Political Economy category archive
Thom summarizes the history and failure of Neo-Liberalism, in particular its role in molding oligarchies.
In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Eliot Seide reflects on preparing his tax returns. A snippet:
I started my day with a warm shower. That reminded me how thankful I am for clean water and indoor plumbing. For much of the world, that’s a luxury. But not here, where we pay taxes.
I enjoy driving on smooth highways. The lines and lights keep me and other drivers safe. I sometimes like to leave the car in the garage and ride the train to a ballgame. I love the sense of community that comes with riding public transit.
Public services and the common good aren’t free, my friends, though some would like to con you into thinking that they are.
Thom discusses Donald Trump’s recent executive order nullifying President Obama’s workplace safety initiative and how it facilitates theft of labor.
Josh Marshall points out that there is nothing new about the “gig” economy. It has happened before, and it wasn’t pretty then, either.
At the Boston Review, takes a look at arguments for increasing defense spending not just wanting, but spectacularly specious. He makes some points that are commonly absent from the discussion and deserve consideration. Here’s a snippet:
The other standard argument for increased military spending is that “the world is on fire,” as Senator John McCain puts it. Headlines about North Korean missiles, Chinese islands in the South China Sea, Russian aggression and Middle Eastern chaos are scary enough, people like McCain say, to justify more military buildup. But U.S. military spending does not necessarily cure these ills; in fact, it may end up aggravating them. Increased U.S. military power, for example, could encourage North Koreans to want more nuclear missiles rather than pacifying them.
A larger flaw in McCain’s argument, however, is that, by historical standards, not much is actually burning. And, more importantly, the United States does not need to go looking for fires to extinguish. The world remains far more peaceful by various measures than at almost any other point, and the United States still enjoys a privileged position: militarily powerful and distant from trouble. U.S. enemies are historically few and weak; U.S. defense spending is more than double what Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea collectively spend on their militaries; and U.S. forces remain vastly superior. North Korea and Iran are troublesome, but incapable of posing much direct threat to their neighbors, let alone the United States, especially considering nuclear deterrence. Russia threatens its neighbors, but with an oil-dependent economy now about the size of Italy’s, it poses little danger to more economically stable nations further west.
Still well under 300k.
The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 245,500, the lowest since 1973, from 247,500 in the prior week.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 41,000 to 2.1 million in the week ended Jan. 14. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.5 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
- Jobless claims declined by 15,000 to 234,000 (forecast was 252,000) in the week ended Jan. 14
- Previous week’s claims revised to 249,000 from 247,000
- Continuing claims dropped by 47,000 to 2.05 million in the week ended Jan. 7
- Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits, also reported with a one-week lag, was unchanged at 1.5 percent
Still under 300K.
The four-week moving average decreased to 256,500 last week, from 258,250. . . . .
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 29,000 to 2.09 million in the week ended Dec. 31.
Still well under 300k.
The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, decreased to 256,750 from 262,500 in the prior week.