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Economics

Special Project | America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending June 1, 2014

 

  • “…it seems that our remedies are instinctively those which aggravate the sickness: the remedies are expressions of the sickness itself“. --Thomas Merton
  • 8 New Items including:
    • The Piketty Panic
    • America’s rotting empire
    • The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare
    • America is Falling Behind, Way Behind
    • Why the Minimum Wage Should Really Be Raised to $15 an Hour
    • Who Controls our Government? The Psychopathic Corporate Elites of America
    • Welcome to Satan’s Ball
    • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic? Part II

David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

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The Piketty Panic, Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

It has been amazing to watch conservatives, one after another, denounce Mr. Piketty as a Marxist. Even Mr. Pethokoukis, who is more sophisticated than the rest, calls “Capital” a work of “soft Marxism,” which only makes sense if the mere mention of unequal wealth makes you a Marxist.

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America’s rotting empire, CJ Werleman, AlterNet  

  • Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure
  • More proof we're in rapid decline: Not a single U.S. city currently ranks among the world's most livable
  • We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America?
  • 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

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The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare, David Cay Johnston, Al-Jazeera America

  • In fact, the numbers significantly understate the true value of taxpayer subsidies made by state and local government agencies to businesses, , including cash giveaways, building and land transfers, tax abatements and steep discounts on electric and water bills, for reasons explained here.
  • 10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

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America is Falling Behind, Way Behind, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
  • Part 1: We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America? 
  • Part 2: 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

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014/05/04/148022_600.jpgRandall Enos

Why the Minimum Wage Should Really Be Raised to $15 an Hour, Robert Reich, TruthDig

  • We should be raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour.
  • Here are seven reasons why.
  • Series | Minimum Wage: Part 1, How taxpayers subsidize low-wage workers

 

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Who Controls our Government? The Psychopathic Corporate Elites of America, Richard Gale and Dr. Gary Null, Global Research

  • Is it only me or is there something fundamentally flawed with the people who are running our government, including the autocrats, technocrats and bureaucrats who number in the hundreds of thousands? Does it bother you that the Wall Street banks and major corporations, many of our academia and religious institutions and our medical, military and intelligence gathering complexes, Big Pharma and Big Insurance have their needs met at the expense of everyone else? They control our government. We don’t. Instead we fear our government.
  • Welcome to Satan’s Ball
  • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?

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Welcome to Satan’s Ball, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Our elites have established the most efficient system of mass surveillance in history. They have abolished most of our civil liberties. They have trashed our economy for their own personal gain. They have looted state treasuries and thrown working men and women aside. Satan is again holding a great ball. You are not invited. I am not invited. Only the gangsters will be there. Putin will be an honored guest. So will Obama.

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Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic? Part II, Gary G. Kohls, Duty to Warn

  • "Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person." -- Anonymous
  • Series | Are Polluting Mining Corporations like PolyMet Sociopathic?, Part I 
  • Duluth doctors: PolyMet study skips health impacts

 

Section(s): 

The Piketty Panic

It has been amazing to watch conservatives, one after another, denounce Mr. Piketty as a Marxist. Even Mr. Pethokoukis, who is more sophisticated than the rest, calls “Capital” a work of “soft Marxism,” which only makes sense if the mere mention of unequal wealth makes you a Marxist.

Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

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jackets/9780674430006.jpg April 24, 2014 | “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the new book by the French economist Thomas Piketty, is a bona fide phenom-enon. Other books on economics have been best sellers, but Mr. Piketty’s contribution is serious, discourse-changing scholarship in a way most best sellers aren’t. And conservatives are terrified. Thus James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute warns in National Review that Mr. Piketty’s work must be refuted, because otherwise it “will spread among the clerisy and reshape the political economic landscape on which all future policy battles will be waged.”

Well, good luck with that. The really striking thing about the debate so far is that the right seems unable to mount any kind of substantive counterattack to Mr. Piketty’s thesis. Instead, the response has been all about name-calling — in particular, claims that Mr. Piketty is a Marxist, and so is anyone who considers inequality of income and wealth an important issue.

The Nobel Prize-winning New York Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman comments on economics and politics.

Full story … 

Related:

How Piketty's Bombshell Book Blows Up Libertarian Fantasies, Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

Sorry, Ayn Rand. Your fiction has been exposed as, well, fiction.

 

'Trickle-down transit' doesn't work; reboot Southwest LRT design

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  • SWLRT, designed years ago under different priorities, needs to be redesigned. Mayor Hodges and the City Council must deny municipal consent to this SWLRT design. They must ensure Minneapolis’ equity priorities for transit are truly realized within the design of regional plans. 
  • Tracking the Green Line: Will urban renewal by transit turn into poor-people removal?

Patty Schmitz and Julie Sabo, MinnPost

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article_detail/14222210162_b86b71f8e6_z.jpgRidership projections for Southwest Light Rail tell a story of an alignment designed to avoid urban communities, not serve them. Courtesy of Metro Transit/Eric Wheeler

05/22/14 | There has been much coverage in the media promoting the importance of the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) project as a crucial element needed in order to achieve equity in this region. While this seems like a convincing argument for moving the currently designed alignment forward, we would suggest that SWLRT is actually “trickle-down transit.”

Trickle-down transit borrows its catch phrase from “trickle-down economics,” where it is assumed that economic benefits provided to the upper-income areas/people will “trickle down” to those with the greatest needs. But, instead, it actually produces a transit system that provides unequal service to communities along geographic, economic and racial lines. Where these economic and service disparities between exurban/suburban and urban communities already exist, as described in the Brookings Institution’s Mind the Gap study, trickle-down transit acts to make them greater and further entrench them as governing patterns of growth.

Patty Schmitz and Julie Sabo are members of LRT Done Right, a grassroots community group. Sabo is also a former senator in the Minnesota Legislature, where she served on the Transportation Committee. 

Full story … 

Related:

Tracking the Green Line: Will urban renewal by transit turn into poor-people removal? Marlys Harris, MinnPost

While the Green Line may attract new residents who will commute to high-paying jobs in the two downtowns, current residents who moved in before the line was built may still have to travel by car to less accessible areas of the metro. In that case, rising rents will push them out.

America’s rotting empire

  • Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure
  • More proof we're in rapid decline: Not a single U.S. city currently ranks among the world's most livable
  • We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America?
  • 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

CJ Werleman, AlterNet 

shutterstock_177265289.jpg Shutterstock

Thursday, May 8, 2014 | “The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history.

The result?

America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America, and God Hates You. Hate Him Back. 

Full story … 

Related:

We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America? Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

America's rich are surging ahead, but the rest are falling behind. What happened?

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5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial, Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

At each stage of life, we are being stunted as human beings.

 

Tracking the Green Line: Will urban renewal by transit turn into poor-people removal?

While the Green Line may attract new residents who will commute to high-paying jobs in the two downtowns, current residents who moved in before the line was built may still have to travel by car to less accessible areas of the metro. In that case, rising rents will push them out.

Marlys Harris, MinnPost

13473599743_833f21f269_z.jpg In cities across the nation, new transit lines see developers bidding up the cost of land, even before the train starts operating. Courtesy of Metro Transit

05/16/14 | As you've no doubt heard, unless you've been on an extended visit to Planet Beta Zeta V, the Green Line — aka, the Central Corridor LRT — will have its grand opening June 14. The train will provide a connection between the Twin Cities' two downtowns — though how efficient that connection will be is still an open question. Test runs have clocked the trip at a full hour.

In response to questions about that, Susan Haigh, chair of the Metropolitan Council, which is in charge of the line's construction and operation, asserted Wednesday that Metro Transit is still working on syncing up signals. Anyway, "Not everybody will ride it end-to-end," added Haigh at a press conference to draw attention to the $2.5 billion in new residential and commercial construction that has occurred within a half mile of the LRT

A Minnesota native, Marlys Harris has been an investigative reporter and editor with specialties in consumer protection and finance for Money Magazine and Consumer Reports. She has a master’s degree in urban planning from Hunter College Graduate School of the City University of New York.

Full story … 

Section(s): 

The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare

 

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  • In fact, the numbers significantly understate the true value of taxpayer subsidies made by state and local government agencies to businesses, , including cash giveaways, building and land transfers, tax abatements and steep discounts on electric and water bills, for reasons explained here.
  • 10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You

David Cay Johnston, Al-Jazeera America

I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

src.adapt.960.high.1393513920058.jpgAn Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off for a display at the 50th Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport near Paris in June 2013. Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

February 25, 2014 | State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows.

David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at the New York Times, teaches business, tax and property law of the ancient world at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the best-selling author of "Perfectly Legal", "Free Lunch" and "The Fine Print" and editor of the new anthology "Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality."

Full story … 

Related:

10 Corporate Behemoths Stifling Competition and Delivering Awful Service to You, Alex Henderson, AlterNet

  • Customers benefit when actual competition occurs. But that's rare these days.
  • Here are 10 mammoth corporations that detest free-market competition and do everything they can to stamp it out or greatly reduce it.
  • The Kochs’ Fig Leaf
Section(s): 

America is Falling Behind, Way Behind

  • The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
  • Part 1: We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America? 
  • Part 2: 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America?

America's rich are surging ahead, but the rest are falling behind. What happened?

Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Jeanette Dietl

April 23, 2014  |  Fancy living up in Canada? Granted, it’s a bit chilly. But the middle class up there has just blown by the U.S. as the world’s most affluent. America’s wealthy are leaping ahead of the rest of much of the globe, but the middle class is falling behind. So are the poor. That’s the sobering news from the latest research put out by LIS, a group based in Luxembourg and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

After taxes, the Canadian middle class now has a higher income than its American counterpart. And many European countries are closing in on us. Median incomes in Western European countries are still a bit lower than those of the U.S., but the gap in several countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, is significantly smaller than it was a decade ago. However, if you take into account the cost of things like education, retirement and healthcare in America, those European countries’ middle classes are in much better shape than ours because the U.S. government does not provide as much for its citizens in these areas. So the income you get has to be saved for these items.

Lynn Stuart Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project.

Full story … 



Part 2: 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

At each stage of life, we are being stunted as human beings.

Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

Photo Credit: ollyy / Shutterstock.com

April 19, 2014  |  You would think that by the 21st century, we would know something about what it takes for humans to live fulfilling lives. After all, we’ve witnessed enormous advances in science, psychology, sociology, and related fields over the past couple of centuries.

The great mystery is that we seem to be doing worse, not better.

Clearly, a lack of information isn’t the problem. Between the academic conferences, whole sections of bookstores and armies of pundits like Harvard psychologist (and Prudential spokesman) Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling Upon Happiness, we are given the secrets of well-being and offered reams of data, advice and lessons on what to seek and what to avoid.

Lynn Stuart Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project.

Full story …

Section(s): 

Krugman | Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

  • 'Even those of you who talk about the 1%, you don't really get what's going on. You're living in the past.'
  • New Study Finds the U.S. Is Not a Democracy

Jon Queally, Common Dreams

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krugman_moyers.jpg (Credit: Moyers & Company) 

Friday, April 18, 2014 | In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday Apr 18), Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world "on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth."

The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the "1% versus the 99%" do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing.

Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams

Full story … 

Related:

New Study Finds the U.S. Is Not a Democracy, Natasha Hakimi Zapata, Truthdig

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  • So What Is It?
  • Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy
  • Noam Chomsky | U.S. Politics Are Now 'Pure Savagery'
Section(s): 

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