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Fail and Grow Rich on Wall Street

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  • The financial benefits are not trickling down. Throwing money at the banks has been as effective as pushing on a string, and the result has been what former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker has excoriated as a “liquidity trap.” No serious government pressure has been brought to bear on the banks to help homeowners stay in their homes through mortgage payment adjustments.
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  • Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken
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Robert Scheer, TruthDig/Reader Supported News

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At a time when corporations are buying up elections – not to mention the 24-hour-news cycle – help ensure that a source for truly independent journalism lives on. Support Evergreene Digest  today by using the donation button in the above right-hand corner.

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A banner displaying the name of General Motors covers the front of the New York Stock Exchange recently on the first day of trading in its new shares. AP / Seth Wenig

Welcome to the brave new world of post-bailout capitalism. The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that corporate profits are at their highest level in U.S. history, and the Fed released minutes of an early November meeting in which officials predicted a stagnant economy and continued high unemployment.

The lead on the New York Times story read like a line from a Dickens novel: “The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.” What the Times story neglected to mention is that the bulk of the increase in corporate profits was nabbed by the financial industry rather than manufacturing and other productive sectors. A whopping $33.3 billion out of the total corporate profits increase of $44.4 billion went to the banks and investment houses that those same workers had bailed out with their tax dollars.

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Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken, Zach Carter and Simon JohnsonAlterNet

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  • Progressive economist Simon Johnson talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.
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  • Business buys itself a new government
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Section(s): 

Summary | America's Financial Crisis: Week of November 21

7 New Items including:

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  • Business buys itself a new government
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  • It's Jobs or Wars, Not Both
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike Thompson

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Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken, Zach Carter and Simon JohnsonAlterNet
Progressive economist Simon Johnson talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.

Business buys itself a new government, Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Corporate donors, newly emboldened by a court ruling, played dirty and won.
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  • So that's what a $$ billion campaign looks like!
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Fast Track to Inequality, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.
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  • “Over the last generation more and more of the rewards of growth have gone to the rich and superrich. The rest of America, from the poor through the upper middle class, has fallen further and further behind.” -- Political scientists Jacob Hacker of Yale and Paul Pierson of the University of California, Berkeley.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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It's Jobs or Wars, Not Both, David Swanson, Global Research

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  • Every military job, every weapons industry job, every war-reconstruction job, every mercenary or torture consultant job appears to be a job, but it is not a job. It is the absence of more and better jobs. It is public money wasted on something worse for job creation than nothing at all and much worse than other available options.
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  • Spending money on the military, even in the United States, hurts the U.S. economy. Spending money on foreign wars is even worse, but all military spending is economically destructive.
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  • The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism
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Dollar Stores: Top Link in the Sweatshop Chain, Kent Paterson, Corporate Watch
Family Dollar is one of a growing group of chain-store corporations that cater to America's poor by selling cheap goods, many imported from sweatshops in low-wage countries including China and Mexico.

Wal-Mart Could Hike Pay and Keep Prices Low, Emily Kaiser, Reuters/Corporate Watch
"The more important question for the future isn't whether Wal-Mart is a force for good or evil in the American economy, but whether the economic benefits provided by Wal-Mart can be preserved even if their labor compensation is dramatically improved," economists Jared Bernstein and Josh Bivens wrote.

Capping the Oil Spill in American Politics, Dan La Botz, Socialist Webzine
Oil and the petroleum industry’s profits stand at the center of the American economy, society and polity. We need to push the oil industry aside and put working people and their needs—for jobs, health care, education, and social well being at the center.

Section(s): 

Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken

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  • Progressive economist Simon Johnson talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.
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  • Business buys itself a new government
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Zach Carter and Simon JohnsonAlterNet

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Simon Johnson

Zach Carter: Your push to break up the largest banks into smaller banks that can actually fail without wreaking havoc on the economy has been very well-received by progressives. But historically, the IMF and the Federal Reserve are not exactly hotbeds of progressive thought. How did you and Paul Volcker become the vanguard of the economic left?

Simon Johnson: The ideas that we're advancing both in Baseline Scenario and in the book should appeal to people on the right, the center and the left. There's an article by Arnold Kling that we wrote about on Baseline Scenario. He's a libertarian, which I am not, but he's come around to our way of thinking about the banks. If you think about it from the right, our financial system is just monstrously unfair. It's not in any way a market economy to have these banks who are so big that the government can't let them fail. They have funding advantages over other banks, and those advantages only encourage them to get bigger. That's just not reasonable.

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Business buys itself a new government, Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Corporate donors, newly emboldened by a court ruling, played dirty and won.
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  • So that's what a $4 billion campaign looks like!
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Section(s): 

It's Jobs or Wars, Not Both

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  • Every military job, every weapons industry job, every war-reconstruction job, every mercenary or torture consultant job appears to be a job, but it is not a job. It is the absence of more and better jobs. It is public money wasted on something worse for job creation than nothing at all and much worse than other available options.
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  • Spending money on the military, even in the United States, hurts the U.S. economy. Spending money on foreign wars is even worse, but all military spending is economically destructive.
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  • The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism
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David Swanson, Global Research

Kahlil Bendib
Washington Post's David Broder thinks more war will bring us more jobs. Unlike in Germany, where the president was forced out of office earlier this year for suggesting that war in Afghanistan could benefit the German economy, Americans don't seem to have serious moral qualms about slaughtering human beings for no good reason. We've got three significant wars and a variety of secretive military actions going on now without the slightest mention in our elections. A majority of Americans tell pollsters that the wars should end, but virtually no one tells candidates. However, one has to assume -- for the sake of one's own sanity -- that even Americans, if they knew, would seriously object to further damaging our economy through war and allowing people like David Broder to paper over that process with demonstrably false claims.

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Contrary to partisan myths and stereotypes, U.S. military spending has been on the rise these past two years. And military towns have seen a boom this past decade. But spending money on the military, even in the United States, hurts the U.S. economy. Spending money on foreign wars is even worse, but all military spending is economically destructive. It's worse, economically, than doing nothing. Failing to spend that money and instead cutting taxes would create more jobs than investing it in the military. Investing it in useful industries like mass transit or education would have a much stronger impact and create many more jobs. But even nothing, even cutting taxes, would do less harm than military spending. And that's domestic military spending; spending on foreign wars, funding the Taliban, funding Karzai, misplacing $17 billion, etc., all does even more economic harm.

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The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism, Bruce Gagnon, Organizing Notes/Axis of Logic

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  • “Either the Transnational Capitalist Class alliance self-destructs, compelled by the conscious mobilization of the working people in solidarity across the continents, those who oppose war and stand solidly together in a counterforce on the side of humanity, or we go further downhill the slope of lower depths, into an abyss.
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  • For every person there are always two choices in life: to accept things as they are or to accept the responsibility to bring about change – from a war economy to a political economy of peace to share, to preserve our environment and to belong to the commons in which every being has an equal stake for our minimum needs.”
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Section(s): 

Fast Track to Inequality

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  • Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.
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  • “Over the last generation more and more of the rewards of growth have gone to the rich and superrich. The rest of America, from the poor through the upper middle class, has fallen further and further behind.” -- Political scientists Jacob Hacker of Yale and Paul Pierson of the University of California, Berkeley.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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The clearest explanation yet of the forces that converged over the past three decades or so to undermine the economic well-being of ordinary Americans is contained in the new book, “Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.”

The authors, political scientists Jacob Hacker of Yale and Paul Pierson of the University of California, Berkeley, argue persuasively that the economic struggles of the middle and working classes in the U.S. since the late-1970s were not primarily the result of globalization and technological changes but rather a long series of policy changes in government that overwhelmingly favored the very rich.

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Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics, Eric Alterman, Center for American Progress

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  • Economic inequality in America is growing to proportions we have never seen before, threatening not only our social structure but also our democracy as the U.S. Supreme Court equates the right to spend money on politics with freedom of speech
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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  • Special Report | Poverty in the U.S.
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