Showing posts from October 19, 2014

Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down To Area Man

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[A very old piece from The Onion. I just ran across it now and couldn't resist posting it. On a similar note - these cartoons:

The Onion • ISSUE 43•41 • Oct 13, 2007

HAZELWOOD, MO—Twenty-six years after Ronald Reagan first set his controversial fiscal policies into motion, the deceased president's massive tax cuts for the ultrarich at last trickled all the way down to deliver their bounty, in the form of a $10 bonus, to Hazelwood, MO car-wash attendant Frank Kellener.

"Back when Reagan was in charge, I didn't think much of him," Kellener, 57, said, holding up two five-dollar bills nearly three decades in the making. "But who would have thought that in 2007 I'd have this extra $10 in my pocket? He may not have lived to see it, but I'm sure President Reagan is up in heaven smiling down on me right now."

The Political Marketplace: Analyzing Political Entrepreneurs and Political Bargaining with a Business Lens

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[An interesting piece on the concept of the political marketplace and rent-extracting political entrepreneurs. This is couched in terms of understanding Africa and the greater Middle East but, to me, it sounds like a not very extreme extension of how post-democratic politics are evolving globally today. Rulers buy loyalty for cash. The political system exists for the welfare of its participants, not for the production of public goods. Violence is a means of bargaining. Skilfully managed, the system is robust. "The political marketplace is not a transitional or outdated system that is about to replaced, but a flexible and dynamic governance order." What if this system was to become the New World Order? *RON*]

by Alex DeWaal, Reinventing Peace, 17 October 2014

Memorandum prepared for the WPF’s seminar held 12 – 13 June, 2014: “The Political Marketplace”: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption. …

Get Used To The 'New Mediocre'

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[The EU continues to piffle and dither. *RON*]
 Mike Peacock, Reuters / Business Insider, 19 October 2014

LONDON (Reuters) - Evaporating inflation and slowing growth have put financial markets into such a spin that they could inflict further damage on the world economy.

Until a dramatic selloff, exuberant markets had raced well ahead of the economies that underpin them, partly because the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks flooded the financial system with new money.

With the Fed set to turn off its money taps at the end of this month, investors appear to have woken up to poor growth prospects in much of the world, something International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has termed a "new mediocre".

It's not all doom and gloom. The outlook for the world’s largest economy has not suddenly taken a turn for the worse. And a 25 percent plunge in the price of oil since June should put more money in the pockets of companies an…

Thousands join pay protest marches

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[When 100,000 workers march in protest of wage erosion, the Financial Times call it 'thousands' in their headline. Why not 'dozens' since it is true in the same way? *RON*]

Aliya Ram and Press Association, Financial Times, 18 October 2014
Tens of thousands of protesters marched through London, Glasgow and Belfast on Saturday to express resentment over wage inequality, in one of the UK’s largest union-led demonstrations of recent years.

According to police and union estimates, 97,500 people participated in the rallies, 90,000 of them in London, days after nurses and midwives went on strike over pay.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Council, said many businesses recognised that pay rises were needed to boost consumer spending and generate growth.

“We are genuinely putting this matter to all politicians, not just because it is unfair, but because, as I think many businesses increasingly recognise, people need money…

Low-Wage Employers Are the Real ‘Welfare Queens’

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[Austerity is all about redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich. *RON*]
Moyers & Company, 19 October 2014

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is now worth 30 percent less than it was in the 1960s, after adjusting for inflation. It is quite literally a poverty wage — if you support a child, working full-time at the federal minimum will land you $650 below the federal poverty line; supporting two kids will put you more than $4,000 beneath it.

We’ve noted before that low-wage employers shift some of their labor costs onto the backs of taxpayers by encouraging their workers to apply for public benefits. These employers are the true “welfare queens,” their profits indirectly subsidized by the public, which allows them to keep prices artificially low. We’ve argued in the past that this is one of several reasons why conservatives who oppose spending on the social safety net should favor raising the minimum to a point where workers can get by on …

Germany must invest more but not raise debt - Schaeuble

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[This is just austerity with a more palatable spin. He's just saying, "We must give money to industry while taking it away from the people." How else can you make investments that won't raise debt? *RON*]

BBC News, 19 October 2014

Germany must increase its investment to improve competitiveness - but not at the expense of higher debt, finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.

His comments, in a newspaper interview on Sunday, follow a raft of economic evidence that shows Europe's most important economy is slowing down.

Last week financial markets had a torrid time, partly rattled by the sight of a weakening German economy.

Mr Schaeuble is under pressure to boost infrastructure spending.

The list of potential projects includes roads, railways, and energy and broadband networks.


In the interview with the Welt am Sonntag, Mr Schaeuble said criticism that the government was not spending enough was justified, but that it was…

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use Strict Voter ID Law in Coming Election

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[How on earth can the Supreme Court issue a decision that contains no reasoning? Is this how low the demand for public discourse in US democracy has fallen? *RON*]

By Adam Liptak, New York Times, 18 October 2014

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court’s order,issued just after 5 a.m., was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a six-page dissent saying the court’s action “risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the dissent.

The court’s order was an interim move addressing emergency applications filed Wednesday, and a trial judge’s ruling striking down the law will still be appealed. But the Supreme Court’s action set the ground rules in Texas for the current election. Early voting there starts Monday, which helps explain the court’s rush …

Kinder Morgan questions how much B.C. First Nation still eats fish

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[There is only one possible reason for such a line of questioning, to determine how much impact would it have on Aboriginal communities if their pipeline burst and the salmon were wiped out. I love this comment from The Dogwood Initiative: "Is this is how Texas oil executives think? They can turn one of the world's biggest salmon rivers into another Kalamazoo -- and people will just switch to chicken?" *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 18 October 2014

How much do First Nations still catch and eat fish? That appeared to be a key line of questioning at a National Energy Board hearing underway this week in Chilliwack regarding Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion oil pipeline expansion.

The forum is designed to gather oral evidence from Aboriginals on the Texas-based company’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion pipeline that would cross dozens of rivers considered sacred to B.C. First Nations.

“I’m just wondering… do you have an estimate…