Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Schedule update

Nov.14. Our schedule for the seminar  this semester is filling up.- It is full. I therefor request that each presentation on the chapters be 20 minutes rather than 30.  I will be cutting other topics to get to the end of the semester.= such as the role of organized labor.
I tried to send this by email, but the group e mail function would not work.
See the post below for an update on Krugman. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Krugman- The Mutilated Economy

The Mutilated Economy

Five years and eleven months have now passed since the U.S. economy entered recession. Officially, that recession ended in the middle of 2009, but nobody would argue that we’ve had anything like a full recovery. Official unemployment remains high, and it would be much higher if so many people hadn’t dropped out of the labor force. Long-term unemployment — the number of people who have been out of work for six months or more — is four times what it was before the recession.
These dry numbers translate into millions of human tragedies — homes lost, careers destroyed, young people who can’t get their lives started. And many people have pleaded all along for policies that put job creation front and center. Their pleas have, however, been drowned out by the voices of conventional prudence. We can’t spend more money on jobs, say these voices, because that would mean more debt. We can’t even hire unemployed workers and put idle savings to work building roads, tunnels, schools. Never mind the short run, we have to think about the future!
The bitter irony, then, is that it turns out that by failing to address unemployment, we have, in fact, been sacrificing the future, too. What passes these days for sound policy is in fact a form of economic self-mutilation, which will cripple America for many years to come. Or so say researchers from the Federal Reserve, and I’m sorry to say that I believe them.

Pension Theft Crime Wave | Labor Notes

Pension Theft Crime Wave | Labor Notes

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Corporate Lobbyists and the Trans Pacific Partnership

Bill Moyers: The Corporate Plot That Obama and Corporate Lobbyists Don't Want You to Know About
The Trans Pacific Partnership is a threat to up-end the economy as we know it.

Photo Credit:  November 1, 2013  |  Alternet.
 A US-led trade deal is currently being negotiated that could increase the price of prescription drugs, weaken financial regulations and even allow partner countries to challenge American laws. But few know its substance.
The pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is deliberately shrouded in secrecy, a trade deal powerful people, including President Obama, don’t want you to know about. More than 130 members of Congress have asked the White House for greater transparency about the negotiations and were essentially told to go fly a kite. While most of us are in the dark about the contents of the deal, which Obama aims to seal by year end, corporate lobbyists are in the know about what it contains.

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And some vigilant independent watchdogs are tracking the negotiations with sources they trust, including Dean Baker and Yves Smith, who join Moyers & Company this week. Both have written extensively about the TPP and tell Bill the pact actually has very little to do with free trade.
Instead, says Dean Baker, co-director of the  Center for Economic and Policy Research, “This really is a deal that’s being negotiated by corporations for corporations and any benefit it provides to the bulk of the population of this country will be purely incidental.” Yves Smith, an investment banking expert who runs the  Naked Capitalism blog adds: “There would be no reason to keep it so secret if it was in the interest of the public.”

The following is a transcript of the video: 
Let's turn now to another big story ... TPP -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s a trade agreement the United States is negotiating with Australia, Canada, Japan and eight other countries in the Pacific region. If you don't know about the TPP, and few do, it's because the powerful people behind it -- including President Obama -- don't want you to know.
The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy, and once they are completed, Obama wants to rush the agreement through Congress -- fast-tracking, they call it -- with our elected representatives given the choice only of voting it up or down. Last year, over 130 members of Congress asked the White House for more transparency about what's being negotiated, and were essentially told to go fly a kite. You can be sure of this, however: a select group of corporate partners -- companies like General Electric, Goldman Sachs, and Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant -- are not likely to be in the dark. Players like these stand to be the real beneficiaries of the agreement, because like other so-called "free trade" agreements, TPP actually will reward those at the top, even as it creates rules to override domestic laws on the environment, workplace safety, and investment. Corporate lobbyists already are lining up in Washington to ram the agreement through once the White House hurries it out of the delivery room. How do we know this? Because some vigilant independent watchdogs are tracking the negotiations, with sources they trust, and two are with me now.
YVES SMITH is an expert on investment banking and the founder of Aurora Advisors, a New York based management consulting firm. She runs the “Naked Capitalism” blog, a go-to site for information and insight on the business and ethics of finance.

DEAN BAKER is co-director of the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He's been a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and a consultant to Congress and the World Bank. I rarely miss his blog, “Beat the Press,” and I’m a regular reader of his column in the “Guardian” newspaper.

The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012 | Economic Policy Institute

The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012 | Economic Policy Institute
The state-by-state pattern of public employment cuts, pension rollbacks, and union busting makes little sense from an economic standpoint. But it becomes much more intelligible when understood as a political phenomenon.
As previously noted, in November 2010, 11 states gave Republicans new monopoly control over their state government, putting them in charge of both houses of the legislature as well as the governor’s office. These historic gains were part of the Tea Party–inspired “wave” election that, at the federal level, saw the GOP regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. They also reflected the impact of unlimited corporate spending, as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision overturned restrictions on campaign spending at the state as well as federal levels. In Wisconsin, for instance, long-standing restrictions that limited corporate political spending were ruled invalid. As a result, the 2010 elections were the most expensive in the state’s history, with money flooding in from out-of-state business interests.15The officials who took office in January 2011 represented the first crop of legislators elected under the new rules of unlimited spending.

Much of the most dramatic legislation since 2011 has been concentrated in these 11 states. Particularly in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which have traditionally upheld high labor standards, the 2010 election provided a critical opportunity for corporate lobbies to advance legislative goals that had long lingered on wish lists. Where Republicans found themselves in total control of states whose statutes had been shaped by a history of strong labor movements, employer associations and corporate lobbyists were eager to seize on this rare and possibly temporary authority to enact as much of their agenda as possible.

Why is the U.S. cutting the social safety net ? Reich

Robert Reich

Friday, November 1, 2013

House Passes Deregulation Bill Written by Citigroup

House Passes Deregulation Bill Written by Citigroup

Richard Wolff- Capitalism's withdrawal

Economist Richard Wolff.
U.S. Political dysfunction and Capitalism's Withdrawal ( from the U.S.)