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Next Time Someone Argues For 'Trickle-Down' Economics, Show Them This

  • The highest-earning 20 percent of Americans have been making more and more over the past 40 years. Yet no other boats have risen; in fact, they're sinking. Over the same 40 years, the lowest-earning 60 percent of Americans have been making less and less.
  • Obama’s low-wage “recovery”

Kathleen Miles, Huffington Post

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2/6/2014 | Conservatives like to say that "a rising tide lifts all boats." In other words, if an executive makes $20 million a year, his income will eventually trickle down into the rest of the economy and ultimately benefit poor people.

But that theory hasn't exactly proven true. The highest-earning 20 percent of Americans have been making more and more over the past 40 years. Yet no other boats have risen; in fact, they're sinking. Over the same 40 years, the lowest-earning 60 percent of Americans have been making less and less.

Kathleen Miles is Associate Editor for HuffPostLA. She earned her BA from UC Berkeley, where she studied Political Economy of Non-Industrialized Studies. She has worked in labor, education and politics.

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Related:

Obama’s low-wage “recovery”, Jerry White, World Socialist Website

  • The experience of the Obama administration, which has overseen the greatest explosion of social inequality in US history, while accelerating the attack on democratic rights and war-mongering policies of his Republican predecessor, has provoked widespread disgust and anger. The president’s election-year rhetoric about “equality” and his proposals for token “reforms” is largely falling on deaf ears.
  • Mass unemployment in America

The Zombie Numbers That Rule the U.S. Economy

  • Figures like gross domestic product were appropriate for their own time. But today, they paint a consistently misleading portrait of America.
  • How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents
  • Obama’s low-wage “recovery”

Zachary Karabell, The Atlantic

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Reuters 

Feb 21 2014 | This Thursday the Conference Board, a global business association, released its monthly index of “leading economic indicators.” Like the unemployment and inflation, housing starts, G.D.P. changes and other figures, these numbers arrive in metronomic waves. Financial services like Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Reuters blast them out the moment they’re released. Stock markets will often respond within seconds. Commentators and policy makers attribute to them a near-cosmic significance. 

We act as if they are markers from time immemorial, but in fact they were invented for modern industrial nations after the Depression and World War II and are now seriously outdated.

Zachary Karabell is Head of Global Strategy at Envestnet, a financial services firm, and author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule Our World.

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Related:

How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents, Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

  • Cities, states, advocates and academics have known for years that (the present) measure of who is poor undercounts millions of Americans. 
  • False stats.
  • The Zombie Numbers That Rule the U.S. Economy
  • The poverty that Paul Ryan ignores

###

Obama’s low-wage “recovery” Jerry White, World Socialist Website

  • The experience of the Obama administration, which has overseen the greatest explosion of social inequality in US history, while accelerating the attack on democratic rights and war-mongering policies of his Republican predecessor, has provoked widespread disgust and anger. The president’s election-year rhetoric about “equality” and his proposals for token “reforms” is largely falling on deaf ears.
  • Mass unemployment in America

Obama’s low-wage “recovery”

  • The experience of the Obama administration, which has overseen the greatest explosion of social inequality in US history, while accelerating the attack on democratic rights and war-mongering policies of his Republican predecessor, has provoked widespread disgust and anger. The president’s election-year rhetoric about “equality” and his proposals for token “reforms” is largely falling on deaf ears.
  • Mass unemployment in America

Jerry White, World Socialist Website

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

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Another%20World%20Rainbow.jpg31 January 2014 | President Obama’s State of the Union address this week coincided with the release of several year-end profit reports. Profits for the firms listed on the S&P 500 stock market index jumped 11 percent in 2013, in large part because of declining wages and the increased exploitation of American workers.

In his national address Tuesday night, Obama acknowledged that “corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened.” The “cold, hard fact,” he added, “is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by—let alone get ahead.”

Jerome "Jerry" White is an American politician and journalist, reporting for the World Socialist Web Site. He is a member of the Socialist Equality Party of the United States.

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Related:

Money_PieMass unemployment in America, World Socialist Website

  • 11 February 2014 | Speaking Friday in advance of signing a bill slashing $8.7 billion from the food stamp program, President Barack Obama hailed the dismal jobs report for January released earlier that day. Wall Street also reacted enthusiastically, rallying to send the Dow Jones Industrial average higher by 160 points.
  • The US economy created 113,000 jobs in January, according to Friday’s report, far fewer than the 189,000 economists had predicted. It was the second consecutive month of slow job growth, following December’s increase of 75,000.

 

Section(s): 

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 3, Malign Confusion about Growth, Economic Growth or “Degrowth”: Which Way Forward?

New Economic Perspectives

Ultimately, if economics is to become a relevant and realistic discipline, it must confront the real physical world which economies have transformed but economics has not measured or accounted for in relevant physical aspects like carbon emissions and other dimensions of ecological footprint.  An exclusive focus on growth or degrowth as “good” or “bad” or vice-versa will lead to mismanagement of an economy, even one that is attempting a crash-course in emissions reductions.

Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

Austerity_Traffic_Warning_SignWednesday, 25 December, 2013 | As action is required today and in the near future, though, it is reasonable to assume that production will be organized via some form of a capitalist organization of firms and the motivation of economic actors to achieve monetary profits/savings.  In the period of transition to a new energy economy, the government sector and budget will play an enlarged and leading role in financing and regulating the transition.

Targeting net degrowth over a period of years, perhaps a decade, might or might not inhibit the development of the “greener” sectors of the energy and transport economy exactly because these sectors have to play “catch-up” in the area of infrastructure.  The most secure way to build out these sectors in terms of minimizing technology risk, is to deploy renewable energy generators, some on a vast scale, heavy and light electric rail infrastructure, electric road and other grid-tied systems not dependent on advances in battery technology or availability of moderately scarce elements like lithium.  These systems require as construction materials emissions-intensive steel and concrete on a very large scale.  Innovations may cut these emissions substantially though in the foreseeable future not completely.   Various commercial interests are claiming they have a breakthrough on the energy storage or generation side which would diminish the need for these investments but currently there is no certain alternative to the creation of some massive earthworks.

Michael Hoexter writes on Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency: Policy and Marketing; Politics of a Sustainable Future; and Meta-economics: Science, Subjectivity and Economic Policy

Full story…

Related: 

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 2, Economic Growth or “Degrowth”: Which Way Forward? Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

  • The earth’s climate is facing tipping points beyond which a recognizable human civilization will be almost impossible to maintain due to the expansion of inhospitable or entirely uninhabitable climate zones, destruction of existing human settlements by water and weather, and the destruction of co-evolved species (including food) upon which we depend.
  • Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us' 

###

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us' Michael HoexterNew Economic Perspectives

  • Besides inspiring the reduced level of government funding we are now seeing in the US and elsewhere, the deficit hysteria campaign is threatening to undermine what remains of the American social safety net that helped form and support the American middle class over the past 70 years.
  • State to cut Medicaid benefits for the elderly
Section(s): 

Special Project | America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending February 2, 2014

  • “…it seems that our remedies are instinctively those which aggravate the sickness: the remedies are expressions of the sickness itself“. --Thomas Merton
  • 9 New Items including:
    • Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 2, Economic Growth or “Degrowth”
    • The global plutocracy
    • Schafer | Why handouts are a bad way for state to help companies
    • Everyday Low Wages at Walmart: Brought to You by Government Policy
    • NAFTA, Twenty Years After: A Disaster
    • The Scholars Who Shill for Wall Street
    • Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us'
    • Dire consequences on the way as emergency unemployment aid expires
    • Robert Scheer | Progressives On the Take

David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

RJ Matson

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 2, Economic Growth or “Degrowth”: Which Way Forward? Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

  • The earth’s climate is facing tipping points beyond which a recognizable human civilization will be almost impossible to maintain due to the expansion of inhospitable or entirely uninhabitable climate zones, destruction of existing human settlements by water and weather, and the destruction of co-evolved species (including food) upon which we depend.
  • Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us' 

###

The global plutocracy, World Socialist Website 

  • There is no parallel in human history to the immense concentration of wealth that exists today, nor to the extremes of parasitism and decadence that constitute the “new normal.” Contemporary capitalism—what the ruling class and its political and media flunkies call the “free enterprise system”—has created a world in which every policy decision is dictated by the need to protect and increase the wealth of an 
  • infinitesimal portion of the world’s population.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts

###

Schafer | Why handouts are a bad way for state to help companies, Lee Schafer, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune 

  • Subsidizing an employer in any particular town or state may result in job gains there, but the overall economy doesn’t grow as fast as it would without that kind of subsidy, in part because some taxpayers’ money gets diverted from public investments such as education or transportation networks.
  • How Corporate Giveaways to Applebee’s, Sears, and Other Companies Suck the Lifeblood from Your Community

###

Everyday Low Wages at Walmart: Brought to You by Government Policy, Dean Baker, Huffington Post

  • When Congress decides to give us a budget that unnecessarily raises the unemployment rate, it is also deciding to put downward pressure on the wages of low-paid workers. This is a policy decision to redistribute income upward, even if the people in Congress have no clue what they are doing.
  • The Wal-Mart You Don't Know

###

NAFTA, Twenty Years After: A Disaster, Jeff Faux, Huffington Post

 

  • By any measure, NAFTA and its sequels has been a major contributor to the rising inequality of incomes and wealth that Barack Obama bemoans in his speeches. Yet today -- channeling Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton -- the president proposes two more such trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership with eleven Pacific Rim countries and a free trade agreement with Europe.
  • Secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Revealed

###

Mike Lane

The Scholars Who Shill for Wall Street, Lee Fang, The Nation 

###

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us', Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

  • Besides inspiring the reduced level of government funding we are now seeing in the US and elsewhere, the deficit hysteria campaign is threatening to undermine what remains of the American social safety net that helped form and support the American middle class over the past 70 years.
  • State to cut Medicaid benefits for the elderly

###

Dire consequences on the way as emergency unemployment aid expires, Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

  • “People are going to lose their homes, their cars, the ability to pay their bills, their utilities, their mortgages, even maintain a phone or Internet service,” said [Mitchell] Hirsch, with the [National Employment Law Project].
  • Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority
  • Just Because Congress Cut a Budget Deal Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good One

###

Robert Scheer | Progressives On the Take, Robert Scheer, TruthDig

  • The Podesta brothers are the faces of the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party that, like the president himself, will talk a good game of reducing income inequality, while catering to the interests of the very corporations that have initiated the problem. 
  • It is not surprising then that in [Obama's] major speech on income inequality, there was no mention of the role of the big banks in fostering this inequality.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts
Section(s): 

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 2, Economic Growth or “Degrowth”: Which Way Forward?

New Economic Perspectives Banner

  • The earth’s climate is facing tipping points beyond which a recognizable human civilization will be almost impossible to maintain due to the expansion of inhospitable or entirely uninhabitable climate zones, destruction of existing human settlements by water and weather, and the destruction of co-evolved species (including food) upon which we depend.
  • Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us' 

Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

Austerity Measures graphicTueday, 24 December, 2013 | Lately, climate scientists have stepped into the gap where economists have generally feared to tread and have suggested that intentional “de-growth” is the only hope to stop the rising emissions associated with economic development and growth.  No news to anyone who follows developments in climate science, the earth’s climate is facing tipping points beyond which a recognizable human civilization will be almost impossible to maintain due to the expansion of inhospitable or entirely uninhabitable climate zones, destruction of existing human settlements by water and weather, and the destruction of co-evolved species (including food) upon which we depend.  The target of a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature has been chosen as a difficult-to-achieve but also permissive target, which some think should be 1.5 degrees or less.  One way or the other global warming gas emissions, still on an upward trajectory, need to be reduced and the current upward trend reversed almost immediately.   Climate scientists understandably have been impatient with the response of the social sciences and policymakers to the threats they see present and emerging.

Prior to the recent interest in de-growth, the hope has been that through either a regime of carbon pricing or a massive government program of green investment or both that the developed economies would decarbonize, yielding economic growth with progressively less emissions until such time as economies would grow without adding in net to the earth’s carbon cycle.  No one has suggested that this decarbonization could happen overnight or without initial costs in emissions.  My “Pedal to the Metal” Plan involves incurring increased embedded emissions upon start-up via a program of building green infrastructure and focused incentive programs to achieve social and environmental goals, including full employment and long-term decarbonization of the developed economies.  The “market-based” approach of either cap and trade or carbon tax advocates take a more leisurely approach to decarbonization, with a highly unlikely achievement of that goal if at all.  Either way, it is assumed that growth of some sort is the mechanism by which change occurs in capitalist monetary economies, though in the P2M Plan, I posit that the growth is a transitional state to a achieving a steady-state economy.

Michael Hoexter writes on Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency: Policy and Marketing; Politics of a Sustainable Future; and Meta-economics: Science, Subjectivity and Economic Policy

Full story…

Related: 

Series | Loathsome Wall Street Deficit Hysterics: Part 1, 'Blame the Old and Sick, Not Us' Michael Hoexter, New Economic Perspectives

  • Besides inspiring the reduced level of government funding we are now seeing in the US and elsewhere, the deficit hysteria campaign is threatening to undermine what remains of the American social safety net that helped form and support the American middle class over the past 70 years.
  • State to cut Medicaid benefits for the elderly
Section(s): 

The global plutocracy

  • There is no parallel in human history to the immense concentration of wealth that exists today, nor to the extremes of parasitism and decadence that constitute the “new normal.” Contemporary capitalism—what the ruling class and its political and media flunkies call the “free enterprise system”—has created a world in which every policy decision is dictated by the need to protect and increase the wealth of an infinitesimal portion of the world’s population.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts

World Socialist Website 

PayPal DonateIf you like reading this article, consider contributing a cafe latte to all-reader supported Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

This chart shows that since 2008, the United States has had the largest increase in social inequality of any developed country.

21 January 2014 | On the eve of the annual spectacle of parasitic wealth and power that is the World Economic Forum in the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, the Oxfam charity has issued a report warning of the unprecedented growth of social inequality throughout the world.

Describing a planet in the malevolent grip of a handful of plutocrats, the report states that the richest 85 people in the world control as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of the world's population—3.5 billion people! It notes that the richest 1 percent today controls 46 percent of the world’s wealth. Oxfam writes: “The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion… 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.”

Full story…

Related:

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?
Section(s): 

Haiti's "Recovery": Luxury Hotels Next to Tent Cities

Haiti Aftershock banner

The lack of emphasis on rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure is problematic because approximately 300,000 Haitians are still living in tent cities. Of these, many are unemployed. Further, those removed from their lands due to foreign investment have been compensated very little, or have not received any remuneration at all.

Project Censored

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In January 2010 Haiti suffered from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. In the months following the disaster the predominantly black Caribbean nation received millions of dollars in aid. Yet most of this revenue came with strings attached and often made its way back into the hands of the countries and corporations that donated it.

Much of this investment is being used to build luxury hotels and industrial parks, under the premise that it would create jobs and employ the Haitians. Today much of Haiti remains unchanged. Almost three years since the earthquake, less than 2,000 Haitians have actually been employed.  Some foreign companies are only investing in structures that will accommodate foreign interests. There is also the rising exploitation of Haiti’s natural resources.

Project Censored educates students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government.  We expose and oppose news censorship and we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking.

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