Political Economy category archive
Writing at the Idaho State Journal, Mike Jones wonders when the stock market became such a big deal that certain politicians have become willing to ask old folks to sacrifice their lives for the Dow-Jones Average. A snippet; more at the link:
Now, if 70-year-old Dan Patrick wants to sacrifice his life to help the economy, I say go for it. But as far as 70-year-old Mike Murphy following Patrick’s advice, I’m not putting my neck on the chopping block so Warren Buffett can make another billion dollars!
I still don’t know much about how the stock market works. Based on the little bit I have studied it, I surmise investing in stocks is a lot like betting on horse races — both are fixed, you just have to be lucky and guess the fix correctly.
And, in more news of taking stock . . . .
Farhad Manjoo investigates why an item so simple as a medical face mask is suddenly unobtainable, and the answer is all about the next quarterly report. It’s what Harry Shearer’s guest on Le Show, Matt Stoller, referred to as the “financialization” of business.
Here’s a bit; follow the link for the rest.
I am sorry to say that digging into the mask shortage does little to assuage one’s sense of outrage. The answer to why we’re running out of protective gear involves a very American set of capitalist pathologies — the rise and inevitable lure of low-cost overseas manufacturing, and a strategic failure, at the national level and in the health care industry, to consider seriously the cascading vulnerabilities that flowed from the incentives to reduce costs.
The owner of an importing business explains how Donald Trump’s puerile trade wars are endangering his business. A snippet:
These tariffs, which stem from two separate disputes between the United States and the European Union related to military aerospace and digital services, do not hurt our trading partners as much as they hurt American companies. They simply pass their additional costs onto us. In less than four months since the first round of tariffs was imposed, my company has already paid in excess of $6 million as a result of these tariffs.
Alternet reports on the growing incidence of deaths of working class American from suicide, alcoholism, and substance abuse and suggests that they are symptoms of a larger sense of despair from having been
left behind abandoned by the economy, even as the rich get richer and richer. Here’s a bit; follow the link for the rest.
“Inequality has risen more in the United States — and middle-class incomes have stagnated more severely — than in France, Germany, Japan or elsewhere,” Leonhardt and Thompson observe. “Large corporations have increased their market share, and labor unions have shriveled — leaving workers with little bargaining power. Outsourcing has become the norm, which means that executives often see low-wage workers not as colleagues, but as expenses.”
To make matters worse, Leonhardt and Thompson assert, the U.S. suffers from “by far the world’s most expensive health care system”— which “acts as a tax on workers” and “fails to keep many people healthy” either physically or mentally.
At NJ.com, Edward Escobar explains the con behind the
gagged “gig” economy. A nugget:
How does this play out for drivers? Here’s one example: A driver from San Francisco drives to the airport, and waits nearly an hour to pick up a ride from an arriving flight. He drives the passenger across the peninsula and through the city of San Francisco – drops him off and unloads his luggage near the last entrance of the Bay Bridge. The driver’s earnings for all that time and work? $12.08 and no tip. Six years ago, that driver would have made $55. That driver has to pay a car payment, gas, insurance, and constant car maintenance and upkeep, depreciation of vehicles value, meaning this ride actually cost him money. It’s what we call a “negative ride,” and it is increasingly common.
At AL.com, Alabama Republican John Meredith has a suggestion for the Republican Party:
If Republicans want to stop socialism, perhaps we should stop attacking Bernie Sanders and enact policies that ease the burden on working families. Until that happens, socialism is the only way many Americans will ever be economically free to pursue happiness.
Follow the link for his reasoning.
David explains how tariffs work. It’s not how Donald Trump claims they work, despite the Trumpettes’ spin.
Werner Herzog’s Bear imagines George Bailey’s Bedford Falls three quarters of a century later.
It ain’t purty, folks.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a controversy in a school district that led to an ouster of a majority of the school board.
Follow the link for details.