Friday, October 20, 2017

Budget Reconciliation - What Is It

BREAKING: Republicans in the Senate (and only Republicans) just approved a budget that envisions a grotesque future—trillions of dollars in tax giveaways to the ultra wealthy, funded by cutting trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, and other vital programs for the poor and middle class.1,2 
This vote is the starting gun for what might be the most consequential legislative fight of the Trump era: the looting of the U.S. treasury to reward billionaire GOP donors and mega-corporations, at the expense of the rest of us.
If Republicans succeed, their backers will reward them with boatloads of campaign cash—fueling their efforts to hold power in 2018 and 2020. If they fail, they'll turn on each other—opening the door toward a potential Democratic landslide. And beyond the political stakes, the human impact is vast: the acceleration of plutocracy in America and the shredding of the basic protections that tens of millions of American families depend on.
Here's how this fight will go down:
Tonight's vote was on a budget resolution. Budget resolutions are nonbinding—they don't become law. Instead, they are moral documents—statements of priorities that shape future legislation. They have one critical function: You need to pass a budget resolution to open the door to a budget reconciliation bill, which is the only kind of tax cut bill that can't be filibustered, so it would need only 51 votes. And one of those 51 votes could be Vice President Mike Pence.
In other words, with this budget resolution in place, the GOP can shoot for a tax bill without a single Democratic vote. To defeat it, we'll need unified Democratic opposition, plus three Republicans in the Senate or 24 in the House. It's the same math that we faced with health care repeal. But winning this one will be even harder.

California Fires - Time for Disaster Socialism | Portside

California Fires - Time for Disaster Socialism | Portside

Closing the Exits for Capital

Closing the Exit for Capital

by Devaka Gunawardena

Since the financial crisis of 2008, capitalism has faced greater scrutiny. There’s growing consensus, even among mainstream economists, that neoclassical models that ignore the inherent irrationality of the financial system are flawed. In addition, austerity has directly undermined most people’s livelihoods, while making the rich even richer. There is much more space after the financial crisis of 2008 to critique financial speculation and the drastic reduction in public spending. Still, it remains unclear how to work toward socialism. Rhetoric opposing austerity doesn’t necessarily imply overcoming capitalism.
Read the entire piece here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Senate Republicans Embrace Plan for $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut - The New York Times

Senate Republicans Embrace Plan for $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut - The New York Times

Confident Fed Sets Stage for December Rate Increase - The New York Times

Confident Fed Sets Stage for December Rate Increase - The New York Times

Trump- Republican Tax Cuts

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the Trump-Republican tax plan
Say no to trickle-down tax cuts, and say no to mindless deficit reduction.
September 16, 2017

Have you noticed that there’s no Trump tax plan and no Republican tax plan? All they’ve come up with so far is a bunch of platitudes about how nice it would be to cut taxes, simplify the tax code, and spur economic growth.
Who doesn’t support these nice goals?
The reason there’s no tax plan is congressional Republicans are hopelessly divided on it.
Right-wing Republicans (the “Freedom Caucus” along with what’s left of the Tea Party) are most interested in reducing the size of the government and shrinking the federal deficit and debt.
Corporate and Wall Street Republicans – along with Donald Trump – are most interested in cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy. They have the backing the GOP’s big business donors who stand to make a bundle off tax cuts.

Here’s the problem. You can’t have a giant tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, and at the same time shrink the federal deficit and debt – unless you make gigantic cuts in government spending on things the American public wants and needs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guide to Resistance


Trump data on Job Growth

ANOTHER TRUMP WHOPPER ON JOBS: "Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time," Trump said in his speech to the United Nations. Actually, job growth is following more or less the same pattern it did last year (when candidate Trump repeatedly complained that the economy was in lousy shape). Indeed, CNN Money's Patrick Gillespie reports, if you have the bad manners to compare job growth in 2017 to job growth in 2016 you'll find that 2016's was a little bit faster. 
"The U.S. has added an average of 176,000 new jobs a month so far this year," writes Gillespie. "Last year the U.S. economy added an average of 194,000 jobs a month in the same period, between January and August. The full-year average for 2016 was also above 2017's pace at 187,000 jobs a month, according to Labor Department data." More here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Republican Budget Cuts

From the House bill.

Here’s what their budget would cut:
  • Nearly $2 trillion from health care, mostly Medicaid, harming children, people with disabilities, older Americans, and working families
  • $72 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for low-income seniors or people with disabilities
  • $667 billion from food stamps, housing assistance, job training, and other critical services
  • And more from education, medical research, environmental protections, and infrastructure
All this, just to give *$4.8 TRILLION* in tax cuts to corporations and the ultra-rich.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Robert Reich: Trump Has Only Inflamed 5 of America's Biggest Crises @alternet

Robert Reich: Trump Has Only Inflamed 5 of America's Biggest Crises @alternet: Trump is neglecting or worsening the five genuinely big problems facing America. It’s easy to get caught up in the deeply flawed character of Donald Trump. We also need to recognize the policy catastrophe of this presidency.This past week Trump ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shielded around 800,000 young undocumented immigrants – often called Dreamers – from deportation under what’s been known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.



Dreamers created by NAFTA

Saturday, September 9, 2017

David Bacon to Speak at Sac State Wed. Sept. 13


as a part of the Farm to Fork celebration.  Sept  13. 

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. . . They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

-Donald Trump, June 16, 2015

In the Fields of the North/ En Los Campos del Norte by David Bacon
Univerity of California Press, 2017
Reviewed by Duane Campbell

We are not animals. We are human beings.”

In an impressive and important new book, David Bacon effectively counters the racism and xenophobia advanced by our current president and promoted in right-wing media by providing hundreds of photos and clear descriptions of the real life and work of the immigrants harvesting the food we eat. 

Bacon does so by interviewing farmworkers and photographing farmworkers in their “housing” and in their work. He reports and records the humanity of the thousands of people who come north to harvest our crops and to feed their families as best they can.

Photojournalist David Bacon has a long history of documenting the lives of immigrant people, including the important books:, Illegal People: How Globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants. (2008) and The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration (Beacon Press, 2013), as well as a long list of journal articles.

In The Fields of the North, Bacon uses his extensive and award-winning photography to tell more of the story. This is not just a book with some photos, but rather a series of extended photo essays (with over 300 photos)  showing that images and words have a combined power far beyond either words or images by themselves. Bacon tells the story of cycles of exploitation and poverty suffered by tens of thousands moving from season to season, working in the fields to harvest our food for subminimum wages, and facing the racism and political power of growers and their labor contractors.

The Equifax computer breach

The Equifax computer breach.

Bill Black 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sources: Economics for the 99 %

Economics for the 99 %:  In Trumpland. Sources 2017.
Abramsky, Sasha.  The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives,
Gar Alperovitz, America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy.  (2005) John Wiley and Sons
Alperovitz, Gar, What Then Must We Do ? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution. 2013.
Barofsky, Neil, Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. ( 2012)
 Baker, Dean.   Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy, (2009)
Barlett, Donald L., and Steele, James B., The Betrayal of the American Dream.  (2012).
Black, William, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.
Bivens, Josh,  Failure by Design, The Story Behind America’s Broken Economy. 2011.
Campbell, Duane.  Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. (2010)
Center for Popular Economics, Economics for the 99%.  July 2014.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Social Security is Not Going Broke

Republicans like to pretend that their long-held desire to cut Social Security is based on economic concerns about affordability. They hide behind deficit fear-mongering to cover their ideology that when it comes to our retirement security, or a disability, or the loss of a loved one―we’re on our own. But this ideology isn’t about economics. It’s just cruel—and the numbers back this up.

The new Social Security Trustees report―released today―shows a program that is strong and growing. It projects that, even if Congress took no action whatsoever, Social Security could pay 100% of benefits owed through 2034, and 77% of benefits owed after that.

And if the wealthy pay their fair share, and we can afford to expand Social Security and extend the lifespan of the trust fund.

Sign the petition today! Tell Congress that the numbers don’t lie. We can afford to protect and expand Social Security.

This year’s report projects that in 2017 Social Security will run an annual surplus of roughly $58.6 billion, bringing the accumulated surplus to about $2.9 trillion by the end of the year.

This is why the Democratic Party strongly favors expanding, not cutting Social Security, and why expansion was even included in the 2016 Democratic Party Platform:

Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis Under Trump

Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis Under Trump

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cuts to Medicare

Raid of Medicare, cuts to Medicaid among the most problematic parts of the AHCA

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the House vote today to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act.
“Retirees and older Americans who are not yet eligible for Medicare are simply appalled by today’s American Health Care Act vote.
“This bill decimates Medicaid, with more than $800 billion in cuts. Medicaid pays for the nursing home care of millions of seniors and health care for people with disabilities. The $8 billion that the GOP added to their plan at the last minute is a mere drop in the bucket compared to their cuts.
“It also robs the Medicare Trust Fund to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. That transfer of wealth from the sick to the wealthy is unconscionable.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Trump's Infrastructure Plan

Donald Trump ran on the promise of a $1 trillion infrastructure program―seemingly diverging from other members of his party. After all, it’s progressives and Democrats who traditionally call for investments in infrastructure.

A $1 trillion plan would be welcome indeed. According to EPI research, each $1 billion investment in infrastructure has the potential to support more than 18,000 jobs―and these jobs are disproportionately well-paying. And $1 trillion would go a long way (if not all the way) to closing the deferred maintenance deficit we’ve allowed to develop through decades of underinvestment.

Unfortunately, when you actually look at Trump’s infrastructure plan, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not a serious plan, and won’t lead to significant investments in our country’s future.

Even the headlines of the Trump infrastructure plan only call for $200 billion of actual federal funding, “leveraging the private sector” to pay for the rest. What that “leverage” means is that state taxpayers and infrastructure users will be on the hook for the other $800 billion in the form of taxes, toll roads or other privatized projects whose profits pad the pockets of private entities—not local or state budgets.

But Trump’s proposed $200 billion investment isn’t even real! Because his 2018 budget attempts to cut $139 billion from investments to “surface transportation infrastructure.” So, Donald Trump’s $200 billion investment is really a $61 billion investment, at best.

Trump just whittled a $1 trillion investment down to $61 billion. Most of us don’t appreciate receiving just 6 percent of what’s been promised. So we shouldn’t be too happy about this retreat on infrastructure.

At EPI, we’re focusing on facts, not rhetoric, and demanding an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
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Back to (our) Future

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is SSDI ? And Why Does Trump Want to Cut It ?

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, the national media has provided critical reporting on the very real threat that Donald Trump and his administration pose to the future of our democracy. But they have continued a troubling trend of misreporting very real economic implications that the GOP policy agenda poses to working people and older Americans.

Just look at this headline from the New York Times: “Budget Slashes Programs for Poor, While Largely Sparing Older People.”

By slashing Medicaid in both his 2018 budget and Trumpcare, Donald Trump is not only throwing 23 million people off of their healthcare, he’s also making it impossible for older Americans to afford long term nursing home care. And now he’s proposing cutting up to $64 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), while claiming that this does not break his promise to protect Social Security.

This isn’t a new development with Trump. The media has long favored discussions of Social Security and Medicare that treat them as problems, not solutions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Chinese View of Trade

“Belt & Road” v.s. Liberal Order

May 22 , 20
This is really the best of times and worst of times. With the rise of a large number of developing and emerging countries and relative declining of “advanced countries”, the global convergence of power is accelerating and the balance of power continues to tip in favor of the former. This big picture provides a useful prism through which a clearer view of the world today and tomorrow, including the future of globalization, global governance and global liberal order, comes to our minds.

Liberal order in crisis
Without any doubt, a crisis has been raging across the “liberal democratic world” for some time with “black swan events” appearing in the U.S. and in many European nations which have wreaked havoc with the political eco-system in the western world, weakening the centrist and progressive forces that used to underpin the U.S.-led postwar world liberal order.
Only this time around, the challenges to liberal order as well as liberal democracy come from both within and outside, mostly from within, which raises many eyebrows as to whether the U.S.-led and U.S.-defined liberal order can survive.
Talking about challenges from within, first and foremost is the loss of credibility of economic neo-liberalism since the 2008 financial crisis as the governing ideology for global economic order, which has made many countries to turn to the East, in particular China, for new ideas and concepts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Budget Cuts Social Security

Donald Trump says that his newly released 2018 budget does not cut Social Security. Don’t believe it.
Throughout the campaign Trump claimed that he was the only Republican candidate who would protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Yet, his new budget includes $1.7 trillion in cuts to critical programs including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid. 
If he hadn’t noticed, the first two words in SSDI are Social Security.
Trump is trying to spin this and claim that he’s still protecting Social Security and Medicare. But we’re not fooled!
Let’s be very clear: Cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance are cuts to Social Security. SSDI is insurance that workers earn with every paycheck, providing critical financial support for disabled workers and their families.
The average monthly SSDI benefit for a disabled worker is just $1,171.52―or about $14,000 a year. Trump and Republicans believe that by targeting disabled workers and low-income families―some of the most economically vulnerable members of our society―he’ll be able to successfully divide the American people and get away with breaking his campaign promise.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Obama to receive $400,000 to Speak to Wall Street.

Huff Post on Obama's $400,000 speaking fee to Wall Street.  April, 2017.
The rumors are true: Former President Barack Obama will receive $400,000 to speak at a health care conference organized by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. 
It should not be a surprise. This unseemly and unnecessary cash-in fits a pattern of bad behavior involving the financial sector, one that spans Obama’s entire presidency. That governing failure convinced millions of his onetime supporters that the president and his party were not, in fact, playing for their team, and helped pave the way for President Donald Trump. Obama’s Wall Street payday will confirm for many what they have long suspected: that the Democratic Party is managed by out-of-touch elites who do not understand or care about the concerns of ordinary Americans. It’s hard to fault those who come to this conclusion.
Obama refused to prosecute the rampant fraud behind the 2008 Wall Street collapse, despite inking multibillion-dollar settlement after multibillion-dollar settlement with major firms over misconduct ranging from foreclosure fraud to rigging energy markets to tax evasion. In some cases, big banks even pleaded guilty to felonies, but Obama’s Justice Department allowed actual human bankers to ride into the sunset. Early in his presidency, Obama vowed to spend up to $100 billion to help struggling families avert foreclosure. Instead, the administration converted the relief plan into a slush fund for big banks, as top traders at bailed-out firms were allowed to collect six-figure bonuses on the taxpayers’ dime.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Richard D. Wolff - What are Capitalism & Socialism? What differentiates ...

The viewpoint of the U.S. major Marxist economist. 

Resistance to Tyranny

On Tyranny : Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Timothy Snyder.  2017.

How do we resist the rise of tyranny ? the rise of  fascism ?1.     Do Not Obey in Advance.2.     Defend institutions.
For more, read the book.