Showing posts from June 11, 2015

Three charts that show Iceland's economy recovered after it imprisoned bankers and let banks go bust - instead of bailing them out

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[An important piece based on an IMF survey: Iceland Makes Strong Recovery from 2008 Financial Crisis. The Independent, and Hazel Sheffield in particular, are going gangbusters today. Unfortunately, two of the three graphs proved to be uncopyable; click on the links shown below to go to the original graphs. The original article also provides links to the raw IMF data. *RON*]
Hazel Sheffield, The Independent, 10 June 2015

Iceland’s finance minister has announced a 39 per cent tax on investors looking to take their money overseas.

The country has imposed the tax to prevent it hemorrhaging money as it loosens bank laws imposed six years ago, when Iceland made the shocking decision to let its banks go bust.

Iceland also allowed bankers to be prosecuted as criminals – in contrast to the US and Europe, where banks were fined, but chief executives escaped punishment.

The chief executive, chairman, Luxembourg ceo and second largest shareholder of Kaupthing, …

TTIP vote postponed as European Parliament descends into panic over trade deal

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[This might end up finally killing off this obnoxious and dangerous so-called 'trade bill'. In reality it is the legal basis for a world-wide corporatocracy. A lot of this hoopla was due to the fallout from this story: Wikileaks posts 'largest leak of trade negotiations in history' charting progress of TiSA. *RON*]

Hazel Sheffield, The Independent, 10 June 2015

An historic vote on the biggest trade deal ever negotiated between the EU and the US has had to be postponed after the European Parliament descended into chaos.

European MPs were due to vote on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on Wednesday. But the vote had to be delayed because there were too many proposed amendments.

"It's panic in parliament," Yannick Jadot, a Green MEP from France, told AFP.

Ministers have disagreed over a controversial dispute mechanism that some fear would allow big companies to bypass national courts to resolve disputes w…

News Flash: Washington Post Caters to the Powerful

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[The media are the 1%. On how Jeff Bezo's (CEO of new toy, the Washington Post, allows mainstream media to suck up even harder to the corporatocracy. *RON*]
By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept, 10 June 2015
A fascinating sociological experiment unfolds before our eyes starting this morning, as the Washington Post unveils its new “PowerPost” vertical, subtitled “Intelligence for Leaders.”

Post publisher Fred Ryan, in a memo to the Post newsroom leaked to Politico, said the new project would focus “on the subjects that matter most to the people at the center of power.”

What we can learn, therefore, is what the editors of the Washington Post, themselves of course among the powerful, think their fellow powerful people are interested in.

If I had a captive audience of powerful people, mind you, I would expose them relentlessly to the stories of the powerless — the people being squashed by their precious status quo, the people scraping by at wr…

Inequality, the Financial Crisis and Stagnation: Competing Stories and Why They Matter

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[So far I've just skimmed this one and printed it out; it looks like a worthwhile read, though. *RON*]

By Thomas Paley, Institut für Makroökonomie, Macroeconomic Policy Institute Working Paper 151, May 2015


This paper examines several mainstream explanations of the financial crisis and stagnation and the role they attribute to income inequality. Those explanations are contrasted with a structural Keynesian explanation. The role of income inequality differs substantially, giving rise to different policy recommendations. That highlights the critical importance of economic theory. Theory shapes the way we understand the world, thereby shaping how we respond to it. The theoretical narrative we adopt therefore implicitly shapes policy. That observation applies forcefully to the issue of income inequality, the financial crisis and stagnation, making it critical we get the story right.

Here's Why US Coal Companies Can't Tap Asian Markets

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[New coal port proposals on the west coast of North America - like the one for Fraser Surrey Docks here in B.C. - represent "a desperate attempt on behalf of the coal industry to turn its fortunes around." Export markets are tanking, and so is the global climate. If those proposed coal ports are never built, the coal stays in the ground and we are all better off. Help us make sure they never get built: sign the petition at *RON*]

By Rob Verger,, 1 June 2015

Loyd Drain wants to sell more of America's coal to Asia.

He says that Wyoming produces around 400 million tons of coal every year — an amount that might vastly increase because the Obama Administration is allowing mining companies to extract over 10 billion tons of coal buried under federal lands in Wyoming.

But first, the state needs strong markets in which to sell the coal — and a way to get it there.

"We're head and shoulders above everybody e…

1 devastating chart shows Stephen Harper's done diddly squat developing green technologies

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[Speaks, pathetically, for itself. But wait! Ignore this! The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! *RON*]
8 June 2015 by PressProgress

What is Stephen Harper's latest excuse for not doing anything about climate change?

"We've simply got to find a way to create lower-carbon emitting sources of energy," Stephen Harper told reporters Monday. "To achieve these kinds of milestones over the decades to come will require serious technological transformation."

That's Harper's explanation for a new, unbinding commitment from G7 leaders to end the use of fossil fuels by the year 2100 -- a time so distant in the future, Stephen Harper's granddaughter will be a senior citizen.

We could have made a stronger statement on the reduction of greenhouse gases at the G7 meeting in Germany, but it turns out Canada (with the help of Japan) went against world opinion and kiboshed that plan.

So Harper's obviously been real…

Tax code is a good place to begin addressing income inequality

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[Tax reform and simplification are badly needed. At any other point in time we would recognize that this is in fact a relatively conservative set of proposals (e.g. a very small number of tax classes can encourage income inequality).  Yet, such is the ideological success of the neocons, that these sensibly low-key recommendations are described as pushing hot buttons "both for Canada’s politicians and economic policy wonks." *RON*]

David Parkinson, The Globe and Mail, 3 June 2015

It’s fitting that an article called Tax Policy for a New Era: Promoting Economic Growth and Fairness would win this year’s prestigious Doug Purvis Memorial Prize.

The title alone encapsulates the economic battleground on which this year’s hotly contested federal election will be fought – and that the key to solving Canada’s most burning economic dilemmas may lie in rethinking the income tax system.

The article, written last fall by University of British Columbi…

Russian ships track HMCS Fredericton carrying Stephen Harper

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[Politics by distraction and photo-ops. "That, my friends, is why you, the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy, are here." See also Jeb Bush’s Learning Curve on Russia: "Few world leaders are easier to criticize these days than President Vladimir Putin of Russia." RON*]

By Susan Lunn, CBC News, 10 June 2015

Two Russian frigates shadowed HMCS Fredericton and tracked its course while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on board today.

The vessels were spotted mid-morning, after Harper and his wife, Laureen, spent the night on board the Canadian frigate in the Baltic Sea.

It was Defence Minister Jason Kenney who stood on the stern of the ship with the media and pointed to the two Russian vessels in the distance, barely visible to the naked eye. Kenney has joined the prime minister during his European trip.

He added though it's not unusual for the Russians to monitor the NATO exercises from a distance and they posed no da…

Government austerity works, ECB economists say

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[This Financial Times story over-emphasizes the level of agreement between the ECB and the IMF where Greece is concerned, and it down-plays the IMF finding that austerity actively harms economic recovery. It will be interesting to see how the community of economists interpret this new ECB study. Having just got back from Spain, it's hard to reconcile FT's idea of an economic recovery with the number of beggars you are accosted by daily on the streets. In addition, the strides made by anti-austerity political parties in the recent Spanish municipal and regional elections means that the traditional power-brokers will be forced to compromise on economic policy or they will simply be pushed out (see, for example, Spain's Socialists form coalition with newcomer Ciudadanos in Andalusia. See also: Athens breaks with austerity as public TV reopens and Greek anti-austerity protesters hold finance ministry sit-in*RON*]

June 10, 2015 6:11 pm