The Jobless Trap

Jobless Trap

The Article: The Jobless Trap by Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

The Text: F.D.R. told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. But when future historians look back at our monstrously failed response to economic depression, they probably won’t blame fear, per se. Instead, they’ll castigate our leaders for fearing the wrong things.

For the overriding fear driving economic policy has been debt hysteria, fear that unless we slash spending we’ll turn into Greece any day now. After all, haven’t economists proved that economic growth collapses once public debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P.?

Well, the famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic. And America isn’t and can’t be Greece, because countries that borrow in their own currencies operate under very different rules from those that rely on someone else’s money. After years of repeated warnings that fiscal crisis is just around the corner, the U.S. government can still borrow at incredibly low interest rates.

Continue Reading

Email

0

Why Believe In Science When You Can Believe In The Free Market Gods?

Milton Friedman

The Article: Study: Belief in Free-Market Economics Linked to Distrust of Science by Steven Hsieh in AlterNet.

The Text: People who support free-market economics are more likely to reject proven science, according to a study published in Psychological Science last month.

Examining 1,377 visitors to climate change denial blogs, researchers found that belief in a hands-off approach to economics predicted denial that human activity causes climate change, a fact accepted by 97 percent of scientists. The study’s authors—which include Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia and Klaus Oberauer of the University of Zurich—noted that the anti-science movement is especially prevalent in the United States.

“The conspiracist ideation that all of the world’s scientific academies have conspired together to create a hoax known as global warming has found traction in American mainstream politics,” the study reads.

Continue Reading

Email

0

Make Way For Koch News

Koch Brothers

The Article: Koch Brothers Plan to Buy up Eight Major Newspapers by Annie Rose Strasser in AlterNet.

The Text: The billionaire oil moguls Charles and David Koch are pushing ahead with their plans to purchase several news outlets across the United States, according to a detailed report in the New York Times on Sunday.

At a recent seminar in Aspen, one attendee reported that the brothers — infamous for bankrolling conservative candidates and causes — put forth the question of, “How do we make sure our voice is being heard?” Their answer, it seems, will be to purchase the entire Tribune company, which constitutes a huge swath of American print media:

The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.

Continue Reading

Email

0

Recession Over For The Wealthy; For Everyone Else It Drags On

Rich Recession Recovery

The Article: Wealthiest Americans Only Winners in Recovery, Pew Says by Frank Bass in Business Week.

The Text: The U.S. economy has recovered for households with net worth of $500,000 or more, a new study shows. The recession continues for almost everyone else.

Wealthy households boosted their net worth by 21.2 percent in the aftermath of the recession, according to the study released today by the Pew Research Center. The rest of America lost 4.9 percent of household wealth from 2009 to 2011.

Pew attributed the disparity to gains during that period in the stock and bond markets, benefiting affluent households, while the housing market’s decline hit others harder. The report underscores the nation’s growing income inequality, with the top 13 percent of households recovering their losses from the 18- month recession that ended in June 2009, and the rest of the country continuing to hemorrhage wealth.

Continue Reading

Email

0

Tennessee, Or Ayn Rand Land?

Ayn Rand

The Article: The Southern State Fast Becoming Ayn Rand’s Vision of Paradise by Les Leopold in AlterNet.

The Text: If you’re worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. Its lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you believe deeply in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It’s what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.

Tennessee starves what little government it has, ranking dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low-income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes, which rank 10th highest among all states as a percent of total tax revenues. (For more detailed data see here.)

As you would expect, this translates into hard times for its public school systems, which rank 48th in school revenues per student and 45th in teacher salaries. The failure to invest in education also corresponds with poverty: the state has the 40th worst poverty rate (15%) and the 13th highest state percentage of poor children (26%).

Continue Reading

Email

0
Hot On The Web