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Economics

Special Report | The Sequester: Week of April 14, 2013

There are a few ways fiscal talks could play out, but the probable result is gridlock and blame.

9 New Items including:

  • Sequestration Effects: Cuts Sting Communities Nationwide
  • March Madness
  • We're Not Broke
  • Government Sequestration Cuts Pale in Comparison to Rampant Fiscal Abuse
  • Sequester: The Rise of Republican Anarchists
  • Matt Taibbi | Sequester Makes Me Want to Strangle Both Sides
  • Austerity USA Begins March 1st
  • Billions for Banks, Nada for the Poor: Not Exactly a Compromise
  • The sequester and possible cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

RJ Matson

Sequestration Effects: Cuts Sting Communities Nationwide, Amanda Terkel & Sam Stein, Huffington Post

The grips of sequestration are just now beginning to be felt and the effects are already quite dramatic.

March Madness, Paul Bucheit, Nation of Change

  • The real madness is that human beings are suffering because of the tax games corporations play.
  • The Fifth Straight Year of Extreme Corporate Tax Avoidance
  • We're Not Broke

We're Not Broke, Films for Action

Government Sequestration Cuts Pale in Comparison to Rampant Fiscal Abuse, Lloyd Chapman, Huffingon Post

  • The practical and logical solutions to solving America's economic problems are simple. The Federal Reserve needs to be investigated, restructured and closely regulated immediately with full and open transparency. Eliminate the tax loopholes that have allowed the nation's largest and most successful corporations to defraud America out of trillions of dollars in tax revenue. And finally, reduce the Pentagon budget every year by the exact amount they seem to lose or can't account for. These three solutions will dramatically cut the federal budget, the deficit and dramatically increase tax revenue. No cuts to government services of any kind will be necessary.
  • We're Not Broke
  • Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality

Sequester: The Rise of Republican Anarchists, Bob Burnett, opednews.com <>

  • The March 1 sequester budget cuts are yet another product of crises manufactured by the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party. These Tea Party extremists have one objective: crush the federal government. Motivated by a strange brew of Old Testament Christianity and Ayn Rand's "Objectivism" they're a lethal force within the GOP -- Anarchists.
  • Matt Taibbi | Sequester Makes Me Want to Strangle Both Sides
  • Ralph Nader | Why Are Democrats So Defeatist?

Matt Taibbi | Sequester Makes Me Want to Strangle Both Sides,  Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

  • There are so many variables that neither side can possibly know the true outcome of a failure to make a deal – which means the only certainty is that what we're watching is irresponsibility on an epic scale.
  • Book Excerpt | "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free"
  • The Ignorance Caucus

Austerity USA Begins March 1st, Shamus Cooke, Workers Compass <>

  • The current plan for the austerity “sequester” cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs.
  • Paul Krugman | Global Austerity 'An Unethical Experimentation On Human Beings' 
  • Series | Socialism: Theory & Practice, Part 1

Billions for Banks, Nada for the Poor: Not Exactly a Compromise, Richard Eskow, Blog for Our Future <>

  • If you're not 'too big to fail,' you're out of luck, even with Obama's 'sequester.'
  • That’s injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations.
  • Sequester Madness: Into The Vast Inane

The sequester and possible cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Matt Lockshin, CREDO Action

  • The White House is poised to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, but luckily these Democrats are leading the fight to oppose cuts
  • The petition reads: "Thank you for standing up and not only opposing -- but promising to vote against -- any deal that cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. You are the true leaders in the fight to save our social safety net."
  • Pastors: It's Time to Speak Out for the Common Good

 

 

Does Capitalism Make You Happy?

  • Without the historically obsolete and parasitic capitalist class, the surplus wealth created by society could be spent on ensuring everyone’s basic needs are covered, allowing everybody more time to spend on things they find meaningful. 
  • As Engels said, socialism will represent humanity’s leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. Only in a socialist society would life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be a right, not only in the abstract and for the few, but for everybody.
  • Can Civilization Survive Capitalism?

Dana Cooper, Socialist Appeal

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editer John Stoltenberg

Tuesday, 02 April 2013 Ever since the birth of the United States of America, the slogan of the the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, has been an integral part of the foundation of capitalism.

In 1776, the “pursuit of happiness” meant the pursuit and accumulation of private property. Everyone—except slaves, Native Americans, and women—had the freedom to “make their own luck.” The United States was a land of plenty, where fertile fields, forests, lakes and mountains were just waiting to be “discovered,” acquired, and developed by industrious and enterprising people.

Full story…

Related:

 

Can Civilization Survive Capitalism? Noam Chomsky, In These Times

The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction.

 

 
Section(s): 

Can Civilization Survive Capitalism?

  • The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet.
  • The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction.

Noam Chomsky, In These Times

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Indigenous people protesting over climate change and mining. (KeithBacongco/Flickr/CreativeCommons)

March 5, 2013 | There is “capitalism” and then there is “really existing capitalism.”

The term “capitalism” is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the “too-big-to-fail” government insurance policy for banks.

Full story…

The World Trade Organization's "Papal" Conclave

  • At some point, we are going to have to move to a global governance system where trade is the “servant” of a global economy that works for communities, workers, and the environment.
  • Potato Chip Capitalism

Robin Broad, Triple Crisis

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WTO Director General Pascal Lamy at the Annual Meeting 2012 of the World Economic Forum. (Photo: Remy Steinegger / World Economic Forum)

Sunday, 07 April 2013 13:16 | Let’s start today’s trivia quiz with the Rome Papal conclave:  Name 2 of the last 3 popes. And, for a bonus question, tell us something about the process by which a new pope is chosen.

And now let’s switch to the Geneva WTO Director General conclave – or more accurately the choosing of the new head of the World Trade Organization: Name 2 of the last 3 WTO heads. Tell us something about the process by which a new Director General of the WTO is chosen. And, wild card question, name even 1 of the 9 candidates vying to be head of the WTO.

If you are like most people I surveyed, you know more about the selection of the pope than that of the WTO head.  And, even if you do know some of the WTO candidates, you probably don’t have much of a sense of who, if anyone, might be a better candidate for those of us who care about economic governance that balances social, environmental, and economic issues.

Full story…

Related:

Potato Chip Capitalism, Billy Wharton, The Socialist Webzine 

  • Or What to Do With a Socialist on Vacation
  • Elizabeth Warren Debunks GOP Talking Points on Minimum Wage

 

 

Potato Chip Capitalism

  • Or What to Do With a Socialist on Vacation
  • Elizabeth Warren Debunks GOP Talking Points on Minimum Wage

Billy Wharton, The Socialist Webzine

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06 Apr 2013 | Being an American requires accepting a certain level of delusion.  Going on vacation raises this level to new heights - especially when your destination is a factory tour.  In this case, I was headed to the Herr’s Potato Chip Factory just outside of Lancaster, PA for a free tour of the facilities.  It was a diplomatic mission to keep the peace in the family that turned into a look inside modern capitalism in America.

When you hear factory tour images straight out of Frederich Engel’s Condition of the English Working Class immediately come to mind.  Dangerous working conditions, child labor and endless workdays combined with squalid living conditions in the working class part of town.  Instead of this, I was met by Chipper the cartoon chipmunk mascot of Herr’s Potato Chips.

Full story…

 

Related:

Elizabeth Warren Debunks GOP Talking Points on Minimum Wage, TruthDig

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues her crusade against big financial institutions and businesses, this time tearing apart an argument by a restaurant owner who testified before a Senate panel Thursday that raising the minimum wage would force businesses like his to fire employees. 
  • Watch: Robert Reich Explains Why the Minimum Wage Should Be Raised
  • The 6 Economic Facts of Life in America That Allow the Rich to Run off with Our Wealth

 

Elizabeth Warren Debunks GOP Talking Points on Minimum Wage

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues her crusade against big financial institutions and businesses, this time tearing apart an argument by a restaurant owner who testified before a Senate panel Thursday that raising the minimum wage would force businesses like his to fire employees. 
  • Watch: Robert Reich Explains Why the Minimum Wage Should Be Raised
  • The 6 Economic Facts of Life in America That Allow the Rich to Run off with Our Wealth

TruthDig

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of all reader supported Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

When Warren pointed out during the hearing that McDonald’s could raise its wages to $10.10 an hour simply by increasing the cost of its meals 4 cents, David Rutigliano tried to argue that his full service restaurant doesn’t run the same way.

Mar 18, 2013 | Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., continues her crusade against big financial institutions and businesses, this time tearing apart an argument by a restaurant owner who testified before a Senate panel Thursday that raising the minimum wage would force businesses like his to fire employees. Much like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich did in this video, Warren dismantled that popular right-wing talking point on why the minimum wage should not be increased.

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Related:

Watch: Robert Reich Explains Why the Minimum Wage Should Be Raised, TruthDig

Mar 17, 2013 | “Raising the minimum wage from the current rate of $7.25 an hour to $9 should be a no-brainer,” Robert Reich says. The labor secretary during the Clinton administration argues, among other points, that putting more money in the pockets of the country’s lowest earners is not only fair, it would also help boost the economy.

The 6 Economic Facts of Life in America That Allow the Rich to Run off with Our Wealth, Les Leopold, AlterNet <>

  • It's not enough for the greedy rich to buy politicians. They also need to buy our minds. That's why they pay for all this misleading economic education. But if we master the basic economic facts of life, we won't get conned. And we will have a much better chance at building a more just and healthy economy.
  • Do you ever wonder why it takes the average family 47 years to make as much as a hedge fund honcho makes in one hour?
  • Viral Video Shows the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality
  • Matt Taibbi | 'The Bailouts Officially Created A Sucker Class'

 

 

The Confiscation of Bank Savings to “Save the Banks”

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research 

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  • Is the Cyprus Bank “Bail-in” a “dress rehearsal” for things to come?
  • Is  a “Savings Heist” in the European Union and North America envisaged which could result in the outright confiscation of bank deposits?
  • In Cyprus, the entire payments system has been disrupted leading to the demise of the real economy.
  • Pensions and wages are no longer paid. Purchasing power has collapsed.
  • The population is impoverished.
  • Small and medium sized enterprises are spearheaded into bankruptcy.
  • Cyprus is a country with a population of one million.
  • What would happen if similar ‘hair cut” procedures were to be applied in the U.S. or the European Union?

According to the Washington based Institute of International Finance (IIF) (right) which represents the consensus of the global financial establishment, “the Cyprus approach of hitting depositors and creditors when banks fail, would likely become a model for dealing with collapses elsewhere in Europe.” (Economic Times, March 27, 2013).

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Related:

The Confiscation Scheme Planned for US and UK Depositors, Ellen Brown, Public Banking Institute / Truthdig

  • Open Bank Resolution (OBR) is New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English’s favoured option dealing with a major bank failure. If a bank fails under OBR, all depositors will have their savings reduced overnight to fund the bank’s bail out.
  • It can happen here.  
  • How Congress Could Fix Its Budget Woes Permanently

 

Section(s): 

Austerity Can Kill You - Literally

A major new study examines the impacts of austerity on health care in Europe, focusing on Greece, Spain and Portugal, which have adopted rigid fiscal austerity policies. Its findings are worrying. Expenditure cuts in those countries have led to increased "strain on their health-care systems" while "suicides and outbreaks of infectious diseases are becoming more common in these countries, and budget cuts have restricted access to health care."

Julien Mercille, Truthout

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Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

(Image: Patient in bed via Shutterstock)

Tuesday, 02 April 2013 | Europe has championed austerity economics for several years now in reaction to the crisis in which it is engulfed, but growth has still not recovered and forecasts remain gloomy.

The problem is that cutting government spending in a downturn does not boost growth - rather, it shrinks the economy: the opposite of what is needed. Even the IMF, a traditional proponent of austerity, knows that fiscal consolidation has contractionary effects on the economy, and Europe's recent experience has confirmed this many times over.

Full story…

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