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Paul Krugman Reveals the Outrageous Con Job Behind the Savage GOP Budget

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  • "The modern G.O.P.’s raw fiscal dishonesty is something new in American politics."
  • Richer and Poorer: How much inequality can a democracy stand?

Janet Allon, AlterNet

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March 20, 2015 | It can be tough, Paul Krugman allows in Friday's column, to keep up the level of outrage at Republican lawmakers who do not seem to be in any way bound to the rules of honor or honesty in their budget proposal. Like, not at all.

"Every year the party produces a budget that allegedly slashes deficits," Krugman opens, "but which turns out to contain a trillion-dollar 'magic asterisk' — a line that promises huge spending cuts and/or revenue increases, but without explaining where the money is supposed to come from.

Janet Allon is an assistant managing editor and columinst at AlterNet.

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Richer and Poorer: How much inequality can a democracy stand? Jill LePore, New Yorker

  • Accounting for inequality.
  • People are living — and dying — out in the cold.

 

 

Richer and Poorer: How much inequality can a democracy stand?

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  • Accounting for inequality.
  • People are living — and dying — out in the cold.

Jill LePore, New Yorker

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

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150316_r26240-320.jpgRobert Putnam focusses on the widening gap between rich kids and poor kids. Credit Illustration by Oliver Munday

March 16, 2015 | For about a century, economic inequality has been measured on a scale, from zero to one, known as the Gini index and named after an Italian statistician, Corrado Gini, who devised it in 1912, when he was twenty-eight and the chair of statistics at the University of Cagliari. If all the income in the world were earned by one person and everyone else earned nothing, the world would have a Gini index of one. If everyone in the world earned exactly the same income, the world would have a Gini index of zero. The United States Census Bureau has been using Gini’s measurement to calculate income inequality in America since 1947. Between 1947 and 1968, the U.S. Gini index dropped to .386, the lowest ever recorded. Then it began to climb.

Income inequality is greater in the United States than in any other democracy in the developed world. Between 1975 and 1985, when the Gini index for U.S. households rose from .397 to .419, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Gini indices of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, and Finland ranged roughly between .200 and .300, according to national data analyzed by Andrea Brandolini and Timothy Smeeding. But historical cross-country comparisons are difficult to make; the data are patchy, and different countries measure differently. The Luxembourg Income Study, begun in 1983, harmonizes data collected from more than forty countries on six continents. According to the L.I.S.’s adjusted data, the United States has regularly had the highest Gini index of any affluent democracy. In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a Gini index of .476.

Jill LePore, a staff writer, has been contributing to the New Yorker since 2005.

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People are living — and dying — out in the cold, Jerry Fleischaker, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

  • You may know this on an abstract level, but not tangibly. May our awareness change.
  • In a US first, New Orleans finds homes for all its homeless veterans
  • 100 Years of Homeless Veterans 

Section(s): 

Series | Capitalism Unmasked: Part 3: Profiting From Market Failure: How Today's Capitalists Bring Bad Things to Life

AlterNet Editor's Note: When harmful beliefs plague a population, you can bet that the 1% is benefiting. This article is part of a new AlterNet series, "Capitalism Unmasked," edited by Lynn Parramore and produced in partnership with author Douglas Smith and Econ4 to expose the myths and lies of unbridled capitalism and show the way to a better future.

Douglas K. Smith, AlterNet

images_1341759918_dangersign.jpgJuly 9, 2012 | The long-running General Electric slogan sums up what capitalist cheerleaders love to say about markets: "We bring good things to life."

But is it really true? In reality, some capitalists have figured out how to profit by actually bringing bad things to life.

Today, market forces organize, select and direct the production of goods and services in ways that would amaze and startle our ancestors. Consider the automobile: designed, engineered, provisioned, manufactured, marketed, sold and serviced by webs of hundreds of different organizations across the planet. Amazing. And a tribute to what’s possible through market successes.

Douglas K. Smith is the co-founder of Econ4 and author of "On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me."

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Part 2: How Out-of-Control Credit Markets Threaten Liberty, Democracy and Economic Security

The awful experience of the Great Depression made clear to many economists and laymen alike that credit is at the heart of a functioning capitalist system. Without access to credit, many businesses die and many individuals and households run out of money and go bankrupt.

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Part 1: Fifty Shades of Capitalism: Pain and Bondage in the American Workplace

The symbol of capitalism was lately a vampire. Enter the CEO with nipple clamps.

Series | Capitalism Unmasked: Part 2: How Out-of-Control Credit Markets Threaten Liberty, Democracy and Economic Security

AlterNet Editor's Note: When harmful beliefs plague a population, you can bet that the 1% is benefiting. This article is part of a new AlterNet series, "Capitalism Unmasked," edited by Lynn Parramore and produced in partnership with author Douglas Smith and Econ4 to expose the myths and lies of unbridled capitalism and show the way to a better future.

Edward Harrison, AlterNet

article_imgs6/6617-we-the-corporations-051912.jpgJuly 6, 2012 | The awful experience of the Great Depression made clear to many economists and laymen alike that credit is at the heart of a functioning capitalist system. Without access to credit, many businesses die and many individuals and households run out of money and go bankrupt.

Yet in popular media accounts from the Great Depression, the focus is almost always on the stock market and the Great Crash of 1929. You hardly ever hear that it was the contraction of credit and the seizing up of credit markets that made the Great Depression so traumatic.

Edward Harrison is the founder of the Credit Writedowns blog.

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Related: 

Part 1: Fifty Shades of Capitalism: Pain and Bondage in the American Workplace

The symbol of capitalism was lately a vampire. Enter the CEO with nipple clamps.

SYRIZA bows to banks, capitalists take aim at democracy

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  • The extension of the Memorandum shows that within the confines of the European Union, and the capitalist system more broadly, fundamental change is impossible. This makes the activities of revolutionary forces around the world all the more crucial.
  • Financial Warfare and the EU Showdown: Greece Takes on the Vampire Squid

Walter Smolarek, Liberation News

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photo_verybig_166268.jpg Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem (left) and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (right) speak during a press conference following a meeting at the Finance Ministry in Athens, Greece, Jan. 30

Feb 22, 2015 | On Feb. 20, the new Greek government led by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) signed an agreement with the Eurogroup, composed of the finance ministers of all the countries that use the Euro currency. Upon assuming control of the government after last month’s election, SYRIZA declared that the hated Memorandum—the agreement between heavily indebted Greece and its creditors trading money for bank bailouts in return for devastating austerity measures—was over. This has been proven false. The Feb. 20 agreement extends the Memorandum for four months and commits the new government to all of its basic features for the foreseeable future.

The agreement states, “The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honor their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely.” SYRIZA intends to make sure the banks get their money.

Walter Smolarek is a reporter for Liberation News, the newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

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Financial Warfare and the EU Showdown: Greece Takes on the Vampire Squid, Ellen Brown, Global Research

  • Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a “Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holiday” if they “vote wrong.” But they have been bullied for too long and are saying “no more.”
  • Syriza’s historic win puts Greece on collision course with Europe
  • The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants to Tell You

The War on Children: No Bankster Left Behind

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  • The United States is one of the few countries in the world that puts children in supermax prisons, tries them as adults, incarcerates them for exceptionally long periods of time, defines them as super predators, pepper sprays them for engaging in peaceful protests, and, in an echo of the discourse of the war on terror, describes them as 'teenage time bombs.' 
  • Part 1: Nearly Half Of Low-Income Kids Don't Eat Breakfast.
  • Part 2: Aid to Needy Often Excludes the Poorest in America

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Nearly Half Of Low-Income Kids Don't Eat Breakfast. 

Here's 1 Way To Fix That

Eleanor Goldberg, Huffington Post

n-BREAKFAST-AT-SCHOOL-large570.jpg02/16/2015 | Hunger is on the rise among children in the U.S., and though there are systems in place to make sure low-income kids are fed at school, a concerning number of struggling students aren’t eating breakfast.

One in five kids relied on food stamps last year, yet nearly half of low-income children didn’t sit down to the most important meal of the day, according to a recent report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Eleanor Goldberg is the Editor of HuffPost Impact.

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Part 2: Aid to Needy Often Excludes the Poorest in America

Assistance to needy Americans has grown at a gallop since the mid-1980s, giving a hand up to the disabled, the working poor and married couples with children. At the same time, though, government aid directed at the nation’s poorest individuals has shrunk.

Patricia Cohen, New York (NY) Times

17SAFETYNET-articleLarge.jpgCharles Constance, 53, has been unable to find steady work. Until recently, he and his 9-year old son, Pablo, lived at a homeless shelter in New Orleans. Credit William Widmer for the New York Times

Feb. 16, 2015 | The safety net helped keep Camille Saunders from falling, but not Charles Constance.

The difference? Ms. Saunders has a job, and Mr. Constance does not. And therein lies a tale of a profound shift in government support for low-income Americans at a time when stagnating wages and unstable schedules have kept many workers living near or below the poverty line.

Patricia Cohen: I write about economics for the New York Times, and am the author of In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age.

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Obama Is Leading the Way Toward Economic Catastrophe

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The misdirection of government power suggests that many leaders don't believe things were changed that much by the breakdown of 2007. They are still looking backwards, complacently doing the same stuff that failed sixty and eighty years ago.

William Greider, the Nation 

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Scott Stantis 

February 9, 2015 | Disregard the happy talk from the Obama White House. The stagnant global economy remains at the precipice of something worse unfolding—full-blown deflation. And the so-called recovery in the US economy remains shaky, despite good employment numbers. Here and abroad, the governing authorities seem to have forgotten the most basic nature of our situation. We live now in a globalized economy where one nation's cold can lead to another country's heart attack. Their ignorance is shocking, but also dangerous.

In fact, the US and other leading economies are beginning to mimic some of the same grave errors governments committed in the distant past, circa 1929, when spreading collapses of banks and financial markets morphed into the Great Depression. I am not predicting such a catastrophic outcome, not yet anyway. But the risk is present. The road to the Great Depression was paved with similarly myopic strategies. This president is not Herbert Hoover. But he might someday be remembered as Wrong-Way Obama.

William Greider, a prominent political journalist and author, has been a reporter for more than 35 years for newspapers, magazines and television. Over the past two decades, he has persistently challenged mainstream thinking on economics. 

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