Political Economy category archive
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a long look at whether unemployment benefits keep persons from applying for jobs. In a lengthy article, they explores the pros and cons of the issue. Given all the shouting, the piece is worth a read. Here’s a bit:
“I have not heard a single person in our group say, ‘These benefits are great, I’m going to stay at home,’” said Ms. Deutsch, who also is the director of worker justice campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy, a progressive advocacy organization based in New York. “They don’t want to experience the shame of being unemployed. They know that even under the best-case scenario, these benefits will not last forever.”
I doubt seriously that many persons would choose unemployment benefits over gainful employment and suspect that those who do are likely battling other issues, such as drugs or alcohol or personal issues or lack of means of transportation to and from work.
The key phrase, of course, is “gainful employment.”
I believe that what underlies the claims by employers that persons willingly choose unemployment benefits, which are meager at best, is that employers would rather pay meager wages than living ones. So they point their fingers elsewhere to take attention away from the starvation wages they are offering.
But that’s just me.
Thom and his guest discuss the “morbidly wealthy” and their dynastic desires.
“Morbidly weathy.” What a well-turned phrase.
At the Bangor Daily News, David Farmer makes the case that poverty in America is a policy choice, not a sign of moral failing on the part of the impoverished. A snippet:
The fact that families — including children — live in poverty is not something that just happens in the United States. It is the predictable outcome of our policies choices. And when we opt for the status quo we contribute to the problem.
There are a host of different policies that could reverse course, but first that we have to stop conflating poverty with morality. Being poor isn’t a sin. It’s the result of specific policies.
Follow the link for his evidence.
Professor Richard Wolff joins Thom to talk about the recent inflation numbers.
A little–I emphasize little–inflation is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that a major contributor to the emotional panic we see today at the least little bit of inflation is a legacy of the OPEC fuel embargo of the 1970s. Fuel prices rose starkly (remember gas lines and odd-even rationing?), spurring double-digit inflation rates across the economy.
Part of the legacy of that experience, in my view, is an unreasoning fear of even the smallest hint of inflation, leading to gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and stupiding of policy.
At the Des Moines Register, Maria Reppas remembers her time working in a restaurant and makes the case that small business owners (such as restaurants) are grousing about the wrong shortage. A snippet (emphasis added):
When I hear about the “labor shortage” in the restaurant industry, I look at the pay. The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour, and for tipped servers it’s $2.13 an hour. Despite increased costs of living, those rates haven’t changed since 2009 and 1991, respectively. . . .
Instead of a mythical labor shortage, the United States has a livable wage shortage.
David dissects the double-speak.
Read Newsweek’s report on this Chris Wallace interview.
Jill Richardson translates:
They mean the freedom of one individual to harm or gain unearned advantage over another (for example, by Hobby Lobby refusing to cover birth control for employees) or preserving the freedom to benefit from society without giving back (for example, large corporations that benefit from taxpayer-funded services, but pay little to nothing in taxes).
Follow the link for the rest.
Michael in Norfolk catalogs the contrasts. A snippet:
Politicians of both major political parties bloviate about “American exceptionalism,” yet among advanced nations America is exceptional for its failures to provide universal health care and to simply maintain its infrastructure. The nation is a study in contrasts of immense wealth and abject poverty with the highest child poverty rate, access to the best technology and where poor students have to sit outside of fast food restaurants and Starbucks to access the Internet for virtual schooling during the ongoing pandemic.