In US politics, a job guarantee was seen as hopeless lefty radicalism as recently as a month ago. But the shock of the virus has opened the conversation to bigger ideas. As unemployment spirals into a range of social pathologies, history is catching up to economist Pavlina Tcherneva.
What lessons can we learn from this pandemic? Will the coronavirus crisis lead to a new way of organizing society — one that conceives of a social and political order where profits are not above people? In this exclusive interview with Truthout, public intellectual Noam Chomsky and economist Robert Pollin tackle these questions.
The Covid-19 crisis has revealed gruesome core dysfunction. Drug companies have to be bribed to make needed medicines, state governments improvise harebrained plans for emergency elections, and industrial capacity has been offshored to the point where making enough masks seems beyond the greatest country in the world.
"When a company fails, it does not fire their employees, it goes through a packaged bankruptcy," said Palihapitiya. "If anything what happens is the people who have the pensions inside the companies, the employees of these companies, end up owning more of the company.
At a time of near-record wealth concentration, more than twice as many young Americans say the existence of billionaires is bad for society as those who say it is good.According to the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of adults younger than 30 support the view that people whose personal fortunes exceed $1 billion “is a bad thing,” while 16 percent say billionaires are good for society.
Before a vaccine to combat the coronavirus pandemic is within view, the Trump administration has already walked back its initial refusal to promise that any remedy would be affordable to the general public. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary and a former drug industry executive, told Congress.
The incarceration of Black women, men, and children is a global phenomenon. And thanks to New Jim Crow mass incarceration laws – prosecution is rampant across the United States – the so called ‘Land of the Free’. The New Jersey Department of Corrections recently came under fire after ACLU attorneys exposed their unconstitutional ban on The New Jim Crow — an award winning book that blew the lid off of America’s prison-industrial complex.
The removal of Trump from office would not threaten corporate power. It would not restore civil liberties, including our right to privacy and due process. It would not demilitarize the police or champion the rights of the working class. It would not impede the profits of the fossil fuel and banking industries. It would not address the climate emergency.
Plutocrats like to control the range of permissible public dialogue. Plutocrats also like to shape what society values. If you want to see where a country’s priorities lie, look at how it allocates its money. While teachers and nurses earn comparatively little for performing critical jobs, corporate bosses including those who pollute our planet and bankrupt defenseless families, make millions more.
The media hypes the latest jobs growth figure and the unemployment rate. Here’s the context you need to really understand those measures. Jobs numbers are calculated from a nationwide survey of about 150,000 businesses and government agencies. The other high-profile number that’s announced at the same time, the unemployment rate — referred to as “U-3” — comes from a different survey of about 60,000 households — and isn’t subject to monthly revisions.
"Today, more than half of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration by government agencies is used to pay the thousands of vendors that serve the criminal legal system." A new report provides information on which corporations are profiting from the private prison industry.
The social democracy of Finland was once again ranked number one on the United Nations' World Happiness Report, released on Wednesday, while the corporate-dominated United States fell one place to rank at 19th. For the seventh year in a row, the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network released a report ranking 156 countries according to measures including income, freedom, trust in government, and social support.
Corporations have created a new kind of marketplace out of our private human experiences. That is the conclusion of an explosive new book that argues big tech platforms like Facebook and Google are elephant poachers, and our personal data is ivory tusks. Author Shoshana Zuboff writes in “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power”: “At its core, surveillance capitalism is parasitic and self-referential.
Last and most significant to understanding the change in 2018 is the fact that companies can deduct the cost of stock-based compensation from their taxable earnings even though it doesn’t actually cost companies any money to hand out shares of their own stock to employees. What’s more, the way this cost is estimated is that the more your share price rises, the bigger the deduction for handing out shares. So precisely because Amazon’s profits surged, the price of the company’s shares went up a lot and the value of these deductions surged as well.
Walmart’s most recent quarterly dividend was 52 cents a share, or $2.08 a year. In other words, the Walton family earns $3,138,649,017.92 just in dividends a year, before adding in income from salaries, director’s fees and so forth. Yep, that’s more than $3.1 billion. We have no idea how many hours a week members of the Walton family work on business, but a standard workweek is 40 hours, or 2,080 hours a year. That works out to $1.51 million an hour — or more precisely, $25,149 a minute.
New York's old Democratic order — in the vein of Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio — backed Amazon's move, while a new crop of social democrats bucked it. The plan’s thwarting offers a lesson in the possibility of forceful collective struggle against seemingly unbeatable Goliaths. It also proves the need for left-wing politicians and organizers to challenge and replace conservative, capitalist Democrats if we are to wrest control of neighborhoods, cities, and public resources away from corporate interests and towards the good of existing communities.
Last year, Stephen Schwarzman took home $786.5 million from the Blackstone Group, a leading private-equity firm that he co-founded and has run for more than 30 years. The question is: Do they deserve such extraordinary sums?
From the 1930s to the time Wanniski wrote his opus magnum in the Wall Street Journal, Democrats—who almost continuously controlled the House of Representatives where all taxing and spending must originate—kept high taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things. This kept the national debt in decline, and kept working people happy (working-class wages were steadily going up, in fact faster than the wages of CEOs).
To the state inspectors visiting the HCR ManorCare nursing home here last year, the signs of neglect were conspicuous. A disabled man who had long, dirty fingernails told them he was tended to “once in a blue moon.” The bedside “call buttons” were so poorly staffed that some residents regularly soiled themselves while waiting for help to the bathroom. A woman dying of uterine cancer was left on a bedpan for so long that she bruised.
Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement proclaiming that, notwithstanding the anger toward the Saudi Crown Prince over the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” To justify his decision, Trump cited the fact that “Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world” and claimed that “of the $450 billion [the Saudis plan to spend with U.S. companies], $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.”
Weapons makers are moving last-minute money to the Democratic congressman in line to chair the defense industry’s key House committee, as he is under assault from a fellow Democrat, who is attacking his pro-war record just ahead of a rare intra-party general election.
Bankers kept their name tags obscured behind ties. Many tried to keep a low profile and avoided talking to the news media. But those hoping to escape any tarnish from attending Saudi Arabia’s global investment conference in the wake of a dissident journalist’s killing were foiled when the crown prince himself, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared at the summit meeting and received a standing ovation.
Two decades ago, few had any idea that the U.S. — thanks to both rigged tax structures and anonymous companies in states like Wyoming and Nevada — had already transformed into one of the world’s greatest tax and secrecy havens. While jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland grabbed headlines, the U.S. presented itself as the future of offshoring writ large.
Prisons are reminiscent of Tolstoy’s famous observation about unhappy families: Each “is unhappy in its own way,” though there are some common features — for prisons, the grim and stifling recognition that someone else has total authority over your life.
The 2008 financial crisis was not the result only of moral hazard; nor was it unforeseeable. While too-big-to-fail banks believed – rightly, it turned out – that they would be bailed out, consumers, rating agencies, and policymakers all bet on housing as well, destabilizing the system.
It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, but instead of robbing banks, Amazon has enticed city and state officials to rob their own citizens — then hand over the loot in the form of tax breaks, land, and other bribes to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. The locality that offers the most booty “wins” the grand prize of having this thieving corporate behemoth become its new neighbor.
A new report about convicted felon Paul Manafort’s work in Central Asia offers a chance to dive into why former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole decided to take a position on the board of the most controversial bank in the region, linked to dictators and grand corruption alike. The short answer? Money.
The year was 1965. On Cinco de Mayo, newspapers across the country reported that Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz wanted to recruit 20,000 high schoolers to replace the hundreds of thousands of Mexican agricultural workers who had labored in the United States under the so-called Bracero Program. Started in World War II, the program was an agreement between the American and Mexican governments that brought Mexican men to pick harvests across the U.S. It ended in 1964, after years of accusations by civil rights activists like Cesar Chavez that migrants suffered wage theft and terrible working and living conditions.
Ralf Nader, in an interview with Chris Hedges, explains how corporations over many years have managed to transform the US democracy into an oligarchy, were the institutions of the government are working against the people who put them in power.
An historical record of how Margaret Thatcher and #onepercent, disaster capitalism has caused the unstable, boom and bust economy that keeps taking from the working class and feeding the wealth and power of the oligarchy.
The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.
Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons.
The anxiety and seething anger that followed the disappearance of middle-income jobs in factory towns has helped reshape the American political map and topple longstanding policies on tariffs and immigration. But globalization and automation aren’t the only forces responsible for the loss of those reliable paychecks. So is the steady erosion of the public sector.
The SNAP numbers are the latest in a series of revelations surrounding working conditions inside Amazon’s warehouse facilities. On Thursday, The Intercept noted that, in addition to being a top SNAP recipient, Amazon’s median employee pay was only $28,446 — 9 percent less than the industry average and well below the U.S. living wage.
Just like $2.5 trillion worth of companies around the world, the company publishing the story you are now reading is owned by private equity firms. Most people have little idea what the private equity industry actually does. The truth is terrifying.
The belittling message at the core of the colonial experiment has been reinforced in countless ways by the official responses (and nonresponses) to Hurricane Maria. Time after humiliating time, Puerto Ricans have been sent that familiar message about their relative worth and ultimate disposability. And nothing has done more to confirm this status than the fact that no level of government has seen fit to count the dead in any kind of credible way, as if lost Puerto Rican lives are of so little consequence that there is no need to document their mass extinguishment.
On Christmas Eve in 2013, an out-of-work welder named Rex Iverson was rushed to a Utah hospital. He survived, but was hit with a hefty bill for the ambulance ride. There is a widespread assumption that that indigent patients never have to pay emergency room bills they can’t afford, and instead the cost is passed on to those with insurance. But in fact, companies and municipalities pursue such debts aggressively.
America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq.
There is something profoundly wrong with the United States of America’s system of government. For proof, briefly take stock of the last ten years in American democracy, in which a combination of factors — the filibuster, the way we draw legislative districts, Senate malapportionment, and the Electoral College — converged to rob American voters of a meaningful ability to choose their own leaders.
Broadcasting from the Sundance Film Festival, we are joined by three guests who personally battled with DuPont and are featured in the new documentary called “The Devil We Know,” that looks at how former DuPont employees, residents and lawyers took on the chemical giant to expose the danger of the chemical C8, found in Teflon and countless household products—from stain- and water-resistant apparel to microwave popcorn bags to dental floss.
The Taliban were funded 6 months before the invasion of Soviet Union of Afghanistan, 500 million dollars by the Jimmy Carter administration in 1979 contrary to the common reports that the funding came after the invasion and in response to the Soviet invasion
In the 1920s, they were wondering why there was no socialist revolution in a sophisticated and advanced industrialized country like Germany. Why a successful Bolshevik Revolution a couple years before in Russia but not in Germany? They concluded that culture and the use of the media was the primary tool for oppressing the masses without the masses realizing that they're being oppressed.
The new U.S. tax plan is a scam—a corporate coup—that benefits a few rich and powerful Americans that make the most and want to pay the least. They are the owners of our country, the plutocrats and oligarchs that run this nation and tell politicians what to do, such as increase the military budget from $793.7 billion in 2017 to $824.6 billion in 2018. We, the 99 percent, are not in the club. Anyone who wants a fair and just society becomes an enemy of the state.
The Paradise Papers show how one percent of the worlds population, hides its money in tax havens, owns 40% of the wealth worldwide and abuses this privilege at the expense of the 99%. The wealthy have grown their assets by 9% over the last decade, while the rest of the world GDP has grown at 3%.
Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures. “I feel committed to being the person who’s there to help millennials, the next generation, go on to become critical thinkers,” she said. “And I’m really good at it, and I really like it. And it’s heartbreaking to me it doesn’t pay what I feel it should.”Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness.
While it’s widely known that private schools convert to charter status to take advantage of public dollars, more schools are now heading in the opposite direction. As voucher programs across the country proliferate, shuttered charter schools like the Orange Park Performance Arts Academy have begun to privatize in order to stay open with state assistance.
As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded bore down on the continental United States, with much of Florida under evacuation order, President Donald Trump was focused on a matter of grave urgency. He gathered his cabinet at Camp David and said there was no time to waste. With Hurricane Irma set to potentially devastate huge swaths of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, now was the time, he said, to rush through massive ... tax cuts.
Free-market boosters, including Betsy DeVos, promised that a radical expansion of charter schools would fix the stark inequalities in the state’s education system. The results in the classrooms are far more complicated. Today in Michigan, hundreds of nonprofit public charters have become potential financial assets to outside entities, inevitably complicating their broader social missions. In the case of Carver, interested parties have included a for-profit educational management organization, or E.M.O., in Georgia; an Indian tribe in a remote section of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; and a financial firm in Minnesota. “That’s all it is now — it’s moneymaking,” Darrel Redrick, a charter-school proponent and an administrator at Carver at the time I visited, told me.
A study was just published in the journal World Development that quantifies the amount of subsidies directed toward fossil fuels globally, and the results are shocking. The authors work at the IMF and are well-skilled to quantify the subsidies discussed in the paper. Let’s give the final numbers and then back up to dig into the details. The subsidies were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later. According to the authors, these subsidies are important because first, they promote fossil fuel use which damages the environment. Second, these are fiscally costly.
Activists are trying to combat both the accelerated tracking and detaining of immigrants and the use of for-profit prisons to hold them by targeting the big banks that prop up for-profit prison companies. Is the Trump administration immigration policy designed to profit the
Compared to the rest of the population, the super wealthy give away a smaller proportion of their income. In Britain, the uber rich can secure a spot in the top 100 givers spot by donating a miniscule 1.08% of their income. Transporting these numbers into the U.S., it would mean that average American could have those bragging rights by giving about $400 to charity. That’s hilarious in a heart-breaking sort of way.
Many academics claim, against all odds, that money doesn't matter in politics. Now we can see exactly what it costs to buy a congressional vote. A 2015 New York Times poll found that 87 percent of Americans believe the campaign finance system either needs “fundamental changes” or should be “completely rebuilt.” Politicians themselves will tell you that their world is ruled by money. And the super-wealthy obviously believe money translates into power, since they continue pouring it into politics. Strangely, almost the only human beings who think that money doesn’t warp politics are academic political scientists who study it. The Roosevelt study quotes a previous paper summarizing the “scholarly consensus” as being that “candidate spending has very modest to negligible causal effects on candidate vote shares.”
The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy. There is a familiar checklist for extinction. We are ticking off every item on it.
As the recession lifted, poor and middle class Americans dug deeper into their wallets to give to charity, even though they were earning less. At the same time, according to a new Chronicle analysis of tax data, wealthy Americans earned more, but the portion of the income they gave to charity declined.
Falling civilizations embrace what Freud calls the death instinct. They are dominated by oligarchic elites, imbeciles, narcissists and con artists who, on the way down, feed us fantasies and steal as much as they can.
Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”
We already know that the Trump administration plans to deregulate markets, wage all-out war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” trash climate science and unleash a fossil-fuel frenzy. It’s a vision that can be counted on to generate a tsunami of crises and shocks: economic shocks, as market bubbles burst; security shocks, as blowback from foreign belligerence comes home; weather shocks, as our climate is further destabilized; and industrial shocks, as oil pipelines spill and rigs collapse, which they tend to do, especially when enjoying light-touch regulation.
Why did we allow the corporate state to strip away the rights of poor people of color and force them to live in terror in mini-police states? Why did we build the world’s largest system of mass incarceration? Did we not see that the rest of us would be next? Why did we agree that those defined by the state as terrorists could not only be deprived of their rights but be assassinated? Did we think the state would restrict itself to persecuting and murdering Muslims?
In 2016, 3.5 billion adults, or 73% of total, had wealth under $10,000 accounting for 2.4% of global wealth. In contrast, the 33 million millionaires comprise 0.7% of the adult population, but own 46% of household wealth. And the, at the very top, 50,800 are worth at least $100 million, and 5,200 have assets above $500 million.
Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale. Species are going extinct at a rate 1,000 times faster than that of the natural rate over the previous 65 million years
There is a very well-funded, well-orchestrated climate change-denial movement, one funded by powerful people with very deep pockets. In a new and incredibly thorough study, Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle took a deep dive into the financial structure of the climate deniers, to see who is holding the purse strings. According to Brulle's research, the 91 think tanks and advocacy organizations and trade associations that make up the American climate denial industry pull down just shy of a billion dollars each year, money used to lobby or sway public opinion on climate change and other issues.
A video expose by Professor Richard Wolf, economist critiquing the entire economic system. He says that calling our condition a financial crisis limits it. He says that monetary policy was tried during the 1930's depression and didn't work. What worked was the 2nd world war that got us out of that depression. Excellent presentation.