Political Economy category archive
The Mythbuster and the Fee Hand of the Market 0
Robert Reich exposes the three myths that the ultra-wealthy use to justify their bazillions. The myths he lists are
- The first is trickle-down economics.
- The second myth is the “free market.”
- The third myth is that they’re superior human beings — rugged individuals who “did it on their own” and therefore deserve their billions.
His detailed debunking of the bunk awaits you at the link.
This New Gilded Age 0
Focusing on a proposed law in Iowa, labor leader Tom Conway warns of the consequences of the return of child labor. Here’s a bit (emphasis added):
(Boy Scout leader Brad–ed.) Greve vehemently opposes a proposal moving through Iowa’s Republican-controlled legislature that would allow 14-year-olds to work in industrial freezers, meatpacking plants and industrial laundry operations. The legislation also would put 15-year-olds to work on certain kinds of assembly lines and allow them to hoist up to 50 pounds.
In some cases, it even would permit young teens to work mining and construction jobs and let them use power-driven meat slicers and food choppers.
Just three years ago, a 16-year-old in Tennessee fell 11 stories to his death while working construction on a hotel roof. Another 16-year-old lost an arm that same year while cleaning a meat grinder at a Tennessee supermarket,
But these preventable tragedies mean nothing to Iowa legislators bent on helping greedy employers pad their bottom lines at kids’ expense.
We are a society in regression.
The New Gilded Age 0
Michael in Norfolk argues that today’s Republican Party is quite happy to see the return of–nay, to usher in–the New Gilded Age. Here’s a bit from his post (emphasis added):
I have an even bigger problem with politicians – i.e., Republicans – who want to slash the social safety net (as well as Social Security and Mediare) so they can fund ever larger tax breaks to the very wealthy. Indeed, it’s as if they want recreate the era of the robber barons of the Gilded Age . . . .
I cannot find a way with which to take issue with his remarks, he said convolutedly.
Misdirection Play, Monopoly Man Dept. 0
Robert J. Shapiro makes a convincing case that the conventional wisdom, lovingly embraced by the Federal Reserve, that wage increases drive inflation, is, as my old boss used to say, “in error.” Here’s an excerpt from his piece (emphasis added):
It’s outsized corporate profits, not wage and salary gains, that have been and are outstripping inflation—and perhaps contributed to it. Inflation measures the increase in the prices that companies charge, and their profits represent what’s left over after paying their workers, suppliers, vendors, and taxes. During the pandemic, from the first quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2022, post-tax corporate profits jumped 49.1 percent. That’s nearly three times the 16.8 percent increase in all workers’ incomes from wages, salaries, and benefits.
Defying the Narrative 0
There was a particularly incisive discussion of this on Tuesday’s edition of The Bob Cesca Show.
CNN reports the numbers.
Kick ‘Em When They Are Down 0
LZ Granderson considers Republicans’ oft expressed concern over government spending at the national level. He looks specifically at their campaign to
cut destroy the social safety net, including Social Security and Medicare*, and suggests that the would-be cutters are focused on the wrong things. Here’s a bit from his article:
A politician tells constituents what they want to hear. An elected official governs.
We spend more on our military than the next nine countries combined spend on theirs. The 2017 tax cuts led to a 44% jump in profits for banks in 2018. And, despite (or because) of global inflation, corporate America booked record profits during 2022 while families struggled to put food on the table.
Our problem is not money. It’s priorities.
Politicians, telling constituents what they want to hear, are setting out to cut the safety net. A safety net that public servants recognize we need.
Of course, it could not possibly be that these would-be cutters are purposefully acting in service to the wealthy for their own benefit. Why, that would be unthinkable.
*Not to mention the cuts already made over the past four decades to welfare, unemployment compensation, and the like, which have contributed to the increases in homelessness and destitution that today fills the headlines.
The Republican Vision 0
The writer of a letter to the editor of the South Jersey Times published at NJ.com sums it up.
FDR had the “New Deal.”
Harry Truman had the “Square Deal.”
Today’s Republican Party has the raw deal.
“Them What Has, Keeps” 0
“Shared Sacrifice” 0
Sam suggests the Fed thinks that the peons are getting too big for their breeches because said peons are not willing to sacrifice food and shelter for
the greater good return to shareholders.
Methinks he has a point.
The economic theory that Sam savages represents the poisonous economic theory of the Chicago School at its most poisonous–that somehow putting persons out of work promotes prosperity, a concept that I find oxymoronic in the extreme.
Prosperity for whom? Certainly not for those who end up in homeless camps because they cannot afford a place to live. Of course, one can’t have ugly homeless camps ruining the vista, so the next step is to bulldoze them and scatter their inhabitants.
Thereby we achieve
the greater good return to shareholders.
Used To Have Meaning
The writer of a letter to the editor of The Roanoke Times points out that one thing is not like the other thing.
How Far Will Wells-Fargo? 0
I’m certain that these sorts of shenanigans can be explained by the confluence of old-fangled greed and the new-fangled sophistries of the Chicago school of economics. This led to the poisonous theory that the first responsibility of a business is, not to the health of the business nor to its customers, certainly not to its employees, but to its stockholders. You know, those folks who don’t work there and don’t buy there and certainly don’t rely there, but own a few scraps of paper . . . .
A poisonous corollary led to the notion that it was perfectly okay for predatory “investors” (think hedge funds) to loot and destroy perfectly healthy businesses, so long as the “investors” come out holding bags of looted wealth.
Not that I’m perhaps a wee bit cynical or anything like that . . . .
Have Cake, Eat It Too 0
The New Gilded Age 0
At the Portland Press-Herald, Judith Foster sums up the essence of “personal liberty” as defined by today’s Republican Party. A snippet; follow the link for the complete article.
So, back to personal liberty. What will “we the people” be at liberty to do? Work for the capitalists at whatever wage they choose, with as little in the way of benefits as possible.
The Long View 0
Methinks that the writer of a letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer makes a good point.
The Artful Dodger 0
I am reminded of what Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once said.
The Privatization Scam 0
In a letter to the editor of the Newark Star-Ledger, a doctor explains how “Medicare Acvantage” plans work to the advantage of insurance companies, but not to that of anyone else.
Being of a certain age, we have been tormented by a torrent of spam phone calls during this “Medicare Open Enrollment” period. And all the callers seem to read from the same script.
I blush to say that I an no longer able to respond to them with courtesy.
Plan Speaking 0
Actually, Republicans’ plan is simple.
Make the poor poorer and the rich richer.