Economics

Financial and economic news, information, tips, etc.

"Structural" Unemployment Debunked

  • Posted on: 14 May 2011
  • By: MichaelCollins

Michael Collins

“The last unemployment report said that for the first time in my lifetime, and I’m not young…we are coming out of a recession but job openings are going up twice as fast as new hires. And yet we can all cite cases that we know about where somebody opened a job and 400 people showed up. How could this be? Because people don’t have the job skills for the jobs that are open.” President Bill Clinton, September 2010

Former president Clinton took the lead in selling the notion of "structural unemployment" - a gap between employer job requirements and inadequate skills on the part of workers. Clinton's sales skills are considerable. The thoroughly unsupported notion stuck in the minds of the corporate media and some business leaders.

Blame the workers, those who lost jobs since the start of the recession. Clinton and the other representatives for the financial elite asked that we believe in just two short years of the recession, job skill requirements changed so much, workers couldn't be hired back. That was nonsense then and is nonsense now.

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Friday Open Thread: Balancing Acts, The People's Budget Edition

  • Posted on: 22 April 2011
  • By: Open Thread

Via Chris Bowers of DailyKos regarding The People's Budget:

It's a great proposal, as it produces a federal surplus by 2021 without cutting services for the poor, the elderly and the middle-class. Instead, it basically just ends the wars, ends the Bush tax cuts, and reduces unemployment. Which, as we saw in the 1990's, is actually about all you need to do to balance the federal budget.

[Emphasis mine.]   How 'bout that...simple, straightforward, and easily accomplished.

No wonder the GOP and Tea "Party" don't like it.

Anywho - it's Friday, 22 April 2011, also known as "Earth Day." What have you been up to in order to do your part to save the planet?

Comments are open, and remember: This is an Open Thread.

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Beyond ForeclosureGate - It Gets Uglier

  • Posted on: 21 April 2011
  • By: MichaelCollins

Michael Collins

The ForeclosureGate scandal poses a threat to Wall Street, the big banks, and the political establishment. If the public ever gets a complete picture of the personal, financial, and legal assault on citizens at their most vulnerable, the outrage will be endless. (Image)

Foreclosure practices lift the veil on a broader set of interlocking efforts to exploit those hardest hit by the endless economic hard times, citizens who become financially desperate due medical conditions. A 2007 study found that medical expenses or income losses related to medical crises among bankruptcy filers or family members triggered 62% of bankruptcies. There is no underground conspiracy. The facts are in plain sight.

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Thursday Open Thread: The Taxman Cometh - 2011 Tax Season for Individuals, Extended Filing Time Edition

  • Posted on: 14 April 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

The Taxman Cometh may be a pseudo-popular phrase based partly on the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh, but it's a phrase that we hear pretty often around this time of year. For those currently crunching numbers and chasing down receipts, or digging through files for that lost or forgotten receipt in order to get their taxes together before midnight on Friday, there's a slight bit of good news: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the filing deadline to the 18th; check to see if your state has followed suit. You may be pleasantly surprised. (My state, MA, has extended the filing deadline for personal income tax to the 19th because the 18th is a holiday.)

Of course, none of that changes the fact that you do still need to file, and pay, on time.

Today is Thursday, 14 April 2011 - and this? This is an Open Thread.

 

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A View From the Front Lines of the Class War

  • Posted on: 11 April 2011
  • By: greywolfe359

Crossposted from Daily Kos by GH, with permission.

A beat-up van pulls to a stop just up the road. A creaky screen door opens from the apartment at the end of the building. A young African-American girl runs out toward the van, barely hanging onto a gym bag that was obviously not meant for such a pint-sized carrier. The driver of the van, a middle-aged white man with glasses and a beard, throws the passenger door to the van open and the little girl tosses the bag onto the floor before climbing in. The apartment door, which had banged shut in the meantime, creaks open again as the girl's mother waves goodbye.

"Be good. Have fun," she tells her daughter.

"I'll have her back by eight," the driver replies as the little girl shuts the van door and waves goodbye to her mom.

As the van pulls away and disappears around a turn up the street, the girl's mother allows herself to slump against the door frame for just a moment. She lets go of a long sigh that betrays just how tired she is. She almost doesn't notice me as I approach her door to introduce myself.

 

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Et Tu, Hawaii: Hawaii's Striking Utility Workers

  • Posted on: 5 March 2011
  • By: Roxy

Here in Hawaii, we are having our own little microcosm of WI with the HECO strike that started at 3:30 yesterday.  It was bad timing, with the storm that hit and has thousands of residents still without power. But the crux of the matter is quite simple ... HECO (with the director taking home 2.9 million in salary and bonuses in 2009) is trying to negotiate reduced benefits for the workers, with new workers getting an even worse deal.

HECO workers said the two sides disagreed on a management proposal to raise the age of retirement with full benefits to 62 from 60; a proposed reduction in sick leave benefits; and a plan to create a two-tier contract with new hires receiving lower wages and benefits. There also was a dispute over whether negotiated wage increases should begin with ratification of a new contract or expiration of the previous contract last October. Neither company nor union officials would confirm the sticking points in the contract talks.

[source]

Governor Abercrombie (Dem) ordered the workers back on the job ...

I have spoken with leaders of Hawaiian Electric Company and the union. My thought is that they can set aside their respective positions during this emergency situation until the public’s safety is taken care of," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. "The most important thing right now is restoring electric services for residents and ensuring their health and security then resume negotiations.

[source]

Its not fair that all those people are living without power, but it also isn't fair to assume the union planned the walkout to coincide with the power outage. These negotiations have been ongoing, and Friday was drop-dead day for HECO to come back to the table with a better offer.

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Choosing The Low Road: Walker And Wisconsin Have Other, Better Options

  • Posted on: 27 February 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

 

There's an excellent piece in Saturday's online edition of the Journal Sentinel by Marc Levine (hat-tip Jim Starowicz via Deb Romilly on Facebook). It's called You heard it here first: Tax the rich and solve budget shortfall. Right off the bat, he equates the Walker budget and refusal to consider any other options as exactly what they are: class warfare. The piece has a mix of straightforward and sarcastic elements that make it even harder-hitting:

The immediate crisis, according to Walker, is a $137 million shortfall in the current biennial budget. "We're broke; we don't have the money," says the governor, and only slashing the compensation and bargaining rights of public employees can get us through the crisis. (Let's ignore for the moment the inconvenient fact for Walker's "we're broke" trope that at the same time he was slashing compensation for teachers, he was increasing the deficit by bestowing $117 million in business tax breaks.)

Levine then goes on to point out

Rather than attacking the living standards of middle class teachers, prison guards and health care workers, Wisconsin policy-makers can easily close this budgetary gap - and reduce surging inequality in the state - by temporarily raising taxes on the superwealthy and corporations.

But, of course, that's not what Walker wants. He wants to further reduce corporate taxes. Levine's done his homework, tho, and provides some references to economist Dean Baker's facts, figures and reasoning that any such tax hike need only be temporary. Levine sums it up nicely toward the end (emphasis mine):

In short, contrary to the governor's repeated claims, Wisconsin does have options. Walker has made a choice: He would rather mandate 8% compensation cuts on teachers and abolish collective bargaining than levy a temporary 1.5% income surcharge on the superwealthy. Walker's choice, however, damages the state's social fabric, contributes to growing inequality in the state, and harms our prospects for future economic prosperity. [...snip...]

To be sure, Wisconsin still needs to manage a $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-2013 budget cycle. But rather than trying to meet that challenge by attacking middle-class workers and by gutting spending on, say, public education, we would be better served by a balanced plan that makes spending cuts where they would be prudent, and raises revenues in ways that reduce inequality and are least damaging to the most vulnerable.

Amen to that.

You can find the full piece at the jsonline website. Go read it, and share it widely. Thank you.

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A US NHS universal medical system could become America's largest employer

  • Posted on: 12 February 2011
  • By: Democrats Ramshield

Originally posted 2011-02-11 12:29:30 -0500. Bumped and promoted. - GH

(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
There are 59 million Americans who don't have medical insurance. There are 132 million Americans who don't have dental insurance. What if there were an alternate United States where everyone was medically and dentally insured? Well it just so happens that I live in what some call the United States of Europe otherwise known as the European Union and here everyone that I see everyday is fully medically insured. They live on average longer than we do in America and they pay less for their medical system than we do in America, even though they insure 100% of their populations.
Why can't the Teabaggers see this? If they could see it, would it change anything? Would it change you? It changed me. It is possible to change America, one person at a time. All we have to do is get the word out that universal medical works in every major industrialized country in the world, therefore it can also work in America not only to provide health care but also to become America's biggest employer with jobs that pay a living wage that can't be outsourced.

 

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Capitalising on American Tear Gas Lobbed at Egyptian Protesters

  • Posted on: 9 February 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Yes, you already knew our government was extremely supportive in propping up the corrupt Egyptian regime, mostly as a means of keeping their torture routes protected and the oil and military markets flowing profitably... And, no doubt, we will send more tear gas if they need it because there is a lot of money to be made in never ending wars:

“Made in the USA” Tear Gas Thrown at Protesters in Egypt

The United States has given billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt over the decades. The State Department approved the sale of tear gas to its police, despite its known history of brutality.

But the entire Arab world is starting to look like another neoconservative disaster as the lies and collusion between the USA, the UK, Israel and the supposed enemies of freedom - like the contorted and distorted "enemies" in Palestine, for example - come to light. It is another neoconservative contrived clusterfrack of foreign policy failure. But much like the Shock Doctrine delivered banking disaster is, the organized chaos the elite powers that be have preyed upon should be exposed for the Disaster Capitalism that has resulted.

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More Shocking Revelations From Bank of England's Mervyn King

  • Posted on: 3 February 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

In the aftermath of the provably orchestrated and Shock Doctrine delivered Bankster Bailouts comes the inevitable Disaster Capitalism delivered message of "austerity for you". Well? If you understand Shock Doctrine techniques typically used to get what they want:

Bank of England chief Mervyn King: standard of living to plunge at fastest rate since 1920s

Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again.

Families will see their disposable income eaten up as they “pay the inevitable price” for the financial crisis, Mervyn King warned.

...snip...

“The squeeze on living standards is the inevitable price to pay for the financial crisis and subsequent rebalancing of the world and UK economies.”

It is inevitable! There was a shocking disaster and everyone has to pay for it!

Well? The plebes have to pay for it.

Coming from the same guy that the Bush State Department - as evidenced by wikileaks #cablegate - was helping to orchestrate the bailout of the banksters 6 months before Bush finally was ready to deliver the scripted announcement of the "unforeseeable market disaster".

But this austerity moment isn't well planned, in advance, Disaster Capitalism and as a result of this latest phase of that orchestrated Shock Doctrine like delivered disaster either, eh?

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Ayn Rand: Will she ever get one right?

  • Posted on: 31 January 2011
  • By: Connecticut Man1

The Ayn Rand fraud philosophy of "I got mine" exemplified with all  the hypocritical bells and whistles of feeding at the collectivist government trough:

Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them

At least she put up a fight before succumbing to the imperatives of the real world.

Not that her ideas ever proved to be correct in the real world, even when you try to take her novel words seriously:

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Thieves Guild: Keeping Tabs on the Big Banks

  • Posted on: 16 January 2011
  • By: GreyHawk

For those who may be wondering what some of our illustrious "big" banks might be up to -- well, you're not alone. Seems like some of the big banks, part of what I like to refer to as the thieves guild, are under some form of investigation:

  Bank Investigations Cheat Sheet

The main players?

  1. Citigroup
  2. Credit Agricole
  3. Credit Suisse
  4. Deutsche Bank
  5. Goldman Sachs
  6. JP Morgan Chase
  7. Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America)
  8. Morgan Stanley
  9. UBS

It's always good to keep a finger on these things...

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The German magazine Spiegel says Wall Street banksters committed a monumental insider bank robbery

  • Posted on: 5 January 2011
  • By: Democrats Ramshield

Crossposted from DailyKos. Promoted. -- GH


(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
This mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel in their December 30th issue, tell us that Wall Street banksters committed nothing short of a monumental insider bank robbery, which is responsible for victims like Pam Brown who has become the face of America's nouveau poor and hungry in the minds of the Spiegel's vast readership within the European Union.

The Spiegel's article also tells us that America's has a short memory. Barely 2 years after the market crashed, Wall Street is in the process of creating a second crash by speculating just as shamelessly as they did before. The Spiegel article suggests this maybe happening because there were no criminal prosecutions ever brought. Therefore it looks like the Wall Street banksters are going to do this again.

To which this diary asks, how many more times do you want to bail out Wall Street? How much longer do the bread lines have to get, how many more millions have to lose their homes? Is 59 million without medical insurance enough? When will America say no to Wall Street and yes to Main Street European style social safety net?

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