability insurance to help families weather bad times. But today, a disruption to family fortunes can no longer be made up with extra income from an otherwise-stay-at-home partner.

http://www.harvard-magazine.com/on-line/010682.html

THE HIGH PRICE OF STOPPING BY STARBUCKS

WHY IT'S BETTER TO BE POOR IN NORWAY OR CANADA THAN IN THE U.S.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0414/p17s02-cogn.html