Tag: The destruction of the middle class

Why COVID-19 Will Strain the Safety Net for Homeless Vets to the Breaking Point

By Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW). This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute. Under normal circumstances, Jerry Porter would be spending his time helping the veterans he finds in tent camps and run-down housing. But the escalating threat of COVID-19 forces the community activist and retired Steelworker […]

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The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Is a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Washington Cronies

Yves here. The financial crisis was such a successful exercise in looting the public purse that our oligarchs are at it again, this time via the “stimulus” bill. By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and commentator. Produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute When historians look back on our current […]

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Covid-19 Hits the Dual Economy: Incomes Destroyed at the Bottom, Profits Supported at the Top

Yves here. Those of you well schooled in MMT will no doubt react to the fact that this post expresses concerns about “government debt” and does not differentiate between debts of states and local governments, which are currency users, versus Federal debt, when the Federal government as a currency issuer could extinguish its debt at […]

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Debt and Power: An Interview With Michael Hudson

Yves here. Yet another informative talk with Michael Hudson on one of his key topics: why debt that can’t be paid won’t be paid. Here, he gives another riff on how ancient societies dealt with this issue and how modern lenders have gone off the rails. Originally published at Digital Finance Analytics [embedded content] Martin: Today […]

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Sanders Calls for ‘Unprecedented Legislative Response’ to Coronavirus Crisis—Not Corporate Bailouts

Jerri-Lynn here. Where is Joe Biden on any of this? Today is a momentous day in American politics. Congress is considering a multi-trillion dollar bailout plan, an attempt to calm free falling markets and shape the American economy for the foreseeable future. Alas, it looks like Congress is scrambling to implement a stimulus plan that […]

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A Modest Proposal: Make Sure the Public Knows, in Real Time, When Congresscritters are Dumping Shares

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans. Last week saw the release of news showing some Congresscritters plumbing new deaths of ethically challenged behaviour. Seems that after receiving briefings about the coming COVID-19 calamity, senators Richard Burr and Kelly […]

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Michael Hudson: A Debt Jubilee is the Only Way to Avoid a Depression

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is “and forgive them their debts”: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year Originally published by the Washington Post, reproduced with […]

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The Fed Backfires: Shock and Awe Rate Drop to 0%, Emergency Bond Buying Program Leads to Limit Down Drops in US Equity Futures as Real World Coronavirus Damage Worsens

Investors reacted to the Fed’s unprecedented Sunday moves, of dropping the Fed Funds rate to 0%, launching a new $700 billon Treasury and mortgage bond buying program, increasing the size of dollar swap lines, and other measures, with revulsion. S&P futures and the Dow mini went to limit down in 15 minutes. The central banks […]

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‘Grotesque Level of Greed’: Owned by World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers to Pay for Colleagues’ Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

Yves here. We’ve said it before: Boycott Whole Foods. And stop using Amazon, or if you must (like you are in a retail desert), cut way back. By Jon Queally. Originally published at Common Dreams When progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders say “now is the time for solidarity” amid the coronavirus outbreak, they likely do […]

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Who’s Responsible? How the “Independent Contractor” Dodge Guts Employment Protections

Yves here. Even though most readers are familiar with the efforts to force “gig economy” players to step up and assume employment obligations when they exercise significant control over their workers, these “independent contractor” relations are widespread. This article explains how employment laws already had significant failings and these new work relations make it even […]

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Will Biden’s Trade Policy Record Come Back to Haunt Him in Midwest?

Jerri-Lynn here. With the coronavirus crisis and the markets in meltdown, it would be easy to forget that Tuesday is the Michigan primary. So this post examines Biden’s woeful trade policy record. will Bernie be able to capitalize on this history? Also, we shouldn’t forget: Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington will also hold primaries […]

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Let’s Crush the Woke Plutonomy! An Interview + Review of The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left are Rising by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti

Yves here. For the record, the word plutonomy became part of the lexicon (and may even have been coined) by Citigroup in a series of reports to its asset management clients in 2005. They argued that a world ordered to suit the whims of the top 1% was well underway. The only thing that might […]

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Porkfest! Tallying How Much the Pentagon Really Costs

Yves here. While Mandy Smithberger does a great job of aggregating all the different buckets of spending by the Pentagon and its friends, it’s even worse than this picture suggests. In addition to the official black budget, the Overseas Contingency Operations account, my understanding is there are are also truly hidden funds. By Mandy Smithberger, […]

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Housing Insecurity, Homelessness, and Populism: Evidence from the UK

Yves here. When citizens have trouble paying for basic needs like housing, it should come as no surprise that they get unhappy and correctly blame the people in charge. But even worse, look at the spending impact. The Conservative policy largely failed even by its own warped standards. However, one might argue vote suppression of […]

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More Than 9 Million People Use Freecycle Instead of Buying New

Yves here. I am such a Yankee. I hate throwing anything out that is still even sort of usable (hence my antique mobile phones). This goes double for clothes, where I will wear a bit worn clothing when I run local errands, even though most of the local women bother wearing at least mildly upmarket […]

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Boris Johnson, Not Donald Trump, Is the Real Blue-Collar Conservative

Yves here. I suspect a lot of UK readers will be more inclined to argue, like Richard North, that Johnson is moving the UK towards a a Singapore on the Thames, or what Richard Murphy calls the Freeports model, which leave the hollowed out, former industrial areas in even more desperate shape. This was Murphy’s […]

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The Race to Slash ‘Red Tape’ in Post-Brexit Britain Has Begun. How Can It Be Resisted?

Yves here. Even though this piece describes how Brexit is a useful tool for advancing neoliberal aims, the techniques need to become more widely known here as well. For instance, “impact assessments” are a particularly nasty bit of business. It also goes without saying that the Brexit deregulation push isn’t going to endear the UK […]

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Michael Hudson: The Democrats’ Quandary – In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give

Yves here. Importantly, further down in this post, Hudson suggests how Sanders could address the false dichotomy between capitalism and socialism posted by Democrats aligned with the super wealthy. By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. […]

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Is Bloomberg Buying the DNC? If So, What Does He Plan to Do With It?

Yves here. We are a little heavy on the “state of the DNC/Dems” posts today, but both pieces look at the escalating fight over who owns the party through a class warfare/income inequality perspective. Openly buying a party is Third World behavior (and reader in better run emerging economies will no doubt say that that’s […]

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Legacy Admissions: John Hopkins Drops Preferences, Other Institutions Consider Changes

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans. Johns Hopkins University just announced that it’s abandoned the practice of legacy admissions – preferences for children and relatives of an alumnus or alumna. In fact, Johns Hopkins ended the practice in […]

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Wolf Richter: Subprime Credit Card Delinquencies Spike to Record High, Past Financial-Crisis Peak, as Other Consumers Relish the Good Times. Why?

By Wolf Richter, editor of Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street The rate of credit card balances that are 30 days or more delinquent at the 4,500 or so commercial banks that are smaller than the top 100 banks spiked to 7.05% in the fourth quarter, the highest delinquency rate in the data going […]

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To Tackle Inequality, We Need To Start Talking About Where Wealth Comes From

Yves here. While it was refreshing to see some Democratic presidential candidates depict inequality as an important political and economic issue, it would help if they sharpened their critique of why concentrated wealth is suspect. Too much inherited money lead to the creation of dynasties. As Bloomberg is so vividly demonstrating, the rich can buy […]

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