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Showing posts from July 16, 2014

The Coming Democratic Schism

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[An interesting piece. There is evidence of a generational split among progressives which is a direct counterpart of the split among economic versus social conservatives. Older progressives are more concerned with economic equality, younger progressives with personal liberties. Click here to view the original research. *RON*]

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, 15 July 2014

There is a striking generational split in the Democratic electorate.

This deepening division is apparent in a June Pew Research Center survey of more than 10,000 people, “Beyond Red vs. Blue.” The Pew survey points up the emergence of a cohort of younger voters who are loyal to the Democratic Party, but much less focused on economic redistribution than on issues of personal and sexual autonomy.

Back in April, Pew researchers wrote that “huge generation gaps have opened up in our political and social values, our economic well-being, our family structure, our racial and ethnic identi…

New studies show strong correlation between declining union density and rising income inequality

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[Not surprising, but the documentation that unionization helps to fight income inequality is important: For every ten per cent increase in union membership, there would be a projected decline in income inequality between 2.5 and 3 percent. Thus far I have not seen this reported as "news" in any mainstream media - surprise, surprise. *RON*]

National Union of Public and General Employees web site, 15 July 2014


Two recent studies from the United States and the United Kingdom have added to the growing body of empirical evidence that shows a strong correlation between declining union density and rising income inequality.

New research confirms weakening labour has major impact on income inequality

A new research paper prepared by acclaimed U.K. authors and social epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, shows how the weakening of the labour movement during the last quarter of the 20th century has had a significant impact on the a…

Serbian Finance Minister Resigns, Successor Sees Milder Austerity

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[Serb finance minister forced to resign because he insisted on forceful economic austerity policy measures; the people rejected this - it can be done. *RON*]

By Veronika Gulyas, Wall Street Journal, 14 July 2014
Serbian finance minister Lazar Krstic resigned on Saturday after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic found his planned austerity measures too harsh.

On its way to eventually joining the European Union, Serbia needs heavy measures to rein in its budget deficit and carry out an overall social system overhaul.

Mr. Krstic wanted to push forward a program including severe public sector wage and pension cuts, layoffs and the adjustment of electricity prices to market levels, but Mr. Vucic thought these would hit citizens too hard now, state news agency Tanjug reported.

Acting Minister of Finance Dusan Vujovic, the successor of Mr. Krstic, on Monday said reducing public sector wages and pensions this year by 10% would be reasonable. Speaking on sta…

The New Budget Outlook Shows that Austerity Makes No Sense

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[This long-term stunting of economic growth potential is one of the most powerful arguments against the neoliberal economic agenda since it directly contradicts their stated goal of protecting economic growth through austerity. I feel certain that these results must apply to Canada as well. We certainly see the same sentiment being expressed in the proud announcement of the BC government that we ran a budget surplus this year - almost totally attributable to service cutbacks, higher user fees and growing licensing costs - i.e., on the backs of middle-class tax payers and in service to corporations. *RON*]
By Harry Stein and Adam Hersh, Center for American Progress, July 15, 2014
Navigator Mary Bennett, left, helps Min Lians, who is seeking help buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at the Family Guidance Center in Springfield, Illinois.

The new long-term budget outlook from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, rea…

How the Agenda Gets Set: The Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s 24th Annual Summit

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[An opportunity to listen in while economic policy is being formed for BC and to chime in with your own two-bits worth. BCSEA is the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association. *RON*]
By Tom Hackney, BCSEA Policy Director

Noam Chomsky used the phrase, “the manufacture of consent,” regarding U.S. foreign policy in the Nixon era, putting an appropriately sinister and manipulative spin on the process, given Watergate and the Vietnam war.

But of course communicating to work out shared understandings of our values and circumstances is not generally bad, and is actually necessary to achieve a well-functioning society.

So how do we in the Pacific northwest “manufacture” our shared understanding of what matters, and what to do about it? Part of that question might be answered by the 24th Annual Conference of the “Pacific Northwest Economic Region” (PNWER, pronounced “phn-wer”).

PNWER is not a geographic region but a “statutory public/private non-profit…