Showing posts from February 17, 2018

Today's Trumpery


Billionaires gone wild

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[The mainstream media ARE the 1% *RON*]

Alex Pareene, Columbia Journalism Review, Winter 2018

In November, Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, million-dollar Trump donor, and father of the governor of Nebraska, shuttered DNAinfo, the local news startup he founded, and Gothamist, the network of city blogs he’d purchased just a few months earlier, in a fit of pique, after editorial employees organized a union. Shuttering the company meant nothing to him—DNAinfo reportedly lost money and the Gothamist network was not profitable enough to make an appreciable difference to a man with a net worth estimated at over $2 billion—but to me it meant that there was no longer a reporter assigned to cover my neighborhood in Brooklyn and its Halloween Dog Parades, community board meetings about unsafe intersections, and new tiki-bar openings.

My loss, I’m aware, is sma…

ICE Lawyer Charged With Stealing Immigrants' Identities To Commit Bank Fraud

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[Lovely. Banana republic. *RON*]

LAUREL WAMSLEY, National Public Radio, 14 February 2018

While their cases were in various stages of immigration proceedings, seven people had their identities stolen by the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle, according to a filing by the Justice Department.

Raphael Sanchez devised a scheme to use the immigrants' identities in order to defraud financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, according to the filing, which was entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Sanchez resigned from the agency on Monday, The Associated Press reports. He is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, occurring between October 2013 and October 2017.

The filing cites an example of a communication by Sanchez with intent to defraud. It describes an email sent in April 2016 from S…

Canadians Withdraw More From RRSPs

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[An ominous sign of growing inequality. Canadians take more money out of retirement savings to pay for expenses: survey. About 40 per cent of respondents said they withdrew money from their RRSPs. Nothing left after paying the bills, say third of respondents to a survey about debtFewer contributors, less money: RRSPs less popular than they used to beCanadians owe $1.71 for every dollar of disposable income they have — a new record high. *RON*]

Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani, CBC News, 17 February 2018

Canadians are withdrawing more money from their retirement savings to pay for short-term expenses despite the tax consequences, according to a new bank survey.

About 40 per cent of the 1,500 people polled online in December by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) said they have made a withdrawal from their RRSP.

The average amount withdrawn from retirement plans in 2017 was $20,952, which is nearly 22 per cent more than the average amount of $17,213 taken out i…

Globalization, technology, and inequality: It’s the policies, stupid

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["We are living in a time of mounting societal discontent and political divisiveness—a fractured world, as captured in the theme of the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. In many countries, social disaffection with economic outcomes is up sharply, roiling the political landscape and stoking populist and nationalist sentiment. Brexit and the outcome of the 2016 United States presidential election are but the more dramatic examples of these socio-political dynamics that hold wider sway." *RON*]

Zia Qureshi, Brookings Institute, 16 February 2018

What explains the rising tide of socio-economic unhappiness? The world has not become less prosperous. It is true that the global financial crisis caused major setbacks, but economic growth has recovered. The economic pie is growing—although not as fast as before, as economic growth is being held down by a longer-term decline in productivity growth. The increasingly unequal sharing of t…

Tax Amazon, Facebook and Apple more for UK universal pay – study

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["New levy could deliver basic income of £10,000 for all to cut the risk of job losses to robots" BUT, universal basic income is one of those phrases that has become empty of meaning - the devil is in the details. See Something to Look Forward To? "Is a world without work in which the wealthy dole out subsistence payments to a surplus humanity something to look forward to?" *RON*]

Richard Partington, The Guardian, 16 Feb 2018

Britain could raise new taxes on Amazon, Facebook and Apple to give every citizen under the age of 55 as much as £10,000 in a form of universal basic income (UBI), according to a study, helping to counter the growing risk of job losses from automation and artificial intelligence.

The Royal Society of Arts is proposing that the government develop fresh taxes on tech firms, introduce wealth taxes, or borrow money from the financial markets to create a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund to pay for UBI.