Showing posts from April 23, 2016

Three Reasons Why "Too-Big-to-Fail" Banks Need to Be Broken Up

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[The plutocratic justice of the banksters. They're too risky, too powerful, and seemingly cannot be punished for any wrongdoing. *RON*]

By Deena Zaidi, Truthout, 23 April 2016

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board jointly released a statement last week that showed that five of eight systemically important banks have failed to provide "credible" living wills. "Living wills" or resolution plans are a part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and require big banks to provide a plan that ensures that bankruptcy procedures will be carried out in an orderly fashion as per the US Bankruptcy Code in the event of a financial failure.

The banks that have to adhere to a resolution plan include bank-holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more and non-bank financial companies designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Big…

Why Art Matters, Even in Poverty

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[What is living in poverty if not constantly being creative? One of the core values of communitarianism is fulfillment, the idea that inclusive communities must provide adequate opportunities for people to become the best that they can be. *RON*]

 By Alison Stine, Bill Moyers & Company, 23 April 2016

This post first appeared at

In the toy aisle, which is inconveniently next to the bread aisle, I tell my 5-year-old son we are not getting a truck today. I tell him we buy what we need, and not more. I tell him I have enough money for food, but nothing else. I tell him I don’t buy treats for myself.

“You buy art supplies,” my son says. And I’m stumped.

Because of course he’s right.
I often make less in a month than some people spend on cable.

US suicide rate surges, particularly among white people

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["This is part of the larger emerging pattern of evidence of the links between poverty, hopelessness and health." Neoliberalism has some slight non-economic side-effects. See also: What’s causing a rising rate of suicide? *RON*]
BBC News, 22 April 2016.
The suicide rate in the US has surged to its highest level in almost three decades, according to a new report.

The increase is particularly pronounced among middle-age white people who now account for a third of all US suicides.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report did not offer an explanation for the steep rise.

However, other experts have pointed to increased abuse of prescription opiates and the financial downturn that began in 2008 as likely factors.

The report did not break down the suicides by education level or income, but previous studies found rising suicide rates among white people without university degrees.

"This is part of the larger emerging pat…

Duffy verdict does not cure what is wrong with the Senate

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[This is certainly the simple truth. And the footnote on Senator Keith Davey is darkly hilarious. *RON*]
By Karl Nerenberg,, 22 April 2016

We can now call Mike Duffy Senator Duffy again, without reservation.

Duffy cheerfully accepted an appointment as a senator for Prince Edward Island, despite his own doubts.

The well-known broadcaster knew, in fact, that he lived a few kilometers from Ottawa, far from P.E.I.

However, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper assured his chosen nominee there was no problem.

If you own at least $4,000 worth of property on the Island you're qualified, the PM told the Duffy.

In addition, once he was appointed, the Senate leadership and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) encouraged Duffy to act, in every sense, as though he was a permanent resident of P.E.I.

Crucially, that meant Duffy should claim expenses for his Ottawa-area home, and for his travel between Ottawa and the Island.

When Duffy's former colleagu…

Towards an Economics of Common Sense

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[An interesting attempt to revive the economics of Henry George in Progress and Poverty, "and his concept of a Single Tax on the use value of Land/Location." *RON*]

By Chris Cook, Evonomics, 20 April 2016

The first examination I ever failed was an Economics paper I took as part of an accountancy qualification. I could not understand the subject at all, as it seemed to bear no relationship to Reality as I experienced it. But since I needed a Pass, I learnt it all parrot-fashion, regurgitated it, duly passed, and mentally filed the subject in the bin.

However, in recent years, my work in that space where markets and the internet converge has led me to take a good look at the financial system, and to the subject of the Economics which provides a conceptual framework – and justification – for it.

I have come to realise that the problem lies in the metaphysical and epistemological basis of Economics – in other words, its relationship with the R…

Orthodox Economics Has Become a Place Where Visions Die and Hopes Are Banished

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[A Keynesian economist feeling like Isaiah in the wilderness, on Why liberal economists dish out despair. *RON*]

By Gerald Friedman, Evonomics, 21 April 2016

When I conducted an assessment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals and found that they could produce robust growth, the negative reaction among powerful liberal economists was swift and vehement. How much, I wondered, did this reflect personal disappointment being rationalized into a political economy of despair? Professional economists tend to embrace an economic theory that government can do little more than fuss around the edges. From that stance, what do they have to offer ordinary people for whom the economy is not working? Not a whole lot.

It has certainly been a rough seven years for the liberal economists in the Obama Administration. Economic recovery has been slow, the slowest in the post-World War II era. Ambitious programs for reform of social insurance programs (such a…