Showing posts from January 7, 2015

In the US, one lesson from oil prices: rich people win, again

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[While the White House has said that lower oil prices help the US economy, closer look shows few jobs are likely to result and richest households will benefit most. Is anybody surprised? See also Oil plummets, but don't expect lower fares soon. *RON*]

Debbie, 6 January 2015

This year’s crude-oil price drop will help US economic growth, but there are limits to how much it can do.

It can boost gross domestic product slightly if prices stay lower, and it can help industries that are heavily dependent on transportation costs. But considering crude oil prices are volatile and are unlikely to stay at this low level, the overall positive impact may only have a short- to medium-term impact, economists say.

Jeff Rosen, chief economist at, said based on the Federal Reserve’s economic model, a $20-a-barrel drop in crude oil prices translates to a quarter percentage-point increase in GDP.

“That’s why a lot of people …

Eurozone officially falls into deflation, piling pressure on ECB

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[Austerity in Europe is working for nobody except the Germans. This from the economic geniuses who told us our greatest fear should be inflation. *RON*]
 By Marion Dakers, The Telegraph, 7 January 2015

The eurozone has officially slipped into deflation, further raising the prospect of a multi-billion euro intervention by the region’s central bank to try and prop up the sluggish economy.

Figures published on Wednesday showed that prices in the euro area in December were 0.2pc lower than a year earlier.

The data, far short of the European Central Bank's target of just under 2pc inflation and worse than forecasts of a 0.1pc fall, is the latest signal that the bank will embark upon a major stimulus programme.

This is the first time the euro area has experienced deflation since 2009. Energy prices slumped 6.3pc compared to a year ago, driven by a large fall in oil prices.

The price of Brent crude has lost more than half its value since the middle of 2…

As Climate Disruption Advances, 26 Percent of Mammals Face Extinction

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[Not to mention 41% of amphibians and 13% of birds! :-( *RON*]
Dahr Jamail, Truthout, 6 January 2015

Two recently released studies brought bad news for those living near coastlines around the world. One published in the peer-reviewed Nature Climate Change, the other in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the studies showedthat existing computer models might have severely underestimated the risk to the Greenland ice sheet from warming global temperatures.

Bear in mind that if Greenland's entire ice sheet melts, 20 feet would be added to global sea levels.

As if that isn't enough of an indicator of how fast anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is happening across the globe, two days after delegates from more than 190 countries had gathered in Peru at the annual climate summit, the World Meteorological Organization reported that 2014 was tied with 2010 as the hottest year on record, and rejected popular claims that global wa…

Prime Minister Harper's office reacts to Obama's vow to veto Keystone XL

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[$35 million taxpayer dollars later, and after changing his pants, Harper issued the following statement: "Our position on Keystone remains the same: we believe the project should be approved." *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 6 January 2015

In a move that will likely frustrate the Harper government's much publicized diplomatic and advertising push to American lawmakers to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, the White House vowed to veto the project.

“If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign” it, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

The statement came just hours after the Republican controlled U.S. Senate voted in favour of the project Tuesday.

In reaction to Obama's move, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesperson told the Vancouver Observer:

"Our position on Keystone remains the same: we believe the project should be approved," said Ja…

The Record of Austerity

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[A clear, positive linear relationship between GDP and government spending. *RON*]

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 6 January 2015
Let me jump right in here. How many people, I wonder — even among economists who have eagerly taken sides in the austerity debate — have a sense of what the overall picture looks like since the great turn to austerity in 2010? I don’t mean what happened in country X in year Y, which you imagine supports your position; I mean the overall shape of events across many countries and multiple years.

Well, here’s a quick and easy picture. I’ve taken annual data on the growth of real GDP and of government purchases from Eurostat, using every country for which data are available 2010-2013. I was tempted to edit out minor countries like Malta, but decided to do this as cleanly as possible. What we get are 33 countries for 4 years, 132 observations. And they look like this (bear in mind that these are percentage changes, so you can’t…

Industry Minister Moore makes stuff up to threaten British Columbians

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[Negative reactions are rightfully setting in to the spin-doctoring corporatocrat Moore's remark that Lac Megantic wishes it had been so lucky as to have a Kinder-Morgan pipeline. *RON*]
Robyn Allan, Vancouver Observer, 6 January 2015

Industry Minister James Moore who represents the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding engaged in blatantly false fear mongering last week. He threatened a Lac Megantic disaster if we don’t accept Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In order to springboard from a disgusting reliance on a horrific tragedy to reach his ridiculous conclusion, he had to make stuff up.

These are desperate tactics from someone who as an elected Member of Parliament and Minister of the Crown should know better. He said, “The people of Lac M├ęgantic wished they had pipelines instead of rail.” If Mr. Moore and his Tory government colleagues had done their job, Lac Megantic would not have happened.

Instead of acting respo…