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The Plight of the Employed

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  • I don’t think I’d go so far as to say that there’s a deliberate effort to keep the economy weak; but corporate America certainly isn’t feeling much pain, and the plight of workers is actually a plus from their point of view.
  • Unemployed Americans Speak Out as Benefits are Slashed at Christmas

Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

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End This Depression Now coverDecember 24, 2013 | Mike Konczal writes about how Washington has lost interest in the unemployed, and what a scandal that is. He also, however, makes an important point that I suspect plays a significant role in the political economy of this scandal: these are lousy times for the employed, too.

Why? Because they have so little bargaining power. Leave or lose your job, and the chances of getting another comparable job, or any job at all, are definitely not good. And workers know it: quit rates, the percentage of workers voluntarily leaving jobs, remain far below pre-crisis levels, and very very far below what they were in the true boom economy of the late 90s.

Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate in Economics, is a New York Times columnist and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Full story…

Related:

Unemployed Americans Speak Out as Benefits are Slashed at Christmas, John Dodds, Truthout

  • "I am a single mother of four and was laid off almost six months ago. I have applied to at least four jobs a week every week and still haven't found a job that will support my family. I have a college degree and have always worked, till I was laid off, and will now have no choice but to turn to welfare if benefits are not extended. Please help!"
  • Temporary Work, Lasting Harm
  • Dire consequences on the way as emergency unemployment aid expires
  • Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump?
Section(s): 

Special Project | America's Financial Crisis: Week Ending December 22, 2013

“…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:

  • American Inequality in Six Charts
  • Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump?
  • The Superrich Don't Need Our Middle Class Infrastructure any more
  • The Surreal Logic Of The Debt Ceiling Deniers
  • The Top 6 Things We Could Be Doing To Kick-Start This Country
  • You Really Ought to Be More Terrified of the Debt Ceiling
  • How Austerity Wrecked the American Economy
  • RIP, the middle class: 1946-2013

David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

Milt Priggee 

American Inequality in Six Charts, John Cassidy, New Yorker 

  • M.I.T.’s Robert Solow suggested that, at U.S. levels of inequality, inequality (might be) retarding growth. Columbia’s Joseph Stiglitz and others have also made (the same argument).
  • Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

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Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump? Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

  • What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?
  • Why the Boeing machinists' fight matters
  • What if this is the end of recovery, the new "normal"?
  • Obama should have listened to Paul Krugman

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The Superrich Don't Need Our Middle Class Infrastructure any more,  Thom Hartmann , Truthout

  • Times have changed -- and the elites inhabit their own private economy.
  • 5 Ways Super-Rich Are Betraying America

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The Surreal Logic Of The Debt Ceiling Deniers, Jason Linkins, Huffington Post

  • The whole plan here is to hold the debt ceiling hostage in exchange for a series of demands. And they are making no offer in return -- raising the debt ceiling is what's supposed to be the concession.
  • The Reign of Morons Is Here

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The Top 6 Things We Could Be Doing To Kick-Start This Country, Brandon Weber, Upworthy

  • Here are the six steps we need to do pronto to get this country back on track.
  • Robert Reich's 'Inequality' movie: As influential as Al Gore's blockbuster?

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You Really Ought to Be More Terrified of the Debt Ceiling, Derek Thompson, Atlantic 

  • The truly scary thing about blowing through the debt limit isn't what we think will happen--—a scramble to prioritize payments, delayed checks to groups like veterans and senior citizens, and angry, confused investors. It's that we actually have no idea what will happen.
  • How Austerity Wrecked the American Economy

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How Austerity Wrecked the American Economy, Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

  • Republicans are fighting to cut spending, while America is trying to recover from the worst recession since WWII. Ted Cruz and the tea party are trying to shut down Washington and are instead losing sight of what‘s really wrong with the economy. And they are still working toward crippling the economy.
  • It's the Austerity, Stupid
  • Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills

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RIP, the middle class: 1946-2013, Edward McClelland, Salon

  • The 1 percent hollowed out the middle class and our industrial base. And Washington just let it happen
  • The economy isn’t coming back
Section(s): 

American Inequality in Six Charts

  • M.I.T.’s Robert Solow suggested that, at U.S. levels of inequality, inequality (might be) retarding growth. Columbia’s Joseph Stiglitz and others have also made (the same argument).
  • Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

John Cassidy, New Yorker 

 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Billy Wharton

 

Starbuck's Cafe LatteIf you like reading this article, consider contributing a cafe latte to all reader-supported Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

 

 

Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

 

November 18, 2013 | Last Friday, the Center for American Progress, the center-left think tank founded by Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta, held a conference to launch its new Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The new center, which is being funded by the Sandler Foundation, will finance academic research into the causes and effects of inequality, broadly conceived, and function as a hub for policy makers, journalists, and others involved in the subject.

 

It was an interesting morning, featuring some of the top researchers in the field, and I moderated one of the panel sessions. In some brief opening remarks, I noted that Washington has long had a number of centers promoting inequitable growth, so it only seems fair to have one supporting equitable growth. And having learned a good deal from the panelists, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the charts they brought with them. Taken together, the pictures convey a good deal of what we know about inequality. They also raise important questions about the channels through which it impacts economic growth and human development.

 

John Cassidy, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995, has written many, many articles for the magazine, on topics ranging from Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke to the Iraqi oil industry and the economics of Hollywood.

Full story…

Related:

Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs? Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy

  • Cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.
  • Ask Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz: With Borrowing Capped (Sequester), Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?
Section(s): 

Ask a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

  • Cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.
  • Sign the PetitionAsk Krugman, Reich, Stiglitz: With Borrowing Capped (Sequester), Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy

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Money PieOctober 11, 2013 | Cutting Social Security is the latest Republican ransom demand in exchange for letting the government re-open and avoiding default. [1]

What's even more breathtaking about this is that it's widely expected that a "Grand Bargain" budget deal demanded by Republicans would not only cut Social Security, but would also cancel currently planned cuts to the Pentagon budget.

In addition to being unfair to people who rely on Social Security and will rely on it in the future - a benefit we've already paid for through our payroll taxes - cutting Social Security to protect the Pentagon from cuts would destroy American jobs, because Social Security checks - and all other forms of domestic spending - boost the economy more than unnecessary Pentagon spending does.

This economic fact was proved in a 2011 study by economists at the University of Massachusetts.[2]

But most Americans don't know this fact yet because leading progressive economists - people like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and Joe Stiglitz - haven't made a point of telling people about it. [3]

We'd like to change that. Can you give us a hand?

We set up a petition at MoveOn to Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz: Almost 10,000 people have signed it. Can you sign and share the petition to help us get over 10,000? Then we'll share it with Krugman, Reich, and Stiglitz and ask them to respond.

Sign the PetitionAsk a Keynesian: With Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Here's the petition text:

"Prominent Keynesian economist "public intellectuals," like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and Joe Stiglitz should help educate the public about the fact that in the current federal budget political environment, with federal borrowing capped by the Budget Control Act and increased taxes on the super-rich judged politically off the table, more Pentagon spending will destroy American jobs. The money for increased Pentagon spending will come from cuts to domestic spending and increased taxes on the middle class, and taking money out of the domestic economy will destroy more jobs than the increased Pentagon spending will create."

Sign the PetitionPlease help us educate more Americans about the real trade-offs at stake by signing and sharing our petition.

Thanks for all you do to help redirect our national priorities from war to human needs.

Sign the PetitionP.S. I wrote about this campaign at Truthout. You can sign and share that here.
 

References:

1. "You'll Never Guess What's in the Latest Republican Ransom Note," Mike Hall, AFL-CIO, 10/09/2013

2. "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update," Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, December 2011

3. "Ask a Keynesian: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won't More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?" Robert Naiman, Truthout, 10/07/2013

 

Ralph Nader | Corporate Espionage Undermines Democracy

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  • It's not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation's largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.
  • The NSA is crippling America’s economy.

Ralph Nader, Reuters

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One Nation Under SurveillanceNovember 26, 2013 | It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

For these big companies with pliable ethics, if they don’t win political conflicts with campaign donations or lobbying power, then they play dirty. Very dirty.

That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations, by my colleagues at Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt.

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government.

Full story…

Related:

The NSA is crippling America’s economyPatrick Howell O'Neill, The Daily Dot

In the wake of spying revelations, US companies are reporting profit losses to the tune of billions.

 

The End of U.S. Capitalism

Politics Banner

  • Young people can see that the (capitalistic) system does not offer any solutions. They can see that a two-party system is not working for them. But what is the alternative? We (socialists) have to provide the alternative…
  • An interview with Seattle's new socialist councilmember, Kshama Sawant.

Josh Eidelson, Salon

Kshama SawantKshama Sawant, Salon / AP/Ted S. Warren

November 18, 2013 | On November 5, Seattle voters made Occupy activist and economics professor Kshama Sawant the first avowed socialist city council member in their city’s history – and the country’s first big city socialist council member in decades. In an interview Thursday – one day before her vote count lead spurred her opponent to concede the race – Sawant slammed Obama economics, suggested she could live to see the end of U.S. capitalism, and offered a socialist vision for transforming Boeing. A condensed version of our conversation follows.

It appears you’re on the cusp of winning a major city’s council race as a socialist. How did that happen?

Josh Eidelson was a union organizer for five years. He covers labor for Salon, Nation,  and In These Times.

Full story…

Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump?

  • What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?
  • Why the Boeing machinists' fight matters
  • What if this is the end of recovery, the new "normal"?
  • Obama should have listened to Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

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Austerity graphic

November 17, 2013 | Spend any time around monetary officials and one word you’ll hear a lot is “normalization.” Most though not all such officials accept that now is no time to be tightfisted, that for the time being credit must be easy and interest rates low. Still, the men in dark suits look forward eagerly to the day when they can go back to their usual job, snatching away the punch bowl whenever the party gets going.

But what if the world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?

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

Full story…

Related:

Why the Boeing machinists' fight matters, Ari Paul, Aljazeera America

Corporate Accountability & Workplace Banner

Boeing's fight against its machinists raises a terrifying possibility about U.S. capitalism. It appears that instead of industrial growth translating into national prosperity, the United States is beginning to conform to what economists call the Iron Law of Wages, which says the natural price of labor is subsistence. The only reasonable pay for workers, the theory goes, is enough to sustain them to live and work to produce value for their bosses and nothing more.

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Obama should have listened to Paul Krugman, Walden Bello, Salon

Why the Boeing machinists' fight matters

Corporate Accountability & Workplace Banner

  • Boeing's fight against its machinists raises a terrifying possibility about U.S. capitalism. It appears that instead of industrial growth translating into national prosperity, the United States is beginning to conform to what economists call the Iron Law of Wages, which says the natural price of labor is subsistence. The only reasonable pay for workers, the theory goes, is enough to sustain them to live and work to produce value for their bosses and nothing more.
  • Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump?

Ari Paul, Aljazeera America

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Machinist Colton Yalowicki at the Everett Machinists Union Hall during a rally on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Mark Mulligan/The Herald/AP

November 18, 2013 | In a one-sided vote on Nov. 13, unionized machinists in Everett, Wash., rejected a multiyear contract to build Boeing’s new 777x jetliner, choosing dignity over a paycheck. Their union — the International Association of Machinists District 751 — is opposing the profitable company's proposal that would have eviscerated workers' pensions and cut back on health care. Considered extremely long in U.S. labor relations (most contracts are for no more than five years), the eight-year contract proposed by Boeing would keep the union from striking and from negotiating for higher wages that keep up with inflation.

Boeing, in response, has threatened to move production to a nonunion state, which is why Washington has offered the company the biggest state tax subsidy in U.S. history ($8.7 billion over the next 16 years) and why union leadership urged a yes vote. The result was not only a stunning rebuke but also a testament to the gloomy idea that U.S. workers may never share in the prosperity of the companies they serve.

Ari Paul is a labour journalist in New York City, writing for the Nation, the American Prospect, al-Jazeera English and others.

Full story...

 

Related:

Paul Krugman | A Permanent Slump? Paul Krugman, New York (NY) Times

  • What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?
  • Why the Boeing machinists' fight matters
  • What if this is the end of recovery, the new "normal"?
  • Obama should have listened to Paul Krugman
 
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