Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts

April 16, 2020

Brother Can You Spare a Dime? Coronavirus With a Crazy President Will Bring The Worse World Depression

Fadel Allassan

IMF: Coronavirus will lead to "worst recession since the Great Depression" 

The coronavirus pandemic will bring about the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund projected Tuesday in its latest world economic outlook.
Why it matters: The organization expects a recession "far worse" than the 2008 financial crisis. In a revision to its earlier forecast, the IMF said global GDP growth will fall to -3% this year, a drastic downgrade from its forecast of +6.3% in January. 
By the numbers: Global GDP will face a cumulative loss of about $9 trillion — larger than the economies of Japan and Germany combined.
  • Growth in advanced economies is projected to be -6.1%. 
  • Emerging markets are projected to have growth rates of -1.0%, and -2.2 percent if China is excluded.
  • Income per capita is expected to shrink for over 170 countries.
Zoom in: The United States is projected to experience -5.9% growth, while the eurozone will see -7.5%. Italy, the country in Europe hit the hardest by the pandemic, is projected to experience -9.1% growth.
Yes, but: The IMF projects growth will partially rebound to +5.8% in 2021 if the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and if "policy actions taken around the world are effective in preventing widespread firm bankruptcies, extended job losses, and system-wide financial strains," according to the report.
  • But it projects economic activity will still remain below what was forecasted for 2021 before the outbreak.
The bottom line: The IMF urged policymakers around the world to keep using lockdown policies to stop the virus from spreading, noting that they're the best way to eventually be able to resume normal economic activities.
  • "In this sense, there is no trade-off between saving lives and saving livelihoods," the report st

May 11, 2018

Boeing, Airbus to Lose Nearly $40B-Thanks to Trump's Pull Out Of Iran Deal

The Boeing logo on the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane

Boeing, Airbus to lose nearly $40B thanks to new Iran sanctions The Boeing logo on the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Airplane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus will lose roughly $39 billion in combined plane contracts with Iranian carriers as a result of the Trump administration's reimposition of sanctions following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Washington Post's Steven Mufson and Damian Paletta report.
The backdrop: Both companies were reportedly the biggest beneficiaries of the Obama-era pact that eased sanctions on Iran in return for increased restrictions on its nuclear weapons program. In 2016, Airbus signed a deal to supply Iran Air with 100 airplanes for about $19 billion, and Boeing had a $20 billion contract to deliver 110 aircraft. "The aircraft sales were among the most sought-after contracts for Iran," write Mufson and Piletta.
  • On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Boeing and Airbus licenses would be revoked. 
But, but, but, Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg has "downplayed the loss" of jetliner sales to Iranian air carriers, noting that the company hasn't started building any planes for Iranian carriers, Bloomberg reports. Meanwhile, Airbus had reportedly delivered three of the 100 planes it agreed to supply.

December 20, 2017

Portugal Emerging as Europe's Successful Anti Germany's Economy

 Beautiful, historic Lisbon

Germany’s resolute Chancellor Angela Merkel is not usually one to admit she’s been wrong. But this autumn, when it comes to her faith in austerity economics in Europe, Merkel, together with her then-Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, did as much — in deed, if not in word.

The Germans threw their hefty weight behind the leftist economist Mário Centeno, Portugal’s finance minister, for the coveted post of head of the Eurogroup, the common currency’s influential 19-member directorate. In January, Centeno, a Harvard-educated Portuguese Socialist Party freethinker, will leave Lisbon’s left-wing government to succeed the incumbent president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The Dutchman had been a critical ally of Germany in recent years, taking to task the profligate Southern Europeans — and inadvertently ripping open a contentious divide between Europe’s north and south that persists to today. 

Centeno constitutes a shift in course. Until now, he has represented a Southern European country, Portugal, that received a 78 billion euro ($92 billion) bailout from its fellow European Union member states amid the euro crisis. But even more remarkable, Centeno was part of a leftist government with the backing of a communist party, which subsequently bucked the marching orders of its northern creditors and the troika composed of the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund.

Whether Centeno’s ascension, with Berlin’s assistance, represents a shift in German economic thinking remains to be seen. Less than two years ago, Schaüble, the eurozone’s fiercest fiscal hawk, warned Portugal that its refusal to follow the rules would sink its economy and force it to seek another international bailout. But, since then, Lisbon’s cautiously renegade deviations have won plaudits even from budget disciplinarians — including Schaüble himself.

Portugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeedPortugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeed. That’s not to suggest that, just because Centeno has served a leftist Portuguese government, he will pursue radical policy ambitions in Brussels. But, as president of the Eurogroup, he will execute duties in a body that grew immensely in significance over the course of the financial crises and will be paramount in guiding the reform processes that still lie ahead.

The Eurogroup was initially designed as an informal meeting for finance ministers to exchange views, but now it monitors draft national budgets and bailout programs as part of the economic surveillance instituted as a result of the crises. The president is a key figure in eurozone developments even though the body has been starkly criticized as nontransparent and undemocratic, as it is not subject to parliamentary discretion, nor are its minutes public.

Centeno, like the Portuguese government he served, already symbolizes the possibility that a new, less German, ideological era of economic governance is in the offing in Europe. Lisbon is the first Southern European government to climb out of the swamp of indebtedness and stagnation. Its economy is undergoing its fastest expansion in over a decade, and more growth is expected next year, which will shrink the country’s budget deficit to 1 percent of GDP — the slightest in 40 years. Unemployment this year fell to 9.2 percent, down from 17.5 percent in 2013, and exports are picking up. (Nevertheless, Portugal’s national debt is still 128 percent of its current GDP, a sign that it is not entirely out of the woods yet.)

“Mr. Centeno’s appointment is representative of a policy change in the workings of the eurozone,” said Gustav Horn, an economist at the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, a German think tank. “It’s an admission that the hard-line austerity prescriptions and fiscal contraction haven’t worked, which we can see in Greece. Cutting spending and taxes in times of crisis only make things worse. Portugal’s approach was different: first get the economy going, then get the budget right. Merkel has now obviously recognized this.”

Portugal’s path back to the family of healthy European economies wasn’t anywhere in sight when, in 2010, Portugal stumbled into the debt trap and downward spiral that also captured many of its indebted southern European peers. The introduction of the euro 11 years prior had diminished the competitiveness of a country accustomed to tampering with its currency’s value in order to gain favorable trading terms. It also provided Portugal with easy access to almost unlimited credit — which went largely toward property, construction projects, and high-risk financial products. GDP grew. But when the bubble burst and the time to pay came around, Portugal went belly up but when the bubble burst and the time to pay came around, Portugal went belly up like the others, outing a legacy of mismanagement, jiggered accounting, and public sector waste.

To stave off bankruptcy, Portugal signed up for a bailout in 2011. That came with familiar instructions to cut the budget deficit, lower wages, and retirement benefits, reduce public spending, and in general comply with the EU’s fiscal policy conditions. Portugal’s conservative government at the time dutifully instituted tax hikes and salary cuts for public servants, four national holidays were scratched, and many utilities were privatized. Over two years, the country’s education budget was slashed by 23 percent. Predictably, unemployment soared as the economy ground to a halt.

The upshot was that in 2015 a Socialist Party minority government came to power under the veteran social democrat António Costa with the nod of the Portuguese Communist Party, Greens, and independent Marxists in the parliament — a breathtaking novelty. Costa’s administration came into office having witnessed the unsightly defeat of a Greek government lead by the like-minded Syriza party, which had rejected outright the troika’s terms and then capitulated under pressure, facing a bitter choice between either insolvency (and crashing out of the euro) or compliance.

On the campaign trail, Costa, Lisbon’s mayor at the time, spoke vaguely about challenging the austerity regime without undermining the troika’s framework — in contrast to Syriza’s uncompromising stance. In office, Costa’s government appointed Centeno to the finance ministry. Working in Portugal’s central bank and teaching at the University of Lisbon, the 51-year-old labor market specialist hadn’t been in the spotlight until Costa called on him to design the Socialist Party’s economic platform for the 2015 election campaign. In academic circles, he had the reputation of a liberal favoring labor market flexibility. In office, he proved to be a shooting star: 2017 surveys showed him as the Cabinet’s most popular minister, with Portuguese voters obviously crediting him with putting the economy back on its feet.

Centeno was given a mandate to steer economic reforms — and, crucially, to kick-start the economy by bolstering demand.Centeno was given a mandate to steer economic reforms — and, crucially, to kick-start the economy by bolstering demand. “It’s completely wrong to think that a country like Portugal could become more competitive on the basis of Third World competitive factors,” Costa told the Financial Times in January 2016, referring to the Troika-dictated intention to boost productivity by deflating wages. The government stuck largely to the troika’s fiscal terms while reversing pension and salary cuts, stopping privatization of public water and transport companies, and reinstating the holidays. In spite of reprimands from the troika, it bumped up the minimum wage and scuppered the regressive tax hike. Social security was increased for poor families.

Despite the threats and doomsday prophesies from EU officials, the measures rekindled domestic demand and investment in 2016. Growth became steady. A year after assuming office, Costa’s government with a leftist menagerie behind it could flaunt a 13 percent leap in corporate investment. “Portugal has increased public investment, reduced the deficit, slashed unemployment and sustained economic growth,” Guardian columnist Owen Jones wrote earlier this year. “We were told this was impossible and, frankly, delusional.” In September, Portugal regained investment-grade credit status from international rating agencies.

Centeno’s posting to lead the Eurogroup now lines up adroitly with French President Emmanuel Macron’s reform agenda. Macron can most probably count on Centeno as an ally in tying the euro area’s economies more closely together and kick-starting growth on the troubled southern economies with an investment strategy. Greece remains a major concern for the zone, as its economy has not responded positively to the Schaüble-era reforms. The body will certainly discuss easing the measures imposed in Greece during the height of the debt crisis.

For this reason, the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore commented: “Centeno’s election can be seen as a turning point.” It will prove all the more so if Centeno, and his anti-austerity reformism, continues to have the backing of Germany — and that will, in turn, be more likely if the next German governing coalition includes the Social Democrats, which seems increasingly likely.

To be sure, no one in Germany is apologizing about the straightjackets they insisted Europe’s debtor's don. But the important thing isn’t whether Merkel goes on the public record crying “mea culpa.” Taking stock of Portugal’s achievement and easing up on the debtor countries — foremost Greece — would be compensation enough.

Portugal is proving what many of us know: "Austerity is meant for the already poor and the working class, for anybody else is getting the money the others are loosing, this is a univeral rule. Having the money to spend and create business' and jobs no one can do it better than people that are working and the poor. From a new refrigerator or bed for the poor to a new car to commute for the working class couple or single working individual. We should ask who is got the money and from whom did they get it? Austerity is mention when those with the money either start loosing it through bad investments or they suffer from the disease of I got it but need to keep it thus I need more"   [Adamfoxie]

How Much of The Tax Bill's Going To Middle Class How Much to High Earners

The Republican tax bill that the House and Senate are set to pass as soon as Tuesday night would give most Americans a tax cut next year, according to a new analysis. However, it would by far benefit the richest Americans the most. Meanwhile, many lower- and middle-class Americans would have higher taxes a decade from now ... unless a future Congress extends the cuts.
The average household would get a tax cut of $1,610 in 2018, a bump of about 2.2 percent in that average household's income, according to a report released Monday by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank that has been critical of the tax overhaul plan. 
However, extremes make averages, and the benefits would be much larger for richer households. A household earning $1 million or more would get an average cut of $69,660, an income bump of 3.3 percent. Compare that to the average household earning $50,000 to $75,000, which would get a tax cut of $870, or 1.6 percent.
The numbers look bleaker a decade out for most American households. To help ensure their bill met the budget limits Republicans had set for themselves, lawmakers set many individual income tax changes to sunset after 2025 (they made cuts to corporate tax rates permanent, meanwhile).  
For example, the bill changes tax rates across income brackets, increases the standard deduction, and increases the child tax credit — but only until the end of 2025.
As a result, the Tax Policy Center predicts that in 2027, the average tax cut would amount to $160, or just a 0.2 percent income bump for that average household.
This would mean a tiny tax bump for many lower- and middle-class households — the average $50,000 to $75,000-earning household would have a tax bill that's $30 higher than today. The average household earning more than $1 million would get a cut of more than $23,000.
Put another way, in 2018, households earning $1 million or more — or, 0.4 percent of all tax filers — would be getting 16.5 percent of the total benefit from the bill.
In 2027, households earning $1 million or more — 0.6 percent of all filers — would be getting 81.8 percent of the total benefit, even though their average tax break would shrink by about $26,000 over that 10-year period.
The Republican tax overhaul plan has proven unpopular with voters. Just 26 percent of Americans approve of the plan, according to according to a poll released Monday by Monmouth University, compared to 47 percent who disapprove of it. (The poll was conducted before the joint conference committee released their final version.)
In addition, the poll showed that a plurality of Americans — 50 percent — believe the tax plan would raise their taxes.
The Tax Policy Center analysis shows that, for most of the next decade, most of those people would be wrong. As stated above, in 2018, only 5 percent of taxpayers would have tax hikes, and by 2025, only 9 percent would.
But in 2027, those people would be pretty close to the truth (at least, by the center's estimates). In 2027, 53 percent of tax filers would have a tax hike.
Congress members could avoid that wave of tax hikes by extending those individual tax cuts beyond 2025. The White House has suggested that this is the plan. 
"One of the ways to game the system is to make things expire," White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney told NBC's Meet the Press in November. "This is done more to force, to shoehorn the bill into the rules than because we think it's good policy."
But if they do, it means a much heftier price tag, as yet another analysis released Monday found. As currently written, the bill would cost around $1.5 trillion. But if Congress extended provisions that expire early, the bill would cost more than $2 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington think tank that promotes smaller deficits.

July 10, 2017

Anti Gay Messaging Really Hurts Kentuckys Economy

 Kim Davis who went to jail for refusing to issue Marriage licences, Presidential runner at the time Huckabee, pastor and a guy who use to dress as a farmer to appear at GOP rallies and take away some the richie smell.

We sometimes disagreed with their approach, but there’s no denying that Republicans went into 2017 determined to put their newly won power into boosting Kentucky’s economy. To that end, legislative leaders and Gov. Matt Bevin spurned attempts to pass a “bathroom bill.”

They wanted to avoid the jobs-killing flak that came North Carolina’s way in response to its bigoted anti-LGBTQ law. To their credit, they succeeded.

Yet, despite their efforts to protect Kentucky’s reputation as welcoming to all, they still managed to enact a law that California has branded as discriminatory against gay and transgender students.

We can’t know how much investment, tourism or business Kentucky stands to lose. We do know that being known as discriminatory is bad for business, which puts the new law at odds with the GOP’s pro-business agenda.

California’s action is arrogant, no doubt. Nonetheless, Kentucky lawmakers should revisit the potentially discriminatory clause singled out by California’s attorney general. The provision serves no purpose, could create unnecessary legal conflicts for Kentucky schools and hurt innocent students.

Because of it, Louisville is already losing conventions, says Mayor Greg Fischer. He and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray sought exemptions from California’s ban on state-funded travel for their cities, but were refused. Home to 1 in 5 Kentuckians, the two cities long ago outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

California AG Xavier Becerra based his decision on how Kentucky’s new law, which took effect June 29, might be applied, not on any acts of discrimination.

And, as Californians have said, their new law, which took effect Jan. 1, has problems of its own, such as hypocrisy. Gov. Jerry Brown recently traveled to China to make a speech and promote trade, even though China bans same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. Pressuring other statehouses, even for a good cause, will inflame already painful divisions.

Making all this even more frustrating, Kentucky lawmakers of both parties voted for the new law knowing that it was unnecessary. Kentucky enacted a religious-freedom law four years ago. How many does one state need?

The 2017 version repeats longstanding laws, practices and constitutional protections regarding the religious and political rights of students with one possible exception — the clause that California’s AG identified as a means for discriminating against gay and transsexual students. It requires school boards and higher-ed governing boards to ensure religious or political student organizations can exclude students who are not “committed” to the groups’ missions. Boards also must ensure groups can define their own doctrines and principles. Students could adopt some noxious principles: racial or male supremacy, homophobia. But loathsome beliefs and speech are protected in our free society by the First Amendment, which also protects the freedom to associate with whom we choose.

Still, the clause could create an impossible choice for educators: How to enforce non-discrimination policies while obeying a law that forces them to support discrimination that, while ostensibly based on beliefs, is effectively based on race, gender, sexual orientation or identity. Unless some non-profit raises money by ginning up a test case, a la Kim Davis, that quandary might never arise. Millennials are known for tolerance and few of any age seek associates who believe they’re abominable.

The bill’s text was provided by the Family Foundation and is similar to laws in some states that California is not boycotting.

Rather than breast-beating and digging in, Bevin and Kentucky lawmakers should just delete the objectionable provision, acknowledging that its ramifications were not fully understood.

If schools are violating students’ rights, educating school officials about those rights would be more effective than a redundant law.

Lawmakers also should rethink their habit of enacting “off the shelf” bills supplied by interest groups.

California lawmakers should reconsider as well. Kentucky is one of eight states — including Texas, Tennessee and North Carolina — now under a travel ban that’s riddled with exceptions and appears to be inconsistently applied. Walling off public employees and university scholars from attending conferences in other states is bound to fuel resentments and is a peculiar way to support diversity and tolerance.

July 8, 2015

The Plan that can Save Us and it Scares the Hell Out of Wall St Billionaires


Long-term unemployment is the scourge of modern economies. In a society where people take value from work, unemployment is destabilizing and degrading. A bout of long-term unemployment can permanently scar worker, leaving them with lower wages and fewer usable skills. Last year, Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker put forwarda persuasive case for a return to full employment as the palliative to unemployment. But it’s increasingly clear the private sector cannot create full employment on its own. Even at the height of the Clinton boom, millions of African-Americans and low-skilled workers were jobless. To get full employment, progressives should embrace an idea that hasn’t surfaced recently in mainstream American political dialogue: a universal government job guarantee.
In a recent article, Derek Thompson explored a future “world without work.” While his article was well-researched and informative, it misses a key point: For inner-city Black Americans, “a world without work” is not a dystopian future, but a present reality. As Mark Levine writes, “By 2010, in five of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, fewer than half of working-age black males held jobs. In 25 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, fewer than 55 percent of working-age black males were, in fact, employed.” In a recent Center for Economic Policy Research report Cherrie Bucknor notes the Black/white gap in employment rates “increased during the recent recession and is still larger than its pre-recession level.”
Reniqua Allen refers to this reality as the “permanent recession” that Black men face. People of color are the first to lose jobs during a recession and the last to gain them in a recovery. Further, many future losses from new technology will occur in heavily racialized sectors, like retail and fast food. Occupational segregation means that people of color, and particularly women of color, will bear the brunt of job losses. Racial justice requires addressing the future of work.
A government job guarantee has a long history in American politics. As Theda Skocpol notes in “Social Policy in The United States,” during the recession of the 1890s, the American Federation of Labor (which later merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form AFL-CIO), requested public works to abate the recession. They repeated these demands during the early 1900s, and after World War I demanded that “a nation that sent men into battle had a moral and political obligation to make sure they had jobs when they returned home.”
However, the AFL were opposed to government-sponsored unemployment insurance. Skocpol cites Alex Keyssar who writes that, “unionists stressed that public works programs were preferable to simple poor relief in three respects: They paid workers a living wage rather than a pittance; they permitted jobless men and women to avoid the demoralizing consequences of accepting charity; and they performed a useful public service.” However, over the past decade, the government hasn’t guaranteed jobs; instead ,conservative austerity policies have lead to millions of public sector jobs being cut.
One partial reason the government job guarantee may be off the political map these days is because many of those who support such a program no longer turn out to vote. Using ANES, I find that while non-voters are more likely to support than oppose a government-job guarantee, voters are overwhelmingly opposed. However, the ANES question is also rather strongly worded: The option that “government should let each person get ahead on own” is appealing, but in an economy where millions of Americans are unemployed or under-employed even at the lowest levels of unemployment, it also seems mythological.
A recent YouGov poll asks a more pointed question: “Would you favor or oppose a law guaranteeing a job to every American adult, with the government providing jobs for people who can’t find employment in the private sector?” In this formulation support increases significantly, though as the chart below shows, there are still race and class gaps.
A job guarantee could leverage two of the strengths of the progressive movement: electoral power at the federal and city level. A progressive President could direct money and projects to mayors, thereby ending the scourge of inner-city poverty that has plagued America for far too long. Progressives have a long history of creating more jobs, but have failed to articulate an argument for why that is true. That is mainly because progressives have preferred an active monetary policy, rather than active fiscal policy, to boost employment. But voters struggle to understand monetary policy. On the other hand, they could understand a universal job guarantee.
Research suggests that Obama’s response to the Great Recession may lead to voters trusting Democrats more on the economy; but as of yet, this has yet to materialize, and Republicans remain more trusted. A universal job guarantee could change that.
recent survey of 200 leading economic security experts by the Center for Global Policy Solutions finds that 91 percent say that job creation is important for closing the racial wealth gap. The report recommends a National Investment Employment Corps, guaranteeing jobs with an annual salary of $23,000.
The biggest opposition to a government job guarantee will almost certainly come from big business, and particularly the business-conservative wing of the Republican Party. This may seem surprising, since businesses would benefit from infrastructure and public works, as well as having a highly trained workforce. But this is to misunderstand what corporations seek: not profit, but power.
Economist Chris Dillow makes this argument, arguing that full employment would deprive business of political power by removing their mystical power over the “state of confidence.” If, in fact, the government can maintain full employment, it won’t have to kowtow to business on taxes, regulation and spending. There are also labor implications. If workers could chose to reject a private sector job knowing that a public sector job was available, business would actually have to make working conditions livable and pay a fair wage. This “reserve army of unemployed paupers,” as one economist called them, ensures that workers accept degradation on the job rather than suffer the horrifying fate of unemployment.
The ultimate goal of business conservatives is to turn labor into one homogeneous glob that can be fired, re-located and re-trained at will. Thus they oppose paid sick leave, family leave and higher wages, even though all of these changes boost workerproductivity. Business conservatives despise the minimum wage, though there is very little credible evidence that a higher minimum wage would eliminate large numbers of jobs. The threat of the minimum wage is that it would cut into profits and, more importantly, power. Though more worker ownership would boost worker happiness and productivity, it worries bosses who feel they would be ceding control. Business wants to control workers as much as possible, devising Orwellian strategies to intrusively monitor workers. Business conservatives want workers to be expendable, so they have fought to ensure that if a worker is killed or maimed on the job, they will  receive next to nothing.
With workers free to pursue a well-paid, productive public job, corporations would have to pay fairer wages and ensure better labor standards. But while private companies say they love competition, in reality nothing is more terrifying. That will be the most difficult force to overcome in the push for a public jobs program. But if it can be overcome, Americans will benefit extraordinarily. In the wake of the Great Recession, LaDonna Pavetti, writes, “thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia used $1.3 billion from the fund to place more than 260,000 low-income unemployed adults in temporary jobs in the private and public sectors.” The result for workerswas higher incomes, and an easier transition into the workforce after the subsidy program ended.
During the Great Depression, make-work programs funded art and infrastructure, most of which we still enjoy today. In the future, robots may do many of the jobs that humans currently do. That shouldn’t be a lament: We can now put human effort into healing the environment, curing disease and ending hunger.
Today, millions of Americans are jobless. Putting them to work would be a boon for economic growth. In the future, everyone can have a truly fulfilling and life affirming job. But that’s going to require some will, and some government.
Sean McElwee 
Sean is a writer and a research associate at Demos. His writing may be viewed at Follow him on Twitter at @seanmcelwee. This post published originally at Salon
Yes, No? Do you Care?

March 20, 2014

The Billionaires First came for the Money, then they Stoled the Country

First the rich-rulers came for our economy, and we said nothing. 
Then they came for our government, and again, we said nothing.
Now, they've come for science, and we're not saying a word.
Thanks to Republican-backed austerity measures, our nation’s scientific infrastructure has been hit with devastating budget cuts.

All across America, research labs are shutting their doors, scientists are joining unemployment lines, and potentially life-saving drug trials and research projects are being put on hiatus.
But have no fear, because the billionaire oligarchs are here.
As William Broad points out in The New York Times, "Yet from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, science philanthropy is hot, as many of the richest Americans seek to reinvent themselves as patrons of social progress through science research."
Broad goes on to write that, "The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation."
 Broad goes on to write that, “The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation."

And as Steven Edwards, a policy analyst with the American Association for the Advancement of Science said, “For better or worse, the practice of science in the 21st century is becoming shaped less by national priorities or by peer-review groups and more by the particular preferences of individuals with huge amounts of money."

From disease research and underwater exploration, to space travel and climate change denial, billionaires are funding just about all aspects of science -- or pseudoscience -- in America today.
As a result, basic science research, which is most often responsible for huge scientific breakthroughs, is suffering, because it's not in the personal interests of the billionaires.
They’re only funding areas that they personally care about, and they're privatizing science in the process.

But this billionaire takeover of science in America shouldn't come as a surprise, because it's just the latest piece of the puzzle.
Before they had their sights aimed on science, the billionaires came for our economy, and turned it into an oligonomy.
With the help of Ronald Reagan, they unleashed Reaganomics on America, taking our nation back to the Gilded Age era of oligonomy, an economy dominated by oligarchs.
In 1981, soon after he took office, Reagan signed into law one of the largest tax cuts in history.

That legislation included a 23% across-the-board cut to individual income tax rates.
And in 1986, Reagan again lowered individual income tax rates.
Meanwhile, Reagan also stopped enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act, a law that has been on the books since 1890.
The Act prevents monopolies from forming, and protects against other unfair business practices.
Unfortunately, without being enforced, corporations were allowed to grow out-of-control under Reagan, as the billionaire oligarchs got even richer.
This all inevitably led to a massive split between the wealthy elite and everybody else in America, a gap in income equality that is getting worse and worse every day.

Next, the billionaires came for our government, and turned it into an oligarchy.
From the halls of Congress to state houses across the country, government is working for the wealthy elite first, and everyone else second.
The ultimate proof of the oligarchs' success in taking over our government came in 2008, when they crashed our economy.
During the Great Recession, total U.S. household wealth fell by about $16.4 trillion, with much of those losses going into the pockets of the oligarchs who caused one of the worst economic collapses in American history.
Not a single billionaire bankster was jailed or even prosecuted for that collapse.
And for even more proof that Washington has turned into an oligarchy, the NRA, a group that is among the oligarchs, is fighting feverishly to block President Obama's nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be Surgeon General.
With help from current Senators, including Democrats, the NRA has launched campaign against Murthy, arguing that his position that gun violence is a significant public health threat means that he is hostile towards the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
Over the past 40 years, billionaire oligarchs have slowly but surely taken over just about all aspects of life in America.
But enough is enough.
It’s time to end America’s oligonomy by rolling back the Reagan tax cuts and enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust act, so that corporations can't grow out-of-control and amass endless piles of money.  

And as for Washington’s ruling oligarchy, we need to roll back Citizen’s United, and say loudly and clearly that money is not speech.

January 19, 2014

How NYC Creates the Homeless- A real Case-Study on the Poor and the Economy

The well off and their political party have always said that if there is economic growth there would be less poverty. Everyone’s income will rise and so everyone’s standard of living.
This is so silly I am amazed than when politicians say this the media doesn’t laugh them out of their shows. The media doesn’t because guess on which side those in the media fall?

There is people living very well and “If they lived better everyone else will live better”.  Not true they already live better than anybody else. Maybe if you work 7 days a week and your partner too. Even then is to hold your living standard, not to get you wealthy.

If everyone would be tax in a fair way according to what they make and have, maybe when the economy grows then everyone grows (the wealthy not as much but still will get mor e). When people are left way behind  even when the economy improves it does not help them. Having the interest rates lower does not makes it easier for the poor to buy a car or move to a better apartment. They need cash to do either. Even on credit you have to make the payments and pay the insurance for those things 

Getting no raise or unemployment or no unemployment or no COLA for retirees and disabled or COLA’s not really attached to how the economy is doing and what you can buy with the dollar makes people dependent on those things fall further deeper in the hole. Those things bring every one down economically. Even when times get better, people are loaded with debt or collection whitch will keep them from getting a better apartment or a second hand car. A credit score is now taken for everything., From getting an apartment to non emergency medical care. Once you go down once, you will stay down.  
I’ll give you a recent (real) example I know.  This individual we will call Mr. Pink.

Mr. Pink, disabled person worked all his live ,even with a disability. Have had an apartment for 12 years. Every year the rent went up.  He was able to manage it by working partime and getting his pension. He gets sick as the work load got to be too much and by that time SSDI did not pay their COLA for two consecutive years. But the rent went up the maximum allowed by law an average of 5% every year regardless.  No work and solely dependent on SSDI eventually the rent caught up with him. Now paying about 75% in rent without electric.

The government  in NY announces new apartments and condos for well off families being constructed but a percentage of the apartments would be affordable apartments commensurate with income.

Finally Mr. Pink finds the one that falls within his SSDI income: Applies and qualifies . They have an apartment for him at less than half of his current apartment rent. What happiness! Can not be believe it!

Now comes a background check for crime and to see wether he pays his rent. All ok.
Now comes a credit report. He is disqualified 10 days before moving because he got behind on bills when he got sick and stop working. Real case. 

Now the question is, do we have a homeless now in this person?. Clearly he can not go another year with another rent increase and can’t move out because landlords take credit reports and use them to disqualify otherwise good tenants. 

Do you see that when they say things are stock up against the poor no matter what the new mayor says or the old mayor said or the new governor is been saying. We create new homeless without helping out the current homeless population. This is a real case that just happened in the City of New York.

Coming back to the science of the economy and actual economic growth with the past eight years of being in the dumps.  

Eight years of low growth have marginalized the lower base of society, economic growth is not the only factor that reduces poverty, experts now say.
However, they added, poverty alleviation is impossible without robust economic growth.

“According to international research, as growth increases the income of the lowest 40 percent earners rises by the same proportion in developed countries and by 25 percent in developing economies,” said senior economist Naveed Anwar Khan.

“Income inequality might also increase in such cases. However, income itself is an indicator of welfare as it increases the purchasing power of the poor people and addresses their educational and health concerns.” He added that with low or stagnant growth, the poor people are affected more than the affluent.

“The underprivileged are forced to reduce their living standards, which leads to a rise in poverty,” Khan said, adding that equitable growth does not seem achievable in the near future.

He said that inequality would decline if the poor people’s income rises by a high percentage than the affluent.

“Income inequality will widen even if the economy grows by seven percent and the incomes of rich and poor also increase by the same percentage.”

(The following is an International example to be applied to the economies connected to each others economic growth) 

He added that in such a scenario, the income of a daily wager would increase from 10,000 a month to 10,700, while a rich person drawing 100,000 per month would increase by 7,000. (you can substitute the money figures for dollars or pounds, or even rubes)

 Incomes would not rise with no economic growth.  The lower middle class has come down to the level of the poor due to a considerable decline in economic growth in the US and other countries. In some cases, we may see countries registering high growth but the trickle-down effect on the poor may be nominal or not at all.  

Economic planners should see the reasons that have denied the poor even a reasonable share in high growth. Financial openness, policies that trigger inflation and disturb the budget balance affect the poor people’s share in growth.

The state will have to play its due role to ensure that overall prosperity is shared. The poor need taxation and policies that improve the quality of their lives. “A level-playing field through competent state institutions will accelerate prosperity among the poor.”

Market analyst Dr Shahid Zia said the state should create opportunities for the poor people to reduce the widening income gap.

“Policies and an overall environment that promotes investment, growth and create jobs with the institutional support of the state will reduce inequalities,” he said.

Source of economic figures taken from sources on the net.

Pic credit to on report complaining about beggars allowed on the streets again

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