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Atomization and oppression of workforce

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links The neoliberal myth of human capital Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Neoliberal rationality Neoliberalism war on organized labor
Scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'état  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer Class Struggle In The USA
Attack of Think Tanks Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fashism National Security State Propaganda  Inverted Totalitarism  Totalitarian Decisionism
Neoliberalism and Christianity Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The Iron Law of Oligarchy Anglican Church on danger of neoliberalism Animal Farm   Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
The Great Betrayal: "Soft" neoliberals as Vichy Left Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switcht Bill Clinton, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street and helped FIRE sector to convert the country into casino Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Atomization of workforce and establishment of national security state after 9/11 so far prevented large organized collective actions (recent riots were not organized, and with the current technical capabilities of the three letter agencies any organization is difficult or impossible). I think that conversion of the state into national security state was the key factor that saved a couple of the most notorious neoliberals from being hanged on the electrical posts in 2008 although I remember slogan "Jump suckers" on the corner of Wall Street.

But neoliberal attacks on labor and especially organized labor started much earlier with Ronald Reagan and then continued under all subsequent presidents with Bill Clinton doing the bulk of this dirty job. Clinton's creation of the "New labor" (read neoliberal stooges of Wall Street masked as Democratic Party) was based on explicit betrayal or workers (" they have nowhere to go") .  And for several election cycles that was true.

But eventually that changes. Vichy left, represented by "Clintonized" Democratic Party got a crushing defeat in 2016 Presidential elections. Does not mean that Trump is better or less neoliberal, but it does suggest that working class does not trust Democratic Party any longer. 

2008 was the time of the crisis of neoliberal ideology, much like Prague spring signified the crisis of Communist ideology. While there was some level of harassment, individual beatings of banksters in 2008 were non-existent.


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[Jul 21, 2021] U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations by Betsy McKay

Neoliberalism is the key reason fro the drop in life expectancy
Notable quotes:
"... Declines or stagnation in longevity can signal catastrophic events or deep problems in a society, researchers say. ..."
"... More deaths from homicide, diabetes and chronic liver disease -- which is related to heavy alcohol use -- also contributed to last year's life expectancy drop, the CDC said ..."
"... The declines were largest for Hispanic and Black people, who as population groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic . The largest drop for any cohort was 3.7 years, for Hispanic men, bringing their life expectancy to 75.3 years of age. ..."
Jul 21, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by 1.5 years in 2020, the biggest decline since at least World War II, as the Covid-19 pandemic killed hundreds of thousands and exacerbated crises in drug overdoses , homicides and some chronic diseases.

... ... ...

The full toll of the pandemic has yet to be seen, doctors and public-health officials said. Many people skipped or delayed treatment last year for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure and endured isolation, stress and interruptions in normal diet and exercise routines.

"That has led to intermediate and longer-term effects we will have to deal with for years to come," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and president of the American Heart Association.

Life expectancy is a measure of a nation's well-being and prosperity, based on mortality in a given year. Declines or stagnation in longevity can signal catastrophic events or deep problems in a society, researchers say. Life expectancy fell in the U.S. by 11.8 years in 1918, during a world-wide flu pandemic. Many victims were young.

... ... ...

More deaths from homicide, diabetes and chronic liver disease -- which is related to heavy alcohol use -- also contributed to last year's life expectancy drop, the CDC said ...

Life expectancy would have fallen even more, the CDC said, if not for decreases in mortality due to cancer, chronic lower-respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma, and other factors.

The declines were largest for Hispanic and Black people, who as population groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic . The largest drop for any cohort was 3.7 years, for Hispanic men, bringing their life expectancy to 75.3 years of age.

U.S. longevity had been largely stagnant since 2010, even declining in three of those years, due in part to an increase in deaths from drug overdoses , rising death rates from heart disease for middle-aged Americans and other public health crises. "Getting back to where we were before the pandemic is a very bad place," said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and author of a recent study comparing the effects of the pandemic on life expectancy in the U.S. and other high-income countries. "We've got a larger problem here."

... ... ...

Drug-overdose deaths rose nearly 30% last year, driven by a proliferation of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl as well as stress, isolation and reduced access to treatment during the pandemic, public-health experts said. One study published this month found a 28.3% decline in initiation of addiction treatment in California from March through October 2020..... ...

Life expectancy for white people dropped 1.2 years to 77.6 years in 2020, the lowest level since 2002.

R

Roger Guttentag SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago

What is missing from this article is a comparison of the US with other advanced economies in Europe and Asia. What is disturbing is how the US spends the most and achieves less than our economic peers starting with expected average longevity. We had the lowest longevity averages pre-pandemic and now we have dropped further. This is happening despite the fact that our health care spending is twice the per capita of other advanced economies (Approx. $11K in the US vs. $6K based on 2019 data). Contributing to our dismal longevity statistics, with respect to other wealthy economies, are the highest rates of drug overdose deaths and suicides by gun. This is just the tip of a long list of sad statistics where we are unfortunately number 1 or close to it. The usual (partisan) response is to claim its government's fault or the fault of a greedy healthcare system or just say the data is wrong. So far, none of these strategies is working very well.
Dave Berg SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago
Life expectancy is the wrong phrase. It's current average life duration. COVID will have no impact on the life expectancy of babies being born right now. I have two new grandchildren, their life expectancy will be impacted by things we don't even know about yet.

[Jul 02, 2021] Number Of US Truck Drivers Sidelined Due To Substance Abuse Violations Has Surpassed 60,000 by John Gallagher

Jul 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Originally from: FreightWaves

Banned drivers matches shortfall in CDL holders needed to meet freight demand. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The number of U.S. truck drivers sidelined due to substance abuse violations has surpassed 60,000 and continues to climb by roughly 2,000-3,000 per month, according to federal data. The latest monthly report by the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration since January 2020, revealed that 60,299 CDL holders have a drug or alcohol violation recorded in the clearinghouse as of June 1, up from 57,510 as of May 1 and up from 18,860 recorded in the clearinghouse as of May 1, 2020.

Drivers with at least one substance abuse violation are barred from operating a commercial truck until they complete a return-to-duty process, which includes providing a negative follow-up test result. The percentage of drivers who are completing the RTD process has steadily increased over the past year, however, from 5.2% as of May 1, 2020, to 22.1% as of May 1, 2021.

Marijuana consistently tops the list of substances identified in positive drug tests, far outpacing cocaine and methamphetamine, the second- and third-highest drug violations, respectively, among CDL holders.

The number of violations now recorded in the clearinghouse stands out for another reason: It's coincidentally just a few hundred shy of an estimated number of drivers needed to fill a shortfall of commercial drivers to keep pace with freight demand.

"According to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately -- a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028," testified American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear at a Capitol Hill hearing on freight mobility in May.

"In fact, when anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year."

Scopelitis Consulting Co-Director Sean Garney pointed out that the growing number of prohibited drivers is not a bad thing from a safety standpoint.

"The database is doing what it's supposed to do, which is identify those who should not be driving," Garney told FreightWaves. "Losing drivers due to positive drug tests may not necessarily be a good thing for truck capacity, but I think what many others in this industry also care about is safety."

[Jun 26, 2021] There Is No Labor Shortage, Only Labor Exploitation and burning desire not to spend money on training by Sonali Kolhatkar

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists. The American public is expected to sympathize more with the plight of wealthy business owners who can't find workers to fill their low-paid positions, instead of with unemployed workers who might be struggling to make ends meet. ..."
"... West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country." Interestingly, Justice owns a resort that couldn't find enough low-wage workers to fill jobs. Notwithstanding a clear conflict of interest in cutting jobless benefits, the Republican politician is now enjoying the fruits of his own political actions as his resort reports greater ease in filling positions with desperate workers whose lifeline he cut off. ..."
Jun 12, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

For the past few months, Republicans have been waging a ferocious political battle to end federal unemployment benefits, based upon stated desires of saving the U.S. economy from a serious labor shortage. The logic, in the words of Republican politicians like Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, goes like this: "the government pays folks more to stay home than to go to work," and therefore, "[p]aying people not to work is not helpful." The conservative Wall Street Journal has been beating the drum for the same argument, saying recently that it was a " terrible blunder " to pay jobless benefits to unemployed workers.

If the hyperbolic claims are to be believed, one might imagine American workers are luxuriating in the largesse of taxpayer-funded payments, thumbing their noses at the earnest "job creators" who are taking far more seriously the importance of a post-pandemic economic growth spurt.

It is true that there are currently millions of jobs going unfilled. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released statistics showing that there were 9.3 million job openings in April and that the percentage of layoffs decreased while resignations increased. Taking these statistics at face value, one could conclude this means there is a labor shortage.

But, as economist Heidi Shierholz explained in a New York Times op-ed , there is only a labor shortage if employers raise wages to match worker demands and subsequently still face a shortage of workers. Shierholz wrote, "When those measures [of raising wages] don't result in a substantial increase in workers, that's a labor shortage. Absent that dynamic, you can rest easy."

Remember the subprime mortgage housing crisis of 2008 when economists and pundits blamed low-income homeowners for wanting to purchase homes they could not afford? Perhaps this is the labor market's way of saying, if you can't afford higher salaries, you shouldn't expect to fill jobs.

Or, to use the logic of another accepted capitalist argument, employers could liken the job market to the surge pricing practices of ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. After consumers complained about hiked-up prices for rides during rush hour, Uber explained , "With surge pricing, Uber rates increase to get more cars on the road and ensure reliability during the busiest times. When enough cars are on the road, prices go back down to normal levels." Applying this logic to the labor market, workers might be saying to employers: "When enough dollars are being offered in wages, the number of job openings will go back down to normal levels." In other words, workers are surge-pricing the cost of their labor.

But corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce insists that "[t]he worker shortage is real," and that it has risen to the level of a "national economic emergency" that "poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America's great resurgence." In the Chamber's worldview, workers, not corporate employers who refuse to pay better, are the main obstacle to the U.S.'s economic recovery.

Longtime labor organizer and senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies Bill Fletcher Jr. explained to me in an email interview that claims of a labor shortage are an exaggeration and that, actually, "we suffered a minor depression and not another great recession," as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In Fletcher's view, "The so-called labor shortage needs to be understood as the result of tremendous employment reorganization, including the collapse of industries and companies."

Furthermore, according to Fletcher, the purveyors of the "labor shortage" myth are not accounting for "the collapse of daycare and the impact on women and families, and a continued fear associated with the pandemic."

He's right. As one analyst put it, "The rotten seed of America's disinvestment in child care has finally sprouted." Such factors have received little attention by the purveyors of the labor shortage myth -- perhaps because acknowledging real obstacles like care work requires thinking of workers as real human beings rather than cogs in a capitalist machine.

Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists. The American public is expected to sympathize more with the plight of wealthy business owners who can't find workers to fill their low-paid positions, instead of with unemployed workers who might be struggling to make ends meet.

Already, jobless benefits were slashed to appallingly low levels after Republicans reduced a $600-a-week payment authorized by the CARES Act to a mere $300 a week , which works out to $7.50 an hour for full-time work. If companies cannot compete with this exceedingly paltry sum, their position is akin to a customer demanding to a car salesperson that they have the right to buy a vehicle for a below-market-value sticker price (again, capitalist logic is a worthwhile exercise to showcase the ludicrousness of how lawmakers and their corporate beneficiaries are responding to the state of the labor market).

Remarkably, although federal jobless benefits are funded through September 2021, more than two dozen Republican-run states are choosing to end them earlier. Not only will this impact the bottom line for millions of people struggling to make ends meet, but it will also undermine the stimulus impact that this federal aid has on the economies of states when jobless workers spend their federal dollars on necessities. Conservatives are essentially engaged in an ideological battle over government benefits, which, in their view, are always wrong unless they are going to the already privileged (remember the GOP's 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy?).

The GOP has thumbed its nose at federal benefits for residents before. In order to underscore their ideological opposition to the Affordable Care Act, recall how Republican governors eschewed billions of federal dollars to fund Medicaid expansion. These conservative ideologues chose to let their own voters suffer the consequences of turning down federal aid in service of their political opposition to Obamacare. And they're doing the same thing now.

At the same time as headlines are screaming about a catastrophic worker shortage that could undermine the economy, stories abound of how American billionaires paid peanuts in income taxes according to newly released documents, even as their wealth multiplied to extraordinary levels. The obscenely wealthy are spending their mountains of cash on luxury goods and fulfilling childish fantasies of space travel . The juxtaposition of such a phenomenon alongside the conservative claim that jobless benefits are too generous is evidence that we are indeed in a "national economic emergency" -- just not of the sort that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants us to believe.

West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country." Interestingly, Justice owns a resort that couldn't find enough low-wage workers to fill jobs. Notwithstanding a clear conflict of interest in cutting jobless benefits, the Republican politician is now enjoying the fruits of his own political actions as his resort reports greater ease in filling positions with desperate workers whose lifeline he cut off.

When lawmakers earlier this year debated the Raise the Wage Act , which would have increased the federal minimum wage, Republicans wagged their fingers in warning, saying higher wages would put companies out of business. Opponents of that failed bill claimed that if forced to pay $15 an hour, employers would hire fewer people, close branches, or perhaps shut down altogether, which we were told would ultimately hurt workers.

Now, we are being told another story: that companies actually do need workers and won't simply reduce jobs, close branches, or shut down and that the government therefore needs to stop competing with their ultra-low wages to save the economy. The claim that businesses would no longer be profitable if they are forced to increase wages is undermined by one multibillion-dollar fact: corporations are raking in record-high profits and doling them out to shareholders and executives. They can indeed afford to offer greater pay, and when they do, it turns out there is no labor shortage .

American workers are at a critically important juncture at this moment. Corporate employers seem to be approaching a limit of how far they can push workers to accept poverty-level jobs. According to Fletcher, "This moment provides opportunities to raise wage demands, but it must be a moment where workers organize in order to sustain and pursue demands for improvements in their living and working conditions."

Sonali Kolhatkar is the founder, host and executive producer of "Rising Up With Sonali," a television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV and Pacifica stations. She is a writing fellow for the Economy for All project at the Independent Media Institute. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute.

[Jun 18, 2021] Corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs

In IT corporate honchos shamelessly put more then a dozen of very specific skills into the position rescription and want a cog that hit that exactly. they are not interested in IQ, ability to learn and such things. that want already train person for the position to fill, so that have zero need to train this persn and they expect that he will work productively from the day one.
Jun 14, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Hayek's Heelbiter , June 12, 2021 at 7:50 am

But corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling -- not because of a real labor shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs.

Duh. This is so blindingly obvious, but NC is the only place that seems to mention this fact.

Here in the UK, the outmigration of marginally paid workers from Eastern Europe and the resultant "labour shortage" triggered by Brexit has made it abundantly clear that Blair's change to open borders was not from any idealistic considerations but as a way of importing easily exploited labor.

Business leaders quoted in the the tsunami of hand-wringing MSM articles about the current catastrophe are offering such helpful solutions as allowing housekeepers to use pools and gyms in off hours, free meals to waiters, etc. Anything but a living wage.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 5:57 pm

" I don't actually see any untruths to the GOP talking points. "
"" Workers are less likely to accept a job while receiving Gov't benefits" and "workers are less likely to accept low wage crappy jobs ".

Well,if u can survive on a $300/week program that ends after several weeks pass,bless u. No one else in America can. That's a $7.50 hr full time "summer job" with no pension or medical benefits that teenagers with no dependents,few bills n maintenance issues might be interested in; adults with adult responsibilities,no way. That so called RepubliCons, the "economics experts", can make such a fraudulent claim n anyone out of elementary school believes it has a quantum particle of reality or value is . well I'll just say a sad n unbelievable situation.

Now the rest of your comments are laudable.

Objective Ace , June 13, 2021 at 11:57 am

They get 300 dollars plus regular UI. They can also get Medicaid and CHIP, or if they are still making too much they are eligible for Obamacare exchange. Plus they're eligible for SNAP and housing vouchers

Equitable > Equal , June 13, 2021 at 4:38 am

There is one significant fallacy in this article: The author conflates Republican opposition to enhanced benefits with opposition to unemployment benefits overall.

I very much stand with labour over business on most (probably all) points, but the Republican argument is to end the enhanced benefits in most cases – Not to abolish unemployment assistance. They believe the role of government is to step in to help pay basic bills in the event of unemployment, but oppose the current higher level of benefit due to the market distortions it causes (Hence the appearance of the term 'labour shortage'.)

I agree that it basically forces mcdonalds et al to up their wages if they want to do business, which should be a positive for society, but I find it unlikely that the author could have unintentionally mistunderstood the argument on such a fundamental level, and all it does is try to drive a wedge further between each side of the argument.

Sierra , June 12, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Hayek,

Sonali Kohatkar is pro open borders and has the nerve to complain about wage arbitrage?
https://freespeech.org/stories/prop-287-immigration-ca/

Anyone that believes that workers supported their jobs being sent overseas is either demented or delusional or suffers from a mental hernia. The same goes for the common working stiffs supporting massive immigration to help drive down their ability to demand a livable wage.

American labor has been sold down the river by the International Labor Leaders, politicians and the oligarchy of US corporate CEO's.
======

Got a new hip recently. Do your P.T., take it easy, follow the warnings of what not to do until you heal and you should discover that decades feel like they are lifted off your shoulders.

Hayek's Heelbiter , June 13, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Sierra,
You've made a very interesting point that actually never occurred to me and one in which I never seen fully examined.
Exploiting labour and outsourcing it are two sides of the same coin with the same goal in mind, diverting revenue streams into the C-suite and rentier class.
Obviously you cannot outsource most of the workers in the hospitality industry or the non-virtual aspects of world's oldest profession, but a lot of the tech industry and the virtual aspects of the latter are very amenable to being shipped overseas.
Immigrants are extremely visible and an easy target, while outsourcing is essentially an impossible to contain concept that creates real world hardship.
Dear NC readers, do you know of any studies comparing and contrasting the economic impact of immigration and/or limiting it and outsourcing?

sierra , June 12, 2021 at 3:51 pm

Those hip words were meant for Yves of course

Fazal Majid , June 12, 2021 at 8:46 am

Indeed, economists and analysts have gotten used to presenting facts from the perspective of private employers and their lobbyists.

You are acting if economists and lobbyists are separate groups, as opposed to largely a subset thereof. Funny how a field entirely based on the study of incentives claims incentives don't distort their policy prescriptions, isn't it?

As for low-paid jobs, they are traditionally the last resort of immigrants and other marginalized populations, but the anti-immigration push that began under Obama, and enthusiastically continued by Trump and Biden, has perfectly predictable consequences.

One factor not mentioned is many free-riding businesses refuse to pay for training, then wonder why there are no trained workers to hire.

Now, there are definitely fields where there is a genuine and deliberate labor shortage. Usually white-collar credentialed professions like medical doctors and the AMA cartel.

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 8:51 am

Economics is not based on incentives. That's behavioral economics. I hate to quote Larry Summers, but this is Summers on financial economics:

Ketchup economists reject out of hand much of this research on the ketchup market. They believe that the data used is based on almost meaningless accounting information and are quick to point out that concepts such as costs of production vary across firms and are not accurately measurable in any event. they believe that ketchup transactions prices are the only hard data worth studying. Nonetheless ketchup economists have an impressive research program, focusing on the scope for excess opportunities in the ketchup market. They have shown that two quart bottles of ketchup invariably sell for twice as much as one quart bottles of ketchup except for deviations traceable to transaction costs, and that one cannot get a bargain on ketchup by buying and combining ingredients once one takes account of transaction costs. Nor are there gains to be had from storing ketchup, or mixing together different quality ketchups and selling the resulting product. Indeed, most ketchup economists regard the efficiency of the ketchup market as the best established fact in empirical economics.

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 9:22 am

Happy to see you back at a keyboard, and hoping your recovery is progressing well. I had the misfortune of spending two days in the hospitals while they got my blood chemistry strightened out. Here's the kicker; the hospitalist, who I saw 3 times, submitted a bill for a whopping $17,000. Just yesterday, the practice she works for submitted a bill that was one-tenth her charges for the work she did, yet her bill is still sitting waiting to be processed.

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:53 am

OMG, how horrible. HSS is a small hospital for a big city like NYC, only 205 beds and 25 operating rooms. No emergency room. They are not owned by PE and so I don't think play outsourcing/markup games (they are very big on controlling quality, which you can't do if you have to go through middlemen for staffing). Some of the MDs do that their own practices within HSS but they are solo practitioners or small teams, which is not a model that you see much of anywhere outside NYC

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 12:05 pm

The last time I was hospitalized, all the hospitalists were in the employ of the hospital, now they are in the employ of a nationwide hospitalist practice, which has all the smell of private equity around it. I'm really beginning to think that a third party focusted on healthcare might have a real shot at upsetting the political order – maybe it's time to drag out your skunk party for 2024.

Arizona Slim , June 12, 2021 at 1:22 pm

How are you feeling? We miss you around here.

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 10:25 am

As for low-paid jobs, they are traditionally the last resort of immigrants and other marginalized populations, but the anti-immigration push that began under Obama, and enthusiastically continued by Trump and Biden, has perfectly predictable consequences.

Well I'm sorry you can't find easily exploitable labor, except I'm not immigrants face the same ridiculous costs, and weren't hispanic workers more heavily impacted by covid due to those marginal jobs (I'll switch your dynamic to low wage workers , and marginal jobs, thanks), so by your logic more should have been let in to die from these marginal jobs? but yeah we need more PMC except we don't
Now, there are definitely fields where there is a genuine and deliberate labor shortage. Usually white-collar credentialed professions like medical doctors and the AMA cartel."
Last I checked it was private equity, wall st and pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists that drive up costs so labor needs to charge more.
Wake up and smell the coffee.

Bill Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:24 am

How much of this is over specification on the part of employers in the ad for the job? We want the perfect candidate who can do the job better than we can with no training .

Yves Smith , June 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

OMG this is such a long-standing pet peeve! We've commented on this nonsense regularly. Companies took the position that they don't have to train and now they are eating their cooking.

Bill Smith , June 12, 2021 at 10:30 am

Exactly.

The mismatch between job openings and job applicants is not just about wages.

In fact, if companies were willing to take a chance on people who didn't exactly match the job requirements, the likely effect would be to raise the wages some of those that did not qualify under the over exacting job requirements. [And likely paying these new employees less than they had contemplated paying the perfect candidate.]

But that seems like someone making the hiring decision might, just possibly, be seen as taking a risk.

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 2:55 pm

At my empolyer we know we can't find any colleges that teach mainframe skills, so we bring in graduates who are willing to learn those skills – we submit them to a 3-month bootcamp and then there's a long period of mentorship under a senior person to their group that has an opening. Since everybody and their dog are now moving headfirst into DevOps, where all the tooling is in somewhat less ancient software, they get exposed using those Eclipse/VScode-based tools and are able to come up to speed somewhat quicker. Still, no one in corporate America dares to bite the bullet and re-platform their core systems with few exceptions (SABRE) for fear of losing all the institutional knowledge that's in software, rather than wetware (humans).

Howard Beale IV , June 12, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Just think what is happening right now with everyone holding an Indian outsourcing contract. You don't have individual's cellphone numbers over in India, which would cost you an arm and a leg to call, never mind what's going on in their facilities.

Mike Elwin , June 13, 2021 at 2:27 pm

On the other hand, there's something to be said for employers not training their staffs. In the SF Bay Area computer industry, employees and independent contractors alike continually race to train themselves in the new technologies that seem to crop up like mushrooms after a rain. Many companies train their customers–and charge them for it–before they'll train their staffs. This is a principal reason there's a market for contractors. Training oneself in new technologies lays a base for opportunities that don't appear if you spend a decade in the same job (unless, like mainframe programming, your job is so old it's new). I suppose this is a beneficial side of capitalism?

Lambert Strether , June 13, 2021 at 2:37 pm

> continually race to train themselves in the new technologies that seem to crop up like mushrooms after a rain

And what, one might ask, do mushrooms grow best in .

Louis , June 12, 2021 at 10:38 am

I get that you want experience for mid to senior level jobs but the experience requirements for what are ostsensibly entry-level jobs have gotten absurd. The education requirements have also gotten out of hand in some cases.

That being said, a lot of the shortages are in low-wage, part-time jobs so the issue isn't necessarily ridiculous requirements, like you sometimes see for entry level white collar jobs, but wages that are too low and awful working conditions.

How many people want to be treated like dirt–be it by customers, management, or both–for not much more than minimum wage if they have other options?

A wage increase will help fill these jobs but there also needs to be a paradigm shift in how employees are treated–the customer is not always right and allowing them to treat employees in ways that would not be tolerated in other businesses, and certainly not in many white-collar workplaces is a huge part of the problem and why these jobs have long had high-turnover.

TomDority , June 12, 2021 at 9:51 am

It never ends – when it was about immigrant labor under George B junior – I think – the call was
-- - They do jobs that Americans won't -- or something to that effect.
It always bothered me that the sentence was never, in my mind, completed. It should have been said
-- They do jobs that Americans won't do at that pay level. --
The tax system, economic system and higher education departments have been perverted by the continuous bribery and endowments by the rentier class to our elected law makers and dept heads for decades –
The creditor, debtor relationships distorted for eons.
The toll takers have never, in history, been in any higher level of mastery than they are now.
It is not to throw out the constitution but, to throw out those who have perverted it.

Oh , June 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

The construction industry knows how to exploit immigrant labor, documented as well as undocumented. I'm sure most peole born here refuse to work for the same wages.

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:14 pm

The exploitation occurs on many levels. For small residential jobs, a lot of wage theft occurs. For larger jobs, a lot of safety regs get ignored. When you have a population that won't use the legal avenues available to other citizens to push back against abuse you can get a lot done :/

King , June 12, 2021 at 10:04 am

When I go looking for a job if a degree isn't required I am very unlikely to pursue it further. Same if the list of 'required' is overly detailed. I'm making assumptions in both of these cases (that might not be correct) about pay, benefits, work environment, etc. and what is actually going on with a job listing. Why? Chiefly my likelihood of actually getting a reasonable offer. I expect either being seen as overqualified in the first case or the job only being listed because of some requirement in the second.

I have to wonder if many places know how to hire. This is made much more difficult by years of poorly written (maybe deceptive) job postings. You probably know many of the phrases; flexible schedule, family ___, reliable transportation required, and so on. Its no surprise if puffery doesn't bring back the drones.

Noone from Nowheresville , June 12, 2021 at 10:07 am

If we're playing with statistics. How many of these posted job openings, how many interviews did the companies offer v. how many offers were made until the position was filled? If position remains open, has the company increased the base pay offer? guaranteed an increased min. number of weekly hours? offered bonuses or increased benefits? How many times has this same job opening using the original posting criteria been re-posted? Is this a real single job opening that the company plans to fill in real time or just a posting that they keep opening because they have high turnover? etc., etc., etc.

The real problem with this workers are lazy meme is that it is repeated and repeated all year long on the local news from the viewpoint of business. It has filtered down to local people. I hear them repeating what the local news said without giving it any critical thought. Even those who say that we need unions and believe themselves to be on the side of workers.

Ear wigs are good for businesses. Insidious for workers.

synoia , June 12, 2021 at 12:03 pm

In the UK, in the days of Labor Strive, before Neo-liberalism , there was always newspaper reports about "Labor Strife" and "bolshy workers." Never once did the press examine Management had behaved and caused the workers to become "bolshy" – a direct reaction to Management's attitudes and behavior, probably based on the worst attributes of the UK's class system.

Definition: A bolshy person often argues and makes difficulties.
Management get the workers (Their Attitudes) it deserves.
I recommend reading "The Toyota Way" to explore a very successful management style.

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 10:40 am

This song is getting a probably getting more hits these days
Take this job and Shove It
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIjEauGiRLo
But I hear lots of businesses will close to to no labor, so when they close they can go work for 7.25 an hour for one of their competitors who also needs laborors Solidarinosc!

tegnost , June 12, 2021 at 11:40 am

Geez this song is probably getting more hits these days due to no laborors? hmmm.it must mean something, like proof read your posts .,

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , June 12, 2021 at 10:43 am

If businesses are suffering, it's restaurants and small scale enterprise. The Covid response was tailored to the needs of economy of scale mega biz. They likely knew multitides of mom-n-pops would go away- and they have. But that's fine.

Susan the other , June 12, 2021 at 11:24 am

So if state governments can turn down federal unemployment supplements because they want labor to go back to work for unlivable wages this means the federal government can do nothing about it. When push comes to shove the question that must be settled is, Is it a human right to receive employment assistance until a job is found that pays a livable wage? (Not even a republican will actually say No). So then that puts all the stingy states on notice that there is a human rights issue here. States will have the choice to either let businesses shut down for lack of workers, or states can subsidize minimum wages and benefits. If states choose, in desperation, to subsidize minimum wages, then the states can apply to the feds to be compensated. The thing that is needed in the interim, between when the real standoff starts and ends, is a safety net for workers who are being blocked by the state from receiving unemployment benefits. I say call in the national guard. This is a human rights issue.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 6:08 pm

Great point. Im appalled at the RepubliCon governers responses. And they call themselves Christians?

Imo Profitism (or Crapitalism if u pref2) is a Rights issue.

jim truti , June 12, 2021 at 11:45 am

The real exploitation happened when we allowed companies to delocalize, manufacture product in China and sell it here with no strings attached.
James Goldsmith seems like a prophet now, he was so absolutely right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwmOkaKh3-s

eg , June 12, 2021 at 11:45 pm

He sure does

Tom , June 13, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Wow. The Clinton flack was insufferable. AND WRONG about pretty much everything. Goldsmith was brilliant. I wasn't paying enough attention at he time, but how many high profile people were making the arguments he was making?

Michael Hudson , June 12, 2021 at 12:23 pm

I'm surprised that nobody has taken the opportunity to comment on how this discussion shows how hypocritical Biden and the democrats were not to press for raising the minimum wage.
The pretense (which they must have coached the "Senate scholar" on) was that raising the minimum wage was not related to revenue (i.e., a revenue bill). But of course it is! Right now, paying below-poverty wages enabled Walmart and other employers to make the government pay part of their wage bill. Higher minimum wages would raise these government aid recipients out of the poverty range, saving public revenue.
That is so obvious that the failure of the Democrats to make the point shows that they really didn't want to raise wages after all.

Nikkikat , June 12, 2021 at 1:40 pm

I didn't expect much from Biden but he's even worse than I thought. Along with those bought senators hiding behind Joe Manchin. Depressing to think how much worse everything will become for working people here.

Lambert Strether , June 12, 2021 at 1:48 pm

> the Democrats to make the point shows that they really didn't want to raise wages after all.

Come on, man. They're "fighting for" it.

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:41 pm

This all day long and twice on Sunday

When I think about how they're complaining about Manchin now when there was a serious primary challenge against him last year, and how the Democrat organization rallied around Manchin and not his challenger, it is disgusting to see Slate/The Guardian/NYT/other "Blue no matter who" mouth breathers write articles asking what can be done to salvage a progressive agenda from the curse of bipartisanship.

I had given up on national politics long before the 2020 election circus but this latest has confirmed my resolve. The destruction of the Democrat party can't come soon enough.

Noone from Nowheresville , June 12, 2021 at 5:25 pm

If I call them Hypocritics, when I never believed them in the first place, will they feel any shame at all? Or must I be part of their class for them to feel even the tiniest of niggles?

Perhaps they'll feel ashamed once they cut the check for the $600 they shorted us this winter. Or maybe that they are reneging on the extended unemployment benefits early or

One side makes you sleep on a bed of nails and swear allegiance.The other side generously offers to help you out, no strings attached, but you might bleed out from the thousands of tiny means-testing cuts. Each side want the lower tiers to face the gauntlet and prove one's worthiness, hoping to convince us that a black box algorithm is the same thing as a jury of peers.

Telee , June 12, 2021 at 9:30 pm

Exactly right! And keep in mind deluge of op-eds telling us that Biden is a transformational president! The same authors presented a deluge of op-eds telling us how Senator Sanders was to radical for the American people after he did well in early primaries. That the reforms he supported like Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage, lowering drug costs, help with daycare, doing something about climate change etc. were reforms that the people would never accept because the people value their freedom and don't want to live in a socialistic country.
It looks like none of the promises Biden made during the campaign will be implemented by President Biden. That why he is in the White House.

rowlf , June 12, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Would a lot of these positions be filled if the US had single payer healthcare or similar? Would workers accept low paying positions if they didn't have to lose so much of their pay to crappy health insurance?

Nikkikat , June 12, 2021 at 1:31 pm

At our local Petsmart they cut staff during the pandemic. They laid off all full time workers
And are only hiring back part time. I knew several of the laid off people and they are not coming back. Two of the people that worked full time have found other jobs one with slightly better pay the other with slightly better benefits. We are in California where rent is very high so another person we know decided to use this as a chance to relocate to another state where housing is less expensive. Our older neighbor retired, although vaccinated now, he decided it just wasn't safe and after the CDC told everyone to take off their mask off. He is glad he just decided to live on a little less money. I suspect there are a lot of reasons as Yves stated above for a lack of workers, but this "they are lazy" trope is capitalistic nonsense.

Petter , June 12, 2021 at 4:53 pm

This "they are lazy" trope has a long history. Yasha Levine wrote about it for the Exiled and it was reposted here at NC.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/yasha-levine-recovered-economic-history-everyone-but-an-idiot-knows-that-the-lower-classes-must-be-kept-poor-or-they-will-never-be-industrious.html

Some highlights:
>> everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.
-- Arthur Young; 1771
>>Even David Hume, that great humanist, hailed poverty and hunger as positive experiences for the lower classes, and even blamed the "poverty" of France on its good weather and fertile soil:
'Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.

>>Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 1:38 pm

I'll just point out, per the Old Testament, that wage, debt and rent slavery were the exception, not the norm (as they are in the US) for citizens (Hebrews) in ancient Israel/Judah.

That's because the assets in ancient Israel/Judah were roughly equally owned by all citizens with provisions in the OT Law (eg. Leviticus 25, eg. Deuteronomy 15, eg. Deuteronomy 23:19-20) to keep it that way in the long run (but less than 50 years).

Contrast that to US where we have privileges for a private credit cartel, aka "the banks", and no limits to the concentration of land ownership and the roots of our problems are evident.

So begging for better jobs for citizens is, in the Biblical context, pathetically weak tea indeed.

Amateur Socialist , June 12, 2021 at 1:53 pm

On a personal note I had a great job interview Thursday at the local food co-op. This is my first in person interview since I was terminated without cause by IBM (after almost 24 years there in a server development job) almost a year ago. Despite applying for over 100 positions. I'm over 60 and haven't worked in a year so I admit I'm grateful to even get the chance.

I have another interview with them next week and hoping to start soon as a produce clerk making $13.50 an hour. If I can get on full time they offer a decent insurance plan including dental. The HR person acknowledged that I was "wildly overqualified" but encouraging. The possibility of getting health care is key; my IBM Cobra benefits will start costing me almost $1400/monthly for myself and my husband in September after the ARA subsidy expires.

I've adjusted my expectations to reinvent myself as a manual laborer after decades in fairly cushy corporate life. I've managed to keep my health and physical capacity so somewhat optimistic I can meet the job requirements that include lifting 50 lb boxes of produce. But we'll see.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm

and haven't worked in a year Amateur Socialist

You mean you haven't had a job in a year since it's highly doubtful that you have not done any work in a year; eg. cooking, cleaning, shopping, car maintenance, gardening, chauffeuring, mowing the lawn, home maintenance and caring for others count as work.

We need to stop conflating work (good) with wage slavery as if the former necessarily requires the latter.

Amateur Socialist , June 12, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Okay sure. I haven't earned in a year. But it's still a problem I'm trying to sort out best as I can.

Since I still live in the US where earning is highly correlated with insurance coverage, and I still have about 5 years until we're both qualified for Medicare this may turn out to be a great thing that has happened.

And since I don't see a path out of wage slavery today I'll be happy to accept almost any offer from the food co-op. It's a union job with decent pay and benefits and may offer other opportunities in the future. They mostly buy and sell products that are locally made so that makes it easier too. The money we are all enslaving each other over is staying around here as much as possible. Okay.

Arizona Slim , June 12, 2021 at 4:32 pm

A former neighbor worked in our local food co-op and loved her job. At the co-op, she was a cashier. She also was a retired attorney.

Dr. R.k. Barkhi , June 12, 2021 at 6:25 pm

Good luck! Fyi i strongly suggest u look into taking your IBM pension asap as 1. It will minimally impact your taxes as u r now earning less n 2. How many more years do u think it will be there? ( I usually recommend most people take their social security at 62 for similar reasons but in your case I'd do your research b4 making any move like that. ) Take a blank state n Fed tax form n pencil in the new income n see what the results are.
Btw truly wonderful people are involved in food co-ops,enjoy!

Eudora Welty , June 12, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Good luck! I will be thinking of you next week.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm

No one really questions the idea of maximising profit.
How do you maximise profit?
You minimise costs, including labour costs, i.e. wages.

Where did the idea of maximising profit comes from?
It certainly wasn't from Adam Smith.

"But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin." Adam Smith
Exactly the opposite of today's thinking, what does he mean?
When rates of profit are high, capitalism is cannibalising itself by:
1) Not engaging in long term investment for the future
2) Paying insufficient wages to maintain demand for its products and services
Today's problems with growth and demand.
Amazon didn't suck its profits out as dividends and look how big it's grown (not so good on the wages).

The benefits of the system can be passed upwards in dividends or downwards in wages.
Both actually detract from the money available for re-investment as Jeff Bezos knows only too well.
He didn't pay dividends, and paid really low wages, to maximise the amount that he could re-invest in Amazon and look how big it's grown.
The shareholders gains are made through the value of the shares.
Jeff Bezos hopes other people are paying high enough wages to buy lots of stuff from Amazon; his own workers don't have much purchasing power.

Where do the benefits of the system go?
Today, we pass as much as possible upwards in dividends.
In the Keynesian era they passed a lot more down in wages.

cnchal , June 12, 2021 at 10:34 pm

> Jeff Bezos hopes other people are paying high enough wages to buy lots of stuff from Amazon; his own workers don't have much purchasing power.

You are missing the tree in the forest. Jeff hopes other people will pay a high enough price for Amazon stawk. We already know Jeff doesn't give a shit about the stuff he sells, or the inhumane working conditions that go along with the low pay and short "career". I mean, not even the nastiest farmer would treat his mules like that, even if mules were easy and cheap to come by.

So far, Mr Market says beating workers, good.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 2:55 pm

We don't think people should get money when they are not working.
Are you sure?

What's the point in working?
Why bother?
It's just not worth all the effort when you can make money doing nothing.
In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.
They love easy money.

With a BTL portfolio, I can get the capital gains on a number of properties and extract the hard earned income of generation rent at the same time.
That sounds good.
What is there not to like?

We love easy money.

You've just got to sniff out the easy money.
All that hard work involved in setting up a company yourself, and building it up.
Why bother?
Asset strip firms other people have built up, that's easy money.

People do love easy money.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 12, 2021 at 3:45 pm

"West Virginia's Republican Governor Jim Justice justified ending federal jobless benefits early in his state by lecturing his residents on how, "America is all about work. That's what has made this great country."
Have you had a look around recently?

In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.
America is not about work at all.

athingtoconsider , June 12, 2021 at 5:44 pm

America is not about work at all. SoS

The US is largely about exploiting or being exploited with most of US doing both.

We should resent an economic system that requires we exploit others or be a pure victim ourselves.

That said and to face some truths we'd rather not, the Bible offers some comfort, eg:

Ecclesiastes 7:16
Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?

Ecclesiastes 5:8-9
If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. After all, a king who cultivates the field is beneficial to the land.

Nonetheless, we should support economic justice and recognize that most of us are net losers to an unjust economic system even though it offers some corrupt compensation* to divide and confuse us.

*eg positive yields and interest on the inherently risk-free debt of a monetary sovereign.

KLG , June 12, 2021 at 6:54 pm

Jim Justice made his money the old fashioned way, he inherited it:

From Wiki: James Conley Justice II (born April 27, 1951) is an American businessman and politician who has been serving as the 36th governor of West Virginia since 2017. With a net worth of around $1.2 billion, he is the wealthiest person in West Virginia. He inherited a coal mining business from his father and built a business empire with over 94 companies, including the Greenbrier, a luxury resort.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Justice

chris , June 12, 2021 at 6:31 pm

I wonder how much of this is also related to a change in the churn we assume existed pre-pandemic? For example, the most recent JOLTS survey results from April 2021 show the total number of separations hasn't really changed but the number of quits has increased.

So, one possible interpretation of that would be employers are less likely to fire people and those who think they have skills in demand are more interested in leaving for better opportunities now. That makes intuitive sense given what we've been through. If you had a good gig and it was stable through 2020 you had very little reason to leave it even if an offer was better with another company. That goes double if you were a caregiver or had children. Which of course is why many women who were affected by the challenges of balancing daycare and a career gave up.

This is also my experience lately. While it's only anecdotal evidence, we're having a hard time hiring mid career engineers. Doesn't seem like pay is the issue. We offer a ton of vacation, a separate pool of sick time, decent benefits, and wages in the six figures with a good bonus program. We're looking to hire 3 engineers. We can't even get people to apply. In 2019 we could be sure to see a steady supply of experienced candidates looking for new opportunities. Now? If you have an engineering position and your company is letting you work from home it seems you don't have a good reason to jump.

Buckeye , June 12, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Look no further than Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. They had only half the staff they normally need at $10 an hour. So they double the wage to $20 an hour and filled every job in less than a week. The Conservaturds will never admit they are lying.

DWoolley , June 13, 2021 at 3:24 pm

As a small business owner providing professional services I am grateful for the comment section here.

I have called professional peers to get a behind the corporate PR perspective of their businesses. Although anecdotal, the overall trend in our industry is to accept the labor shortage and downsize. Most firms have a reliable backlog of work and will benefit from an infrastructure bill. Our firm has chosen to downsize and close vacant positions.

Remote work, although feasible, has employees thinking they are LeBron James, regardless of their skill set. Desperate employers are feeding their belief. Two years from now it will be interesting to see if these employees they fail forward. Company culture minimized employee turnover pre-covid. This culture has little meaning to an employee working in his daughter's playroom.

For context, in California, I believe the median income for licensees is approximately $110,000 with lower level technicians easily at $75k in the urban areas.

Lastly, the "paltry" $300 per week is in additional to the state unemployment checks and is not subject to taxes. As stated previously, $300 is equal to $7.50 per hour. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 and is adopted by many states minimum, for what it's worth.

Thanks again for the forum.

JBird4049 , June 13, 2021 at 6:32 pm

With respect, I do not see any there there in the comment. Adjusted for inflation the minimum wage at its height in 1968 at 1.60, would be just under $13 per hour today. However, even at $15 in California, it is inadequate.

Anyone making anything like the minimum wage would not be working from home, but would be working in some kind of customer service job, and would find paying for adequate food, clothing, and shelter very difficult. Not in getting any extras, but only in getting enough to survive. People, and their families, do need to eat.

If the response of not paying enough, and therefore not getting new hires, is to downsize, perhaps that is good. After all no business deserves to remain in business, especially if the business model depends on its workers being unable to survive.

Sue inSoCal , June 13, 2021 at 4:13 pm

I am also fed up with the "lazy worker" meme. Or rather, propaganda. People are literally exhausted working 2 or 3 lousy jobs and no real healthcare. Equally irritating to me is a misguided notion that we have some magically accessible generous safety net in the US. As though there aren't thousands and thousands on waiting lists for government subsidized housing. Section 8 vouchers? Good luck.

https://homesnow.org/short-history-of-public-housing-in-the-us-1930s-present/

We've ended "welfare as we [knew] it" (AFDC) thanks to Bill Clinton and then the screw was turned tightly by Junior Bush (no child care, but go to work.) The upshot was bad news for kids.

https://www.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2019/02/25/how-welfare-reform-has-had-a-negative-effect-on-the-children-of-single-mothers

Seems to me one of the few things left is the food stamp program, and I can't imagine how that's been reconfigured. Whomever gave that fantastic list of goodies people can get in the US with a mere snap of the fingers isn't in the real world, imho.

Ok! Yves, lovely to see you again, my friend! (Cue the Moody Blues ) Get well!

10 legged shadow , June 13, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Here is my story.
I am 56 years old, on dialysis and I was collecting SSI of 529 a month.
I was living with and taking care of my mother in her home because she had dementia.
She died in December and I had to start paying the bills. In March I inherited her IRA which I reported to SS. I was able to roll it over into my own IRA because I am disabled, due to the Trump tax law changes.
I reported the changes in a timely manner and because I couldn't afford to live here without a job, I took a part time job for 9 an hour.
So now, because I inherited my mother's IRA and have too much resources I no longer qualify for SSI and have been overpaid to the tune of almost 2 grand, which I am assuming I will have to pay back. I have no idea how that works either. Do they just grab money out of your account? Anyone who knows please tell me.

JBird4049 , June 13, 2021 at 11:35 pm

I would run, run, run to the nearest public assistance counselor or lawyer. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it is should not be too hard to find one. They saved me. There are also in California several state websites. There was a useful to me benefits planning site (It only covers nine states though).

The rules for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), Social Security, Medi-Cal or Medicaid, and Medicare are each different. Each state has its own modifications as well, so that is fifty additional sets of modified rules especially for the medical benefits. If they are determined to claw back the money, how it is done might depend on the individual state. It is truly a maze of flycatchers and trapdoors out for you and your money.

The overworked benefits clerks often do not have the knowledge to deal with anything even slightly unusual and are not encourage or at least discouraged from finding out due to the never shrinking pile, not from anyone's malice. This means you could lose benefits because they did not know what they were doing or just by mistake. So, it is up to you to find those nonprofit counselors or the for profit lawyer to help you through the laws, rules, and whatever local regulations there are. Hopefully, you will not have to read through some of the official printed regulations like I did. If wasn't an experience paper pusher.. The average person would have been lost. Intelligence and competence has nothing to do with. Hell, neither does logic, I think.

In my case, when I inherited a retirement account, SSDI was not affected, because of how the original account was set up. However, SSDI is different from SSI although both have interesting and Byzantine requirements. I guess to make sure we are all "deserving" of any help.

So don't ask anonymous bozos like me on the internet and find those local counselors. If it is nonprofit, they will probably do it completely free. If needed, many lawyers, including tax lawyers, and CPAs will offer discounted help or will know where you can go.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 14, 2021 at 12:03 pm

What is the floor on wages?
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
Set disposable income to zero.
Minimum wages = taxes + the cost of living
So, as we increase housing costs, we drive up wages.

The neoliberal solution.
Try and paper over the cracks with Payday loans.
This what we call a short term solution.

Someone has been tinkering with the economics and that's why we can't see the problem.
The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital".
They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists as this is where rentier activity in the economy shows up.
It's so well hidden no one even knows it's there and everyone trips up over the cost of living, even the Chinese.

Angus Deaton rediscovers the wheel that was lost by the early neoclassical economists.
"Income inequality is not killing capitalism in the United States, but rent-seekers like the banking and the health-care sectors just might" Angus Deaton, Nobel prize winner.
Employees get their money from wages and the employers pay the cost of living through wages, reducing profit.
This raises the costs of doing anything in the US, and drives off-shoring.

The Chinese learn the hard way.
Davos 2019 – The Chinese have now realised high housing costs eat into consumer spending and they wanted to increase internal consumption.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNBcIFu-_V0
They let real estate rip and have now realised why that wasn't a good idea.

The equation makes it so easy.
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
The cost of living term goes up with increased housing costs.
The disposable income term goes down.
They didn't have the equation, they used neoclassical economics.
The Chinese had to learn the hard way and it took years, but they got there in the end.

They have let the cost of living rise and they want to increase internal consumption.
Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
It's a double whammy on wages.
China isn't as competitive as it used to be.
China has become more expensive and developed Eastern economies are off-shoring to places like Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

[Jun 07, 2021] Meth addiction and overtime work goes hand in hand.

Jun 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 4:10 am

Just to stay at the oil field – Meth addiction and overtime work goes hand in hand.

Meth and it's derivates was the drug of the 50s in Germany during rebuilding from the war (Pervitin, Weckamin). They have been legal until the 70s.

It's the easy way first – just take it and you can work longer. Want to drive a truck 16 hours? Just throw a few Pervitins. Side effects and addiction come later. And the unclean stuff from the black market kills people faster.

[May 31, 2021] Regarding, "skills shortage," I don't expect t businesses that respect their employees well will have trouble hiring and retaining staff. The ones in trouble are those who bought into the "end of employees" propaganda and laid off the people they already had

May 31, 2021 | www.wsj.com

ALAN SEWELL SUBSCRIBER 8 hours ago (Edited)

Regarding, "skills shortage," I don't expect t businesses that respect their employees well will have trouble hiring and retaining staff. The ones in trouble are those who bought into the "end of employees" propaganda and laid off the people they already had:
The End of Employees Updated
Feb. 2, 2017 12:41 p.m. ET

Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry. Hiring an employee is a last resort and "very few jobs make it through that obstacle course."

Companies with that attitude shouldn't expect easy hiring now. They were bad companies to work for then, and probably still are. Productive employees now have options on where to work. Bad employers are at the bottom of the totem pole and will only get the least desirable people who have nowhere else to go.

[May 30, 2021] Ford Retools Headquarters for Hybrid Work

Executives at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have voiced worries that workers who stay remote could wind up as second-class corporate citizens, falling behind in promotions and pay , so the company plans to track rates of advancement for office-based and remote staff in an effort to make sure nobody lags behind.
May 30, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Ford Motor Co. is pushing ahead with digital efforts to help bring office workers back to its Dearborn, Mich., corporate headquarters, while eyeing a future where many of them continue to work from home, company officials say.

For now, the auto maker is aiming for a gradual return of some employees to the sprawling campus beginning in July, with "significantly reduced capacity" to retain social distancing, a spokeswoman said.

[May 30, 2021] Andrew Yang: The War on Normal People The Truth About America s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

Looks like this guys somewhat understands the problems with neoliberalism, but still is captured by neoliberal ideology.
Notable quotes:
"... That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent. ..."
"... Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent. ..."
"... Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick. ..."
"... Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.amazon.com

The logic of the meritocracy is leading us to ruin, because we arc collectively primed to ignore the voices of the millions getting pushed into economic distress by the grinding wheels of automation and innovation. We figure they're complaining or suffering because they're losers.

We need to break free of this logic of the marketplace before it's too late.

[Neoliberalism] had decimated the economies and cultures of these regions and were set to do the same to many others.

In response, American lives and families are falling apart. Ram- pant financial stress is the new normal. We are in the third or fourth inning of the greatest economic shift in the history of mankind, and no one seems to be talking about it or doing anything in response.

The Great Displacement didn't arrive overnight. It has been building for decades as the economy and labor market changed in response to improving technology, financialization, changing corporate norms, and globalization. In the 1970s, when my parents worked at GE and Blue Cross Blue Shield in upstate New York, their companies provided generous pensions and expected them to stay for decades. Community banks were boring businesses that lent money to local companies for a modest return. Over 20 percent of workers were unionized. Some economic problems existed -- growth was uneven and infla- tion periodically high. But income inequality was low, jobs provided benefits, and Main Street businesses were the drivers of the economy. There were only three television networks, and in my house we watched them on a TV with an antenna that we fiddled with to make the picture clearer.

That all seems awfully quaint today. Pensions disappeared for private-sector employees years ago. Most community banks were gobbled up by one of the mega-banks in the 1990s -- today five banks control 50 percent of the commercial banking industry, which itself mushroomed to the point where finance enjoys about 25 percent of all corporate profits. Union membership fell by 50 percent.

Ninety-four percent of the jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were temp or contractor jobs without benefits; people working multiple gigs to make ends meet is increasingly the norm. Real wages have been flat or even declining. The chances that an American born in 1990 will earn more than their parents are down to 50 percent; for Americans born in 1940 the same figure was 92 percent.

Thanks to Milton Friedman, Jack Welch, and other corporate titans, the goals of large companies began to change in the 1970s and early 1980s. The notion they espoused -- that a company exists only to maximize its share price -- became gospel in business schools and boardrooms around the country. Companies were pushed to adopt shareholder value as their sole measuring stick.

Hostile takeovers, shareholder lawsuits, and later activist hedge funds served as prompts to ensure that managers were committed to profitability at all costs. On the flip side, CF.Os were granted stock options for the first time that wedded their individual gain to the company's share price. The ratio of CF.O to worker pay rose from 20 to 1 in 1965 to 271 to 1 in 2016. Benefits were streamlined and reduced and the relationship between company and employee weakened to become more transactional.

Simultaneously, the major banks grew and evolved as Depression-era regulations separating consumer lending and investment banking were abolished. Financial deregulation started under Ronald Reagan in 1980 and culminated in the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 under Bill Clinton that really set the banks loose. The securities industry grew 500 percent as a share of GDP between 1980 and the 2000s while ordinary bank deposits shrank from 70 percent to 50 percent. Financial products multiplied as even Main Street companies were driven to pursue financial engineering to manage their affairs. GE, my dad's old company and once a beacon of manufacturing, became the fifth biggest financial institution in the country by 2007.

Nolia Nessa , April 5, 2018

profound and urgent work of social criticism

It's hard to be in the year 2018 and not hear about the endless studies alarming the general public about coming labor automation. But what Yang provides in this book is two key things: automation has already been ravaging the country which has led to the great political polarization of today, and second, an actual vision into what happens when people lose jobs, and it definitely is a lightning strike of "oh crap"

I found this book relatively impressive and frightening. Yang, a former lawyer, entrepreneur, and non-profit leader, writes showing with inarguable data that when companies automate work and use new software, communities die, drug use increases, suicide increases, and crime skyrockets. The new jobs created go to big cities, the surviving talent leaves, and the remaining people lose hope and descend into madness. (as a student of psychology, this is not surprising)

He starts by painting the picture of the average American and how fragile they are economically. He deconstructs the labor predictions and how technology is going to ravage it. He discusses the future of work. He explains what has happened in technology and why it's suddenly a huge threat. He shows what this means: economic inequality rises, the people have less power, the voice of democracy is diminished, no one owns stocks, people get poorer etc. He shows that talent is leaving small towns, money is concentrating to big cities faster. He shows what happens when those other cities die (bad things), and then how the people react when they have no income (really bad things). He shows how retraining doesn't work and college is failing us. We don't invest in vocational skills, and our youth is underemployed pushed into freelance work making minimal pay. He shows how no one trusts the institutions anymore.

Then he discusses solutions with a focus on Universal Basic Income. I was a skeptic of the idea until I read this book. You literally walk away with this burning desire to prevent a Mad Max esque civil war, and its hard to argue with him. We don't have much time and our bloated micromanaged welfare programs cannot sustain.

[May 30, 2021] The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy by Lisa Duggan

This is a very short book, almost an essay -- 136 pages. It was published in October 2004, four years before financial crisis of 2008, which put the first nail in the coffin of neoliberalism. It addresses the cultural politics of neo-liberalism ("the Great Deception")
Notable quotes:
"... By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics. ..."
"... Ultimately, The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned ..."
"... The titles of her four chapters--Downsizing Democracy, The Incredible Shrinking Public, Equality, Inc., Love AND Money--summarize her argument. ..."
"... Her target is neoliberalism, which she sees as a broadly controlling corporate agenda which seeks world domination, privatization of governmental decision-making, and marginalization of unions, low-income people, racial and sexual minorities while presenting to the public a benign and inclusive facade. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism seeks to upwardly distribute money, power, and status, she writes, while progressive movements seek to downwardly distribute money, power, and status. The unity of the downwardly distribution advocates should match the unity of the upwardly distribution advocates in order to be effective, she writes. ..."
"... "There is nothing stable or inevitable in the alliances supporting neoliberal agendas in the U.S. and globally," she writes. "The alliances linking neoliberal global economics, and conservative and right-wing domestic politics, and the culture wars are provisional--and fading...." ..."
"... For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues. ..."
"... Because neoliberal politicians wish to save neoliberalism by reforming it, she argues that proposing alternate visions and ideas have been blocked. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics.

The Twilight of Equality? searches out these links through an analysis of the politics of the 1990s, the decade when neoliberalism-free market economics-became gospel.

After a brilliant historical examination of how racial and gender inequities were woven into the very theoretical underpinnings of the neoliberal model of the state, Duggan shows how these inequities play out today. In a series of political case studies, Duggan reveals how neoliberal goals have been pursued, demonstrating that progressive arguments that separate identity politics and economic policy, cultural politics and affairs of state, can only fail.

Ultimately, The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned but, more importantly, it shows a way to revitalize and unify progressive politics in the U.S. today.

Mona Cohen 5.0 out of 5 stars A Critique of Neoliberalism and the Divided Resistance to It July 3, 2006

Lisa Duggan is intensely interested in American politics, and has found political life in the United States to have been "such a wild ride, offering moments of of dizzying hope along with long stretches of political depression." She is grateful for "many ideas about political depression, and how to survive it," and she has written a excellent short book that helps make sense of many widely divergent political trends.

Her book is well-summarized by its concluding paragraph, which I am breaking up into additional paragraphs for greater clarity:

"Now at this moment of danger and opportunity, the progressive left is mobilizing against neoliberalism and possible new or continuing wars.

"These mobilizations might become sites for factional struggles over the disciplining of troops, in the name of unity at a time of crisis and necessity. But such efforts will fail; the troops will not be disciplined, and the disciplinarians will be left to their bitterness.

"Or, we might find ways of think, speaking, writing and acting that are engaged and curious about "other people's" struggles for social justice, that are respectfully affiliative and dialogic rather than pedagogical, that that look for the hopeful spots to expand upon, and that revel in the pleasure of political life.

"For it is pleasure AND collective caretaking, love AND the egalitarian circulation of money--allied to clear and hard-headed political analysis offered generously--that will create the space for a progressive politics that might both imagine and create...something worth living for."

The titles of her four chapters--Downsizing Democracy, The Incredible Shrinking Public, Equality, Inc., Love AND Money--summarize her argument.

She expected upon her high school graduation in 1972, she writes, that "active and expanding social movements seemed capable of ameliorating conditions of injustice and inequality, poverty, war and imperialism....I had no idea I was not perched at a great beginning, but rather at a denouement, as the possibilities for progressive social change encountered daunting historical setbacks beginning in 1972...."

Her target is neoliberalism, which she sees as a broadly controlling corporate agenda which seeks world domination, privatization of governmental decision-making, and marginalization of unions, low-income people, racial and sexual minorities while presenting to the public a benign and inclusive facade.

Neo-liberalism seeks to upwardly distribute money, power, and status, she writes, while progressive movements seek to downwardly distribute money, power, and status. The unity of the downwardly distribution advocates should match the unity of the upwardly distribution advocates in order to be effective, she writes.

Her belief is that all groups threatened by the neoliberal paradigm should unite against it, but such unity is threatened by endless differences of perspectives. By minutely analyzing many of the differences, and expanding understanding of diverse perspectives, she tries to remove them as obstacles towards people and organizations working together to achieve both unique and common aims.

This is good book for those interested in the history and current significance of numerous progressive ideological arguments. It is a good book for organizers of umbrella organizations and elected officials who work with diverse social movements. By articulating points of difference, the author depersonalizes them and aids in overcoming them.

Those who are interested in electoral strategies, however, will be disappointed. The interrelationship between neoliberalism as a governing ideology and neoliberalism as a political strategy is not discussed here. It is my view that greater and more focused and inclusive political organizing has the potential to win over a good number of the those who see support of neoliberalism's policy initiatives as a base-broadening tactic more than as a sacred cause.

"There is nothing stable or inevitable in the alliances supporting neoliberal agendas in the U.S. and globally," she writes. "The alliances linking neoliberal global economics, and conservative and right-wing domestic politics, and the culture wars are provisional--and fading...."

Reading this book adds to one's understanding of labels, and political and intellectual distinctions. It has too much jargon for my taste, but not so much as to be impenetrable. It is an excellent summarization and synthesis of the goals, ideologies, and histories of numerous social movements, both famous and obscure.

S. Baker 5.0 out of 5 stars Summary/Review of Twilight of Equality November 27, 2007

Duggan articulately connects social and economic issues to each other, arguing that neoliberal politics have divided the two when in actuality, they cannot be separated from one another.

In the introduction, Duggan argues that politics have become neoliberal - while politics operate under the guise of promoting social change or social stability, in reality, she argues, politicians have failed to make the connection between economic and social/cultural issues. She uses historical background to prove the claim that economic and social issues can be separated from each other is false.

For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues.

After the introduction, Duggan focuses on a specific topic in each chapter: downsizing democracy, the incredible shrinking public, equality, and love and money. In the first chapter (downsizing democracy), she argues that through violent imperial assertion in the Middle East, budget cuts in social services, and disillusionments in political divides, "capitalists could actually bring down capitalism" (p. 2).

Because neoliberal politicians wish to save neoliberalism by reforming it, she argues that proposing alternate visions and ideas have been blocked. Duggan provides historical background that help the reader connect early nineteenth century U.S. legislation (regarding voting rights and slavery) to perpetuated institutional prejudices.

[May 29, 2021] Wage Growth Stagnation Hits Men Harder Than Women, What's The Cause- - ZeroHedge

May 29, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Wage Growth Stagnation Hits Men Harder Than Women, What's The Cause? BY TYLER DURDEN SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2021 - 11:10 AM

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Lifetime real earnings of the median male worker declined by 10% from those who entered the US labor market in 1967 to those in 1983, or roughly a loss of $136,000.

A study on Lifetime Earnings in the United States over Six Decades is worth a close look.

The study shows the United States shows a "wage stagnation of average earnings and a rise in income inequality since the 1970s." The charts are based on US Social Security Administration (SSA) records over 57 years.

The charts are more than a bit confusing unless one carefully dives into the details.

The lead chart is titled " Median Lifetime Earnings " but shows instead annualized real (inflation adjusted) annual wages, not lifetime or real lifetime earnings.

Lifetime Definition

When nominal earnings are deflated by the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator, the annualized value of median lifetime wage/salary earnings for male workers declined by $4,400 per year from the 1967 cohort to the 1983 cohort, or $136,400 over the 31-year working period.

The lifetime earnings of the median male worker declined by 10 percent from the 1967 cohort to the 1983 cohort. Further, more than three-quarters of the distribution of men experienced no rise in their lifetime earnings across these cohorts.

Cohort Definition

As used in the article, cohort means all of those who turned 25, 35. 45, etc. in a particular year.

Key Notes

A download of the Working Paper PDF provides these insights.

Inflation Adjustments

The two most commonly used price indexes are the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the consumer price index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS). The (older) CPI and the (newer) PCE differ in several ways that are by now well understood.

The PCE is generally accepted to be the superior index for measuring the overall price level and its evolution over the business cycle. It is thus the standard choice in aggregate (macro) economic analyses. However, for more micro work, such as the analyses in this paper, the CPI has some advantages. In particular, the CPI aims to capture the price level faced by the typical household for its out-of-pocket expenses and is thus based on a detailed survey of U.S. household expenditures, whereas the PCE is based on business surveys and also includes purchases made by others on behalf of households. Consequently, relative to the PCE, the CPI places a lower weight on health care prices (since a large fraction of total expenditures is paid by Medicare/Medicaid and insurance companies) and a much higher weight on housing and transportation.

In our empirical analysis, we choose the PCE as our baseline measure for deflating nominal earnings because it implies a lower cumulative inflation over this period than the CPI . We report all values in 2013 dollars.

Lifetime Earnings for Men and Women Closing the Gender Gap

The chart looks severely dated but cohort means the year in which someone turned 25.

Figure 3 plots the ratio of the mean lifetime earnings of females to that of males

In 1960, median inflation adjusted wages for women aged 25 were less than 40% of males. But fewer women than men were working and fewer women than men were college educated.

After 1965, the gap started to close quickly (showing an almost linear trend), and by the 1983 cohort (working women who turned 25 in 1983), the lifetime earnings of women reached more than 60% of their male counterparts.

To the extent real median wages have risen in aggregate, it is because of the headway made by women relative to men.

Decline of Men vs Women

The mean lifetime income for men rose until 1972. The median topped out a bit earlier in 1967 albeit by an arguably meaningless 0.13 percentage points.

Those who turned 25 in 1983 were 55 in 2014. Thus the study misses the last 7 years.

Even Worse Than It Looks

The charts and findings are even worse than they look.

The PCE measure of inflation is understated relative to the CPI.

Both are severely understated since 1999 relative to housing. Housing-adjusted real wages have been hammered in aggregate, and even more so for men.

For discussion, please see Fed Sponsored Speculation: Real Interest Rates Are -4.1 Percent, Lowest Since 1980 .

Placing the Blame

The Fed with tremendous help from Congress seeks to destroy the dollar. They have succeeded. Yet the Fed rails against income inequality.

The Fed, Congress, and Progressive need to look in the mirror to see who is to blame for falling real wages.

" It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries had to pony up $100 of actual goods in order to obtain one ," accurately quipped American economist Barry Eichengreen .

Trade Distortions and Wage Distortions

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1398388350705278976&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpersonal-finance%2Fwage-growth-stagnation-hits-men-harder-women-whats-cause&sessionId=b263f891dabcc801fba286b4f58c3984c3a572cc&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

In addition to trade distortions inaccurately blamed on NAFTA, real wages is another data series that goes back to Nixon closing the gold window in 1971.

For details, please see Nixon Shock, the Reserve Currency Curse, and a Pending Currency Crisis .

Is the Fed Trying to Destroy the Dollar?

A friend asks "Is the Fed Trying to Destroy the US Dollar?"

The answer is yes, to repeatedly bail out the banks at the expense of consumers.

Be my guest at assigning percentage blame.

[May 09, 2021] Pay a Living Wage or 'Flip Your Own Damn Burgers'- Progressives Blast Right-Wing Narrative on Jobs -

May 09, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

cocomaan , May 8, 2021 at 7:22 am

God, I really hate Reich. Posturing buffoon.

I remember when my mom used to bring me to the Walmart super center when I was a kid, around 1990. They were exploding in popularity. The cheap goods were a blessing for our growing family. But we all know how the goods got so cheap.

The 1990s for Walmart was the equivalent of the 2010’s for Amazon. The low wage job model worked for them then and continues to work for them now.

And in the 1990s, Reich was running around being Labor Secretary, of all things.

There’s some simple solutions to this, like strengthening collective bargaining, but that’s nowhere in sight.

Employers will pay the lowest possible wage until they absolutely need to.

Geo , May 8, 2021 at 7:41 am

He quit after the first term and wrote a book about how frustrated he was by Clinton’s refusal to address widening income disparity and labor issues.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-05-15-9705150278-story,amp.html (1997 book review which discusses his anger at Clinton and his failures)

Totally agree with your point about labor markets. But, Just because he wasn’t successful doesn’t mean he didn’t try. Correct me if I’m wrong (I often am) but I don’t think he’s the villain. Seems to have been trying to do good in whatever way he can and is also very open about the corruption and greed that makes change so difficult.

[Mar 12, 2021] Global Transformation- The Precariat Overcoming Populism by Guy Standing

Notable quotes:
"... By Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). Subjects of recent books include basic income, rentier capitalism and the growing precariat. He is a council member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Open Democracy . ..."
"... the precariat was evolving as a class-in-the-making. ..."
"... we should interpret what Karl Polanyi was to call the Great Transformation as beginning with a period of dis-embeddedness, when the old social formation with its specific systems of regulation, social protection and redistribution was being dismantled mainly by the interests of financial capital, guided by an ideology of laissez-faire liberalism ..."
"... "For the proletariat, the norm was and is to be in a stable job. There is nothing labourists love more than to have as many people as possible in jobs. They romanticise being in a job, promising Full Employment, and quietly resorting to workfare. They conveniently forget that being in a job is being in a position of subordination and fail to recall Marx's depiction of labour in jobs as 'active alienation'." ..."
"... Though for most of the 1848-1945 period, its not really true. The proletariat of Capital and Condition of the Working Class in England had an existence as precarious as today's precariat. Indeed, this was one of the things driving the growing militance. There was little in the way of a consumer goods industry selling to proletarians because until quite late in the 19th century the entire wages of all but the skilled and fortunate went for subsistence. ..."
"... A side note: my understanding is that classical Marxism's worry about the lumpenproletariat, aka a "reactionary mass," was based on the observation that their services could be bought to form King and Country mobs to attack working class organizations, along with serving as pogrom foot soldiers. Part of that function was superseded by the formation of regular armies of domestic occupation, aka the police. ..."
"... By complicating basic class analysis with an elaborate class structure, with the revolution to be led by a minority of young, educated 'progressive' precariats, he may be setting the stage for fragmentation of the Left, and further massive losses for workers. ..."
"... being drawn into platform capitalism, as 'concierge' or cloud taskers, controlled and manipulated by apps and other labour brokers. Above all, they are being gradually habituated to precariatisation, told to put up with a norm of unstable task-driven bits-and-pieces existence. ..."
"... That passage called to mind the increasing use by universities of adjunct faculty positions, which are the very definition of precarious. In recent days the was a report of the dismissal of tenured faculty by a college in New York State, whose name escapes me. ..."
"... I could see the 'Go Fund Me' phenomena for Medical (or just groceries, etc) costs in this thought:(my bold) ..."
"... Those characteristics are bad enough. But it is the distinctive relations to the state that most define the precariat. The precariat are denizens rather than citizens, meaning that they are losing or not gaining the rights and entitlements of citizens . Above all, they are reduced to being supplicants, dependent on the discretionary benevolence of landlords, employers, parents, charities and strangers, showing them pity. ..."
"... The writer of this article seems to be very optimistic, celebratory even when it comes to the insecurity of the precariat. It isn't difficult to romanticize the power and the potential of people suffering extreme insecurity when your employment and your social status are linked to the privileges of the (Left or Right) political elite ..."
"... Open Democracy is a Soros organ. Which immediately brings to mind the aspect of our precarious position that the author does not address or even allude to: the nexus of financial, media and paramilitary power that is the "Deep State" or the Spook Apparat if you will. ..."
"... Much of what Standing refers to as the Precariat is basically just the Proletariat yet again. ..."
"... Now that I know it's an Open Democracy piece, I suppose that it's meant to soften the blow of prolonged, steep unemployment and to desensitize people to the pain of "doing more with less" (as the tippytopp rakes it in) by calling it an Arts & Leisure Society. ..."
"... I must agree with DJG, Reality Czar's and others similar take. The writer of this article seems to be very optimistic, celebratory even when it comes to the insecurity of the precariat. It isn't difficult to romanticize the power and the potential of people suffering extreme insecurity when your employment and your social status are linked to the privileges of the (Left or Right) political elite, and when you are a (most likely well paid) participant in the current political system, by working closely with the leadership of one of the bigger old political parties while holding positions that come with stable income if not fungible prestige ["Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)]. ..."
"... "a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped" ..."
"... "The other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing." ..."
"... "When the credit ran out, the game stopped" ..."
"... Revolt of the Public ..."
"... Can't Get You Outta My Head ..."
"... Charter for the Precariat ..."
"... "The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers." ..."
"... "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." ..."
"... "The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community" ..."
"... The labourers had before 25 The landlords 25 And the capitalists 50 .. 100 ..."
"... Framing Corbyn's election defeat as a failure to understand the needs of the "Labour" electorate, and hence supporting Standing's premise, whilst totally ignoring the fact that Corbyn was hammered by the powers of the right, BBC, MSM, Israel etc etc is totally disingenuous and seems to me to be a case of very sour grapes. ..."
Mar 09, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: A dense treatment of a subject of burning concern.

By Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). Subjects of recent books include basic income, rentier capitalism and the growing precariat. He is a council member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Open Democracy .

Transformations tend to go through several preliminary phases. In Britain, the 'dis-embedded' phase in the development of industrial capitalism involved the Speenhamland system launched in 1795, the mass enclosures that created a proto-proletariat, and disruption by a technological revolution. All this prompted a period of primitive rebels – those who know what they are against, but not agreed on what they are for – in which protests were mainly against the breakdown of the previous social compact.

Those included the days-of-rage phase that culminated in the mass protest in Peterloo in 1819, brutally suppressed by the state, and the Luddites, misrepresented ever since as being workers intent on smashing machines to halt 'progress', when in fact what they were doing was protesting at the destruction of a way of living and working being done without a quid pro quo.

In my A Precariat Charter written in 2014, sketching a precariat manifesto for today's Global Transformation, I concluded by citing the stanza from Shelley's The Masque of Anarchy , written in reaction to the Peterloo massacre. Jeremy Corbyn was later to cite it in his campaign speech of 2017, which James Schneider recalls in his contribution to this debate . Shelley expressed it in class, not populist terms, as I did, in my case signifying that the precariat was evolving as a class-in-the-making. Corbyn seems to have expressed it in support of a left populism.

Until his drowning at an early age, Shelley along with Byron and other artists of that era, including Mozart, were railing against the bourgeoisie, which is why Mozart and Byron were both drawn to the Don Juan/Don Giovanni theme. The Romantics failed to arrest the march of industrial capitalism but their art put out a marker for the future counter movement.

The UK and 'Decent Labour'

The trouble was that at the time the emerging mass 'working class', the proletariat, had not yet taken shape as a class-for-itself, and was not ready to do so until late in the century. Three other primitive rebel events should be read into the narrative – the pink revolutions of 1848, often called the Springtime of the Peoples, wrongly seen by some at the time as presaging the proletarian revolution, the brave prolonged activities of the Chartists in the 1830s and 1840s, which advanced the cause of political democracy despite defeat, and the upheavals in the 1890s that the left have tended to underplay.

The latter marked an enormous historical error by 'the left'. It is why the term 'dangerous class' was in the sub-title of my The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class , published in early 2011. Although some Marxists have used it to describe the 'lumpen proletariat', the term 'dangerous class' was used in the nineteenth century to describe those who were in neither the bourgeoisie nor the emerging proletariat. They were the craftsmen, artisans, street traders and artists, from whose ranks came the leading figures articulating a version of socialism as rejection of labourism – freedom from labour, freedom to work and to leisure (reviving ideas of ancient Greece, embracing schole ).

In the 1890s, against William Morris and colleagues, including some anarchists, who championed that emancipatory vision, were the labourists, state socialists, Fabians and others who wanted to generalise decent labour. By the turn of the twentieth century, the latter had triumphed and marched forward in labour unions, social democratic parties and Leninism, even though most of the first batch of Labour MPs in 1906, when asked by an enterprising journalist what book had most influenced them, mentioned John Ruskin's Unto This Last , not anything by Karl Marx.

So, we should interpret what Karl Polanyi was to call the Great Transformation as beginning with a period of dis-embeddedness, when the old social formation with its specific systems of regulation, social protection and redistribution was being dismantled mainly by the interests of financial capital, guided by an ideology of laissez-faire liberalism .

This produced growing structural insecurities, inequalities, stress, precarity, technological disruption, debt and ecological destruction, culminating in an era of war, pandemics – most relevantly, the Spanish flu of 1918-1920, which may have killed 50 million people – and the Great Depression.

... ... ...

...Donald Trump epitomised the rentiers; he used anti-establishment rhetoric but jealously preserved and advanced the interests of the rent-seeking plutocracy. He never followed a neo-liberal economic agenda. He stood for mercantilism in foreign economic strategy and for rentiers eager to plunder the commons domestically, while pursuing a pluto-populist fiscal policy. It is better to see his era in Gramscian terms, a malignancy of a class-based system in deepening if not terminal crisis.

... ... ...


Henry Moon Pie , March 9, 2021 at 7:57 am

"For the proletariat, the norm was and is to be in a stable job. There is nothing labourists love more than to have as many people as possible in jobs. They romanticise being in a job, promising Full Employment, and quietly resorting to workfare. They conveniently forget that being in a job is being in a position of subordination and fail to recall Marx's depiction of labour in jobs as 'active alienation'."

Words to consider here at NC.

Anonapet , March 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Yep, large scale wage-slavery is not something to be embraced but something to be abolished.

Indeed, per the Bible, wage-slavery was the EXCEPTION, not the rule, for Hebrews in ancient Israel with roughly equal ownership of the means of production being the rule. Yet this was NOT communism since the means of production were individually owned, and not by the State, which didn't even exist for 400 years or so.

So accepting wage-slavery as some kind of norm is to concede way too much, Biblically speaking.

Henry Moon Pie , March 9, 2021 at 2:01 pm

An "eved" in the Hebrew bible is not really the same thing as a wage slave. The first time slavery is discussed in the Book of the Covenant following the Ten Commandments in Exodus, the only limitation is 7 years. There was no requirement to pay the slave anything. This is modified in the "Second Law" in Deuteronomy where the master is required to pay the slave some compensation upon the end of the 7 years, but not before. And these "eveds" were only the Hebrew slaves. Foreigners (goys) were slaves for life, but since neither Israel nor Judah won many wars, there were probably never that many foreign slaves anyway.

Anonapet , March 9, 2021 at 2:45 pm

I'm using "wage-slavery" in the more general sense that if one does not own assets (impossible for a Hebrew in Israel/Judah for more than 49 years (cf. Leviticus 25)) then one was de facto either a beggar or forced to live as a scavenger in the wilderness OR forced to work for wages.

As for foreign "permanent slaves", this is in conflict with no Hebrew OR CONVERT(?) could be held for more than 6 years as a well-treated indentured servant to be released, well provisioned, in the 7th year. So "permanent slavery" of foreigners was plausibly, imo, a conversion strategy (see Deuteronomy 23:3-7).

Not that the Old Testament is authoritative for Christians since the New Testament but can't we do at least as well wrt economic justice?

Darthbobber , March 9, 2021 at 6:05 pm

Though for most of the 1848-1945 period, its not really true. The proletariat of Capital and Condition of the Working Class in England had an existence as precarious as today's precariat. Indeed, this was one of the things driving the growing militance. There was little in the way of a consumer goods industry selling to proletarians because until quite late in the 19th century the entire wages of all but the skilled and fortunate went for subsistence.

And until after the changes beginning with the New Deal and consolidated in the war and postwar years, the end of a job meant the end of income, period.

hemeantwell , March 9, 2021 at 9:04 am

Lots going on here, as the author recognizes.

One take would be that he underplays the interrelationship of class identity, class aspirations, and class struggle. This comes out most clearly when he makes it seem as though mid-20th c social democracy lost a vision of the future through negligence, rather than running up against resistance from capital that was gradually getting its ideological act together after the fascist period. Strong class identity was contingent on a number of things, but one was maintaining labor militancy, MacAlevey's "strike muscle," and that became increasingly difficult, and not just because labor movement leadership went for business unionism.

The same applies to the present. The author seems hesitant to define what a Labor Vision should be now, and oscillates between UBI and other ideas without directly discussing the intensity of resistance from capital that different programs would set off. He might at least roll in Kalecki, as we so often do here, and with good reason. UBI will bring a very different response compared to demands that threaten to supplant capital's control of investment decisions, the sphere of "management prerogative." And so the author seems to be advocating fresh thinking without directly addressing what stands in its way, both the real threat of intensified class conflict and how that has been "internalized" in various ways over the last 50 or so years.

A side note: my understanding is that classical Marxism's worry about the lumpenproletariat, aka a "reactionary mass," was based on the observation that their services could be bought to form King and Country mobs to attack working class organizations, along with serving as pogrom foot soldiers. Part of that function was superseded by the formation of regular armies of domestic occupation, aka the police.

John Steinbach , March 9, 2021 at 9:33 am

There is much substance here but it seems that Standing ignores the elephant in the room -- the role that the age of limits (resource, environmental/climate change, economic/financial ) plays in the emergence of an era of rentier capitalism.

He says: "Reinventing the future, in class terms, has always been the primary task of 'the left'." But he is quick to condemn "phoney dualism of crude populism of 'the people' versus 'the elite'".

By complicating basic class analysis with an elaborate class structure, with the revolution to be led by a minority of young, educated 'progressive' precariats, he may be setting the stage for fragmentation of the Left, and further massive losses for workers.

tegnost , March 9, 2021 at 9:43 am

being drawn into platform capitalism, as 'concierge' or cloud taskers, controlled and manipulated by apps and other labour brokers. Above all, they are being gradually habituated to precariatisation, told to put up with a norm of unstable task-driven bits-and-pieces existence.

This is a great framing of the hoped for (by the technologists)labor contract

John , March 9, 2021 at 9:59 am

That passage called to mind the increasing use by universities of adjunct faculty positions, which are the very definition of precarious. In recent days the was a report of the dismissal of tenured faculty by a college in New York State, whose name escapes me.

Proposition 22(?) in California epitomizes precarity.

Rod , March 9, 2021 at 9:53 am

Quit a lot to think on here, and presented pretty clearly. De-stranding is a part of understanding (and understanding being part of good progress)

I could see the 'Go Fund Me' phenomena for Medical (or just groceries, etc) costs in this thought:(my bold)

Those characteristics are bad enough. But it is the distinctive relations to the state that most define the precariat. The precariat are denizens rather than citizens, meaning that they are losing or not gaining the rights and entitlements of citizens . Above all, they are reduced to being supplicants, dependent on the discretionary benevolence of landlords, employers, parents, charities and strangers, showing them pity.

DJG, Reality Czar , March 9, 2021 at 9:55 am

Much of this essay seems like a good diagnosis, although, after a certain point, I began to mistrust the foundations of the analysis. And there is this: "So when it came to framing a Precariat Charter, it seemed appropriate to take as a guiding principle the adage of Aristotle that only the insecure man is free. That means we must not be stuck in the old sense of security, even though it is a human need to enjoy basic security."

The author is fudging. Aristotle was writing about a stratified society in which there were many slaves (and, yes, Mediterranean slavery was different from the Anglo-American version). The ideal was the life of leisure (scholē), which was a kind of contemplation of how to act (but untroubled by having to work, which is a distraction). The "insecure" man was either Diogenes (who was unique) or a prosperous citizen with property.

We simply don't live in that kind of society. Yet the author keeps making the mistake of describing "labourists" and their supposedly antiquated ideas about unions and the organization of the workplace as all wet.

Current labor unrest in the U S of A indicates otherwise. Further, I happened to listened to some deeper analysis of the recent events at Smith College, and the NYTimes writer, Powell, pointed out how much unions shape attitudes (including eliminating racism), offer real protections, and teach the value of concerted action.

People like Standing, because of his position in society, can be blithe about being precarious. It is indeed a "philosophical" issue for them. Yet the current Draghi government in Italy has several members who want to remove labor protections and make more Italians precarious. Everyone will live the glory of being a U.S. style at-will employee. Hmmm. I wonder why this project still goes on among the powerful.

DJ Forestree , March 9, 2021 at 8:13 pm

I must agree with DJG, Reality Czar's take here.

The writer of this article seems to be very optimistic, celebratory even when it comes to the insecurity of the precariat. It isn't difficult to romanticize the power and the potential of people suffering extreme insecurity when your employment and your social status are linked to the privileges of the (Left or Right) political elite, and when you are a (most likely well paid) participant in the current political system, by working closely with the leadership of one of the largest old political parties, while holding positions that come with stable income if not fungible prestige ["Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)].

The author acknowledges that a simplistic, not multidimensional understanding of class is pseudo-Marxist; why not then go back to the original texts and review the writings of Marx, Engels, Gramsci et al in order to update the concept of class, perhaps broadening what being "working class" means today?

Why not trying to organize the workers, those who are precariat and those who aren't, around the goal of "reinventing the future in class terms", as he puts it?

How will the precariat advance its own sociopolitical goals now (as "a class-in-the-making") and later (as "a class-for-itself)"? Will it be capable of exerting any pressure and of promote real transformations without unions and without political parties?

The Trees , March 9, 2021 at 10:15 am

The default arrangement for human intercourse is some sort of feudalism. Regardless of best intended efforts to midwife a kinder gentler world, some sort of feudal hierarchic death-wish inheres in all social efforts. It seems woven into our humanity.

Hayek's Heelbiter , March 9, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Aboriginal hunter gatherers have managed to maintain a continuous non-feudal culture, even now, for approximately 50,000 years. Perhaps the precariat are heading that way?

False Solace , March 9, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Agreeing with Heelbiter, feudal hierarchies only emerge when there's a surplus that can be stolen, which tempts people with power (strongmen + sycophants) to keep it for themselves. Remove either the surplus or the agreement to steal, it's not at all universal.

Mansoor H. Khan , March 9, 2021 at 9:01 pm

strongmen + sycophants only?

Surplus also creates lasting valuable institutions which create huge social good (like Universities, Court systems, School systems, Regulatory oversight of the private sector, etc.).

Naked Capitalism commentators don't have a concept of hierarchical nature of talents which humans have. Meaning, there are super producer humans in any field of human endeavor: sports, music, arts, mathematics, sciences, film stars, singers, painters, etc.

Why would you not expect super producer humans in economic realm (business world)?

The talent spectrum is very wide and desire and ability to take risks for a possible "first mover advantage in business" that some humans go after.

Even luck (right place at the right time) requires the ability, desire and eye to recognize talents in other humans to create a high powered team which creates truly outsized results.

Talents of some humans is thousands of times the talents of more average humans.

Our job (democracy's job) is to get the most out of them. And I don't mean tax them a lot. I mean channel their energies in such a way through appropriate rules (laws) so they contribute outsized social good.

Mansoor

jsn , March 10, 2021 at 8:26 am

And yet in actual, existing polities for as long as records have been kept, there's a tendency for those with "thousand times the talents" to make off with all the surplus. Leading to, "The default arrangement for human intercourse is some sort of feudalism. Regardless of best intended efforts to midwife a kinder gentler world, some sort of feudal hierarchic death-wish inheres in all social efforts. It seems woven into our humanity."

It appears to be the structural force of "surplus" that engages our social heuristics into self defeating and brutal heirarchies. I'm with HH & FS that the track record of egalitarianism is a great deal longer than that of material heirarchy and hasn't anywhere threatened the ecosystems on which all life depends.

Not saying we can get out of our exploitative and self destructive rut, but that this condition is no more essential to our nature than egalitarianism.

tegnost , March 10, 2021 at 9:33 am

Your super producers "talent" is making money, not producing things or goods, and right behind all of your "there are super producer humans in any field of human endeavor: sports, music, arts, mathematics, sciences, film stars, singers, painters, etc." all are the face of a machine in the background with some unknowable tech tracking selling data collecting those are your actual producers but that isn't good pr, we're great at tracking people, we produce surveillance and sell people things they don't need and support disintegrating institutions in order to undermine your quote here
"Surplus also creates lasting valuable institutions which create huge social good (like Universities, Court systems, School systems, Regulatory oversight of the private sector, etc.)."

All of these things are being disintegrated for the benefit of your "super producer" BS as we speak. Maybe it's not the NC commentariat that has an understanding problem.

I think as far as the religious " concept of hierarchical nature of talents " I think the essential workers proved who they are over the pandemic, they're the ones who had to face risk, grocery workers, garbage collectors etc I doubt these people are very high up in your hierarchy.

fwe'theewell , March 10, 2021 at 11:44 am

We don't have a concept of it? Human capital theory has already been addressed here.

https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2021/01/14/the-rise-of-human-capital-theory/

Mansoor H. Khan , March 10, 2021 at 1:39 pm

snippet from the linked article:

"If human capital theory someday becomes the fly on the power-theory-of-income elephant, it would signal not only a scientific revolution, but also a social one. I doubt I'll live to see it happen. And if I do, I have no idea what type of society would emerge from the other side."

"power-theory-of-income elephant" .You really believe this?

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , March 9, 2021 at 11:47 am

Open Democracy is a Soros organ. Which immediately brings to mind the aspect of our precarious position that the author does not address or even allude to: the nexus of financial, media and paramilitary power that is the "Deep State" or the Spook Apparat if you will.

Having a token whack at 'atavist' populism is just 'Basket of Deplorables' put another way. The author is deeply tied to the technocratic set and the slant is clear enough. The constant manipulation through fear-based stochastic 'war' efforts: War on Terror, War on COVID. Always some empty and obviously fake rallying point. UBI sounds like a sensible solution if we lived in the Jetsons future the Great Reset promises. But Klaus Schwab is no Bucky Fuller. Gates, Soros and Schwab are just investors. Investors with the power to manipulate the markets. Heads they win. Tails you lose.

To them, a guy like Trump is just the last echo of the Industrial age and the installation of a senile grifter the triumph of the technocracy, shielded by the CIA and MI5/6. These spy organizations were always private companies.

CIA was built by Wall Street and British Intelligence is an arm of the British monarchy and has never been accountable to the public. A realignment is definitely taking place. Behind the curtain. Challenging the old guard is the nexus of more openly private intelligence organizations like that of Erik Prince and computer oligarchs like Thiel and Mercer. This is exactly who put Trump over.

Susan the other , March 9, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Good summary of the evolution and status quo of liberalism. Liberalism being capitalism. And capitalism being profit. So there's a conundrum: The "strange death of populism" does not equate with some strange death of survival. Survival is always with us. There were atavists seeking out remote caves even during the agricultural revolution. Maybe even George Soros' ancient ancestors; the stone age bond vigilantes.

The underlying argument here by Standing seems to be for a Basic Income. Which is OK, but maybe ahead of its time. A jobs guarantee is a better option because there is so much work to be done that can be done best by humans it's just that none of them are profit making. That's the problem with all this political (aka economic) analysis. Because, for one thing, who is gonna clean the latrines? Yes, of course robots are. So then who is gonna arbitrage the robots? Who is monitoring the protection of the environment for fraud and graft? All of that will be necessary to ensure nobody is profiteering and polluting in a non-capitalist world. Labor was actually the best defense against rampant profiteering, because it was labor that was always exploited, so what will replace it? We should stick with a jobs guarantee for now. A better analysis at this point in time is not how do we live with the ruins of neoliberalism, but how do we live, equitably, without profit? It will take a while to figure that out. Clearly we'll live by fiat, but it will have to be controlled as well. I'd just say that if the Precariat is condescendingly guaranteed a "basic income" so should the rest of society be. That controls everyone. And protects the environment, and stays focused on all the things that are now imperative.

dummy , March 9, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Good investment and growth are definable as whatever investment and growth would remain if all artificial stimulants by the government and economists were removed. The ordinary liberal is usually several steps removed from real life. That is how he can be so foolish.

He is almost always either wealthy, or academic, or artistic, or political, or in some other way has escaped from the need to do productive work for a living.

flora , March 9, 2021 at 5:40 pm

It's just really weird seeing a 'left' site conflate 'populism' with 'rightism'. As in, "representing the economically hurting bottom of 50-90% of voters is bad (because the poor, the struggling working class, and the precarious middle class peoples are obviously morally suspect – or so saith the economic elites. / heh)." No. That's the elite's take on populism. It isn't the populists' history and political stance. It's almost like reading the elite's dictating what the bottom 50% economic polity must agree to. (As if the top 50% (or 1%) don't have an economic interest in guiding the bottom 50%'s away from their own economic interest. /heh )

Krystal Kyle & Friends | Thomas Frank

https://youtu.be/eLHZAGBnUhU?t=680

jsn , March 10, 2021 at 8:33 am

I didn't get that, maybe I'll re-read when I have a minute.

What I got was dissaggregating the struggling class into groups with common experience and history resulting in what the author called "reactionary" and I think you are calling 'rightism'.

The basic message I got was the left can no more restore that past than can the right and when it tries it ends up bolstering the right by accident.

Darthbobber , March 9, 2021 at 7:17 pm

Much of what Standing refers to as the Precariat is basically just the Proletariat yet again. But coming to the fore in a period resembling the Victorian era in terms of security more than it resembles the short-lived triumphal period of postwar welfare state, Keynesian, social democratic capitalism.

fwe'theewell , March 9, 2021 at 8:04 pm

I think he wants to expand the definitions of work and "productivity," maybe challenging the labor theory of value, etc. This piece reminded me of David Graeber in that respect.

Now that I know it's an Open Democracy piece, I suppose that it's meant to soften the blow of prolonged, steep unemployment and to desensitize people to the pain of "doing more with less" (as the tippytopp rakes it in) by calling it an Arts & Leisure Society. UBI is a lubricant for privatization, although I did notice and appreciate Standing's mention of the commons.

DJ Forestree , March 9, 2021 at 8:34 pm

I must agree with DJG, Reality Czar's and others similar take. The writer of this article seems to be very optimistic, celebratory even when it comes to the insecurity of the precariat. It isn't difficult to romanticize the power and the potential of people suffering extreme insecurity when your employment and your social status are linked to the privileges of the (Left or Right) political elite, and when you are a (most likely well paid) participant in the current political system, by working closely with the leadership of one of the bigger old political parties while holding positions that come with stable income if not fungible prestige ["Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and co-founder and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)].

The author acknowledges that a simplistic, not multidimensional understanding of class is pseudo-Marxist; why not then go back to the original texts and review the writings of Marx, Engels, Gramsci et al in order to update the concept of class, perhaps broadening what being "working class" means today? Why not trying to organize the workers, those who are precariat and those who aren't, around the goal of "reinventing the future in class terms", as he puts it? Will the precariat succeed in advancing its sociopolitical goals as a class ("a class-in-the-making" or "a class-for-itself") outside of organized structures like unions and political parties (not necessarily the existing, often compromised ones)?

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:33 am

What has happened to inequality? Pretty much what you would expect really.

Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.
"a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped"

With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top. A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt. Wealth concentrates until the system collapses.

What could they do? Keynes added some redistribution to stop all the wealth concentrating at the top, and developed nations formed a strong healthy middle class.

The neoliberals removed the redistribution. With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top. A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt. Wealth concentrates until the system collapses.

"The other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing." Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48
Your wages aren't high enough, have a Payday loan.
You need a house, have a sub-prime mortgage.
You need a car, have a sub-prime auto loan.
You need a good education, have a student loan.
Still not getting by? Load up on credit cards.
"When the credit ran out, the game stopped" Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:34 am

Oh yes, I remember now, it was Keynesian capitalism that won the battle against Russian communism. The Americans could clearly demonstrate the average American was much better off than their Russian counterparts.

Today's opioid addicted specimens might have struggled.

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:42 am

The arc of progress isn't supposed to look like a U-turn. You are supposed to keep moving forwards. After the Keynesian era we went back to what had preceded it.

After a few decades of Keynesian, demand side economics, the system became supply side constrained. Too much demand and not enough supply causes inflation. Neoclassical, supply side economics should be just the ticket to get things moving again. It does, but it's got the same problems it's always had.

kramshaw , March 10, 2021 at 11:15 am

I found this article massively interesting and relevant, especially at the same time that I'm trying to process Martin Gurri's Revolt of the Public and Adam Curtis' new documentary Can't Get You Outta My Head . My take is that all of them are professing a sort of political realism that is opposed to what they identify as magical thinking on the left, and that's how I take Standing's critique of left populism.

But more importantly, I want to share a few other related resources that I found as I was digging into this more. First, Standing has a few TED talks, and this one from 2016 helped me to understand this article better.

Also, Standing's Charter for the Precariat (linked differently in the article) is currently available on Bloomsbury open access, so you can actually download chapter pdfs of it for free with no login.

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:13 pm

What is the problem with the class system?

Mankind first started to produce a surplus with early agriculture. It wasn't long before the elites learnt how to read the skies, the sun and the stars, to predict the coming seasons to the amazed masses and collect tribute.

They soon made the most of the opportunity and removed themselves from any hard work to concentrate on "spiritual matters", i.e. any hocus-pocus they could come up with to elevate them from the masses, e.g. rituals, fertility rights, offering to the gods . etc and to turn the initially small tributes, into extracting all the surplus created by the hard work of the rest.

The elites became the representatives of the gods and they were responsible for the bounty of the earth and the harvests. As long as all the surplus was handed over, all would be well.

The class structure emerges.

Their techniques have got more sophisticated over time, but this is the underlying idea. They have achieved an inversion, and got most of the rewards going to those that don't really do anything.

Everything had worked well for 5,000 years as no one knew what was really going on. The last thing they needed was "The Enlightenment" as people would work out what was really going on. They did work out what was going on and this had to be hidden again.

The Classical Economists had a quick look around and noticed the aristocracy were maintained in luxury and leisure by the hard work of everyone else. They haven't done anything economically productive for centuries, they couldn't miss it. The Classical economist, Adam Smith:

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

There was no benefits system in those days, and if those at the bottom didn't work they died. They had to earn money to live. The classical economists could never imagine those at the bottom rising out of a bare subsistence existence as that was the way it had always been.

The classical economists identified the constructive "earned" income and the parasitic "unearned" income. Most of the people at the top lived off the parasitic "unearned" income and they now had a big problem. (Upper class – Do as little as they can get away with and get most of the rewards)

This problem was solved with neoclassical economics, which hides this distinction. It confuses making money and creating wealth so all rich people look good. If you know what real wealth creation is, you will realise many at the top don't create any wealth.

Can you believe Adam Smith said this?

"All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."

The classical economists, Adam Smith and Ricardo, are not what you might expect.

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:21 pm

We got some stuff from Ricardo, like the law of comparative advantage. What's gone missing? Ricardo was part of the new capitalist class, and the old landowning class were a huge problem with their rents that had to be paid both directly and through wages.

"The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community" Ricardo 1815 / Classical Economist

What does our man on free trade, Ricardo, mean?

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
Employees get their money from wages and the employers pay the cost of living through wages, reducing profit.
Employees get less disposable income after the landlords rent has gone.
Employers have to cover the landlord's rents in wages reducing profit.
Ricardo is just talking about housing costs, employees all rented in those days.
Low housing costs work best for employers and employees.

In Ricardo's world there were three classes. He was in the capitalist class. The more he paid in labour costs (wages) the lower his profits would be. He was paying the cost of living for his workers through wages, and the higher that was, the higher labour costs would be. There was no benefits system in those days and those at the bottom needed to earn money to cover the cost of living otherwise they would die. They had to earn their money through wages. The more he paid in rents to the old landowning class, the less there would be for him to keep for himself.

From Ricardo:
The labourers had before 25
The landlords 25
And the capitalists 50
.. 100

He looked at how the pie got divided between the three groups.

There were three groups in the capitalist system in Ricardo's world (and there still are).

The unproductive group exists at the top of society, not the bottom. Later on we did bolt on a benefit system to help others that were struggling lower down the scale. Classical economics, it's not what you think.

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s

He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years. Small state, unregulated capitalism was where it all started and it's rather different to today's expectations.

Sound of the Suburbs , March 10, 2021 at 2:37 pm

When we actually start talking about creating wealth, rather than making money, the rentiers are exposed for the parasites they are.

topcat , March 10, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Framing Corbyn's election defeat as a failure to understand the needs of the "Labour" electorate, and hence supporting Standing's premise, whilst totally ignoring the fact that Corbyn was hammered by the powers of the right, BBC, MSM, Israel etc etc is totally disingenuous and seems to me to be a case of very sour grapes.

The fact that the basic income was not implemented doesn't mean much given that there are many on all sides of the debate who do not agree with the idea. I think Standing is just pissed off because no one listened to him.

[Mar 12, 2021] Under neoliberalism what replaces a nation is often referred to as a "colony", where most of the inhabitants are no longer "citizens" but "natives" who can be exploited at will

Mar 12, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SufferinSuccotash , March 11, 2021 at 7:57 am

What the proponents of the neo-liberal dispensation have not advertised, if indeed they even know, is what replaces the 'nation?'
What replaces a nation is often referred to as a "colony", where most of the inhabitants are no longer "citizens" but "natives" who can be exploited at will.

chuck roast , March 11, 2021 at 10:23 am

American unions pathetic, absolutely pathetic! We have been hearing this very same winging from them for 50 years. Then they, universally, go out and support the glad handing politicians who do a few rounds of golf with the their bosses and a few more jobs are lost. Mention to them that maybe they would have a bit more job security if owned their factories and work places, and watch the smoke start to rise from their collective heads. A hundred years ago you could have sat in a bar, discussed workers owning the means of production and the beers would have kept magically appearing in front of you. We are a long, long way from Flint.

The limited successes of the old trade unions in the US have been their undoing. If only because they always had, and continue to have, limited vision. They all think that they have scored major victories if they squeeze another dime out of the bosses. According to this union VP "We're at the mercy of whoever is supplying us." The guy is an idiot. He and his cohort are at the mercy of their bosses, and they will always be at the mercy of their bosses until they become their own bosses. Pathetic!

Starry Gordon , March 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

I thought Mr. Conway's connection of domestic manufacturing with war and imperialism, a.k.a. 'national security', was pretty obvious. 'War is the health of the state.' However, I suppose one might say that the American state now includes Japan. God, yes, we need more and more 'airplanes, munitions, satellites, civilian jetliners' and so on, and more reasons to keep armies in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and also so on, till the end of the world.

Phlip , March 12, 2021 at 5:06 am

Well yes, but the opposite also applies. If you have a self sufficient economy you don't have to get involved in wars on the other side of the planet because that's where "your" energy, raw materials, finance, food, key manufactured goods etc come from. The US did not have to get involved in either WW1 or WW2 for economic reasons, it was nearly self sufficient at that time. That is not the case today, hence the fore-ever wars in the middle east, and military bases scattered as confetti around the globe. Did America have to globalise its economy? No, but the wind fall profits (initially) that could be reaped from doing so could not be resisted by America's elites. The problem now is that America's economy has now been so gutted that it cannot function without globalisation, which will bankrupt it further. However look on the bright side, America's elites have never been so despised and hate in their history. And nobody expects them to change, because they have not changed for 50 years. People are now figuring out that they have to change things themselves. Expect fireworks.

Steven , March 11, 2021 at 11:51 am

Michael Hudson (of course!) has the first and last word on this. The general principle at work here is that U.S. industry and jobs must be off-shored so Wall Street and Washington politicians can create more debt – IOW keep Super (monetary) Imperialism going. The US is the world's leader in manufacturing DEBT not the wealth that really matters in today's world.

Michaelmas , March 11, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Yes. Regrettably, the article above is whistling past the graveyard, and I too thought of Hudson's analysis and shook my head as I read it.

If money is created as credit -- and it is -- and every notional dollar of credit has an obverse side of debt -- and it does -- then for the U.S. to be the Richest Country In The World™ and have an elite with so many multibillionaires, there must be debt on the the other side of all those notional dollars the elite have created for themselves.

Debt requires debtors.

Chris Herbert , March 11, 2021 at 3:39 pm

You might familiarize yourself with how the national government funds its spending. It creates new dollars every time it pays a bill. No debt required. So why do we have all this public debt if it was unnecessary to begin with? It lines the pockets of the One Percent who buy the safest bonds in the world to insure their immense fortunes. It's a subsidy. The rich have the best socialism in the world. Right here in the USA.

steven , March 11, 2021 at 4:24 pm

This issue has very little if any relationship to "how the national government funds its spending" or any of the other nominally 'conservative' debt bugbears. Those "safest bonds in the world" would not insure squat if US debt wasn't backed by the US military and threats to bomb any country that refuses to accept more of it back into the stone age. As Minsky wrote "Any (economic) unit can create money. The problem is getting it accepted."

The world is being destroyed environmentally as well as militarily because the world's one percent can think of no better alternative than allowing the US to continue creating debt, destruction and death so they can – as Trump put it – "keep score" with each other in the game to see who can accumulate the most unpayable debt.

To paraphrase Woody Allen (or somebody) the US is allowed to continue creating debt because the world's One Percent needs the money to continue playing their game.

[Jan 29, 2021] The Coming Revolt Of The Middle Class - ZeroHedge

Jan 29, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

he Great American Middle Class has stood meekly by while the New Nobility stripmined $50 trillion from the middle and working classes. As this RAND report documents, $50 trillion has been siphoned from labor and the lower 90% of the workforce to the New Nobility and their technocrat lackeys who own the vast majority of the capital: Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018 .

Why has the Great American Middle Class meekly accepted their new role as debt-serfs and powerless peasants in a Neofeudal Economy ruled by the New Nobility of Big Tech / monopolies / cartels / financiers? The basic answer is the New Nobility's PR has been so persuasive and ubiquitous: soaring inequality and Neofeudalism has nothing to do with us, it's just the natural result of technology and globalization--forces nobody can resist. Sorry about your debt-serfdom, but hey, your student loan payment is overdue, so it's the rack for you.

The recent Foreign Affairs article referenced here last week Monopoly Versus Democracy (paywalled) describes the net result of the economic propaganda that the stripmining of the working and middle classes was ordained and irresistible: Today, Americans tend to see grotesque accumulations of wealth and power as normal. That's how far we've fallen:

"As the journalist Barry Lynn points out in his book Liberty from All Masters: The New American Autocracy vs. the Will of the People , the robber barons shared with today's high-tech monopolists a strategy of encouraging people to see immense inequality as a tragic but unavoidable consequence of capitalism and technological change. But as Lynn shows, one of the main differences between then and now is that, compared to today, fewer Americans accepted such rationalizations during the Gilded Age. Today, Americans tend to see grotesque accumulations of wealth and power as normal. Back then, a critical mass of Americans refused to do so, and they waged a decades-long fight for a fair and democratic society." (emphasis added)

The bottom 90% of the U.S. economy has been decapitalized : debt has been substituted for capital . Capital only flows into the increasingly centralized top tier, which owns and profits from the rising tide of debt that's been keeping the bottom 90% afloat for the past 20 years.

As I've often observed here, globalization and financialization have richly rewarded the top 0.1% and the top 5% technocrat class that serves the New Nobility's interests. Everyone else has been been reduced to debt-serfs and peasants who now rely on lotteries and luck to get ahead: playing the stock market casino or hoping their mortgaged house in an urban sprawl on the Left or Right coasts doubles in value, even as the entire value proposition for living in a congested urban sprawl vanishes.

America has no plan to reverse this destructive tide of Neofeudal Pillage. Our leadership's "plan" is benign neglect : just send a monthly stipend of bread and circuses (the technocrat term is Universal Basic Income UBI) to all the disempowered, decapitalized households, urban and rural, so they can stay out of trouble and not bother the New Nobility's pillaging of America and the planet.

There's a lot of bright and shiny PR about rebuilding infrastructure and the Green New Deal, but our first question must always be: cui bono , to whose benefit? How much of the spending will actually be devoted to changing the rising imbalances between the haves and the have-nots, the ever-richer who profit from rising debt and the ever more decapitalized debt-serfs who are further impoverished by rising debt?

As I explain in my book A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet , people don't want to just get by on UBI , they want an opportunity to acquire capital in all its forms, an opportunity to contribute to their communities, to make a difference, to earn respect and pride.

That our "leadership" reckons bread and circuses is what the stripmined bottom 90% want is beyond pathetic. The middle class has meekly accepted the self-serving claim of the New Nobility that the $50 trillion transfer of wealth was inevitable and beyond human intervention. But once the stock market and housing casinos collapse, the last bridge to getting ahead--high-risk gambling-- will fall into the abyss, and the middle class will have to face their servitude and powerlessness.

That's how Neofeudal systems collapse: the tax donkeys and debt-serfs finally revolt and start demanding the $50 trillion river of capital take a new course.

* * *

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LetThemEatRand 4 hours ago (Edited)

In the last month or so, they have stopped even trying to hide that:

1) the internet is rigged (free speech only for those who say what is approved narrative),

2) elections are rigged (they openly admit that "all elections have fraud," and the defending point is that there isn't enough fraud to change the result, or so they say without investigation);

3) the government is rigged (lots of debate about whether to send a few bucks to people forced out of work by COVID restrictions, no debate needed on how much to give banks and defense contractors); and now

4) the markets are rigged (if you figure out a way to beat Wall Street, we simply change the rules).

Most Americans already knew these things, but felt vaguely conspiratorial in thinking so. TPTB no longer care what we think or what we know. They are taking down the curtains. They own this place and if we don't like it and even talk about doing something about it, then they will label you a terrorist and it's off to Gitmo with you.

Dear Old Hedge 2 hours ago

"That's how Neofeudal systems collapse: the tax donkeys and debt-serfs finally rebel and start demanding the $50 trillion river of capital take a new course."

Unlocking the Planet - Catherine Austin Fitts on The Corbett Report https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9sK3rRyoQ4 (34 min)

(Or if YouTube nixes it) https://www.bitchute.com/video/guMKGKKZ5WfW/

notfeelinthebern 4 hours ago (Edited)

Most of the middle class is now run by .Gov employees who are members of big unions. They will never revolt - they got it to good. Most are Feminazi's who vote Demshevik. & DFL.

The image above is really their cross and angry husbands who are now powerless.

LetThemEatRand 4 hours ago (Edited)

By design, and the classic model of feudalism. It's why places like present day China or North Korea have such a huge military and government sector. It's why the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gives just enough to its citizens that they are comfortable. It's why Rome held together for as long as it did. Many other examples. Feudalism is the natural order of things according to history. We have been living through an anomaly that TPTB intend to fix.

NoDebt 3 hours ago

globalization and financialization have richly rewarded the top 0.1% and the top 5% technocrat class that serves the New Nobility's interests

Like I've said before, "Small number of rich, large number of poor and just enough middle class to service the rich. As most societies have been throughout most of human history. The 20th century in the US was the anomaly, not the norm."

sgt_doom 1 hour ago remove link

ROFL --- pressure "elected officials" from rigged elections!

You funny . . . .

Whenwas the last time an electsd official responded to me?

Oh yeah, Sen. Canteell about 14 years ago say that she would continue to support the offshoring of the American medica industry along with the Gates Foundation.

SDShack 13 minutes ago

I've been saying it for YEARS here. New Feudal World Order has been the design all along. People are finally starting to understand. The solution was always Drone Davos.

chunga 4 hours ago

The battle between capital and labor has been a complete wipeout, made possible by mountains of pure, solid fraud.

daveO 4 hours ago

It was benign neglect 30 years ago! It's been active destruction since China's admittance into the WTO with the help of the Clintons.

Mamachief 3 hours ago

David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger.

When Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller met with Zhou Enlai in China in 1973 -- just after President Richard Nixon had visited China establishing official relations -- an understanding was reached whereby the U.S. would supply industrial capital and know-how to China.

BEMUSED-CONFUSED 1 hour ago

And Nixon never realized that he sold out the US.

George Bayou 4 hours ago

Why has the Great American Middle Class meekly accepted their new role as debt-serfs and powerless peasants in a Neofeudal Economy ruled by the New Nobility of Big Tech / monopolies / cartels / financiers?

I'll tell you why, people don't realize what goes on behind the scenes because they are so far removed from it and the big corps and politicians keep it that way.

If you don't know you're getting screwed, then you can't fight it.

austinmilbarge 4 hours ago

Most US citizens are debt slaves. Miss one paycheck and it's lights out. They don't have time to keep up with how Wall Street cheats.

My Days Are Getting Fewer 2 hours ago

I used to subscribe to the author. No longer do so. Charles, stop writing and get a job or invest in a business.

The headline is false. The Middle Class will not revolt. And, as a group, it no longer exists.

I am baffled by the understanding that there are no super-rich people, who give a damn about the destruction of their Country. My grandchildren and their kids will never enjoy the fundamental freedoms that I knew growing up in high school in the 1950s and maturing in the 1960s through 2000.

In the last 20 years, everything, that was held sacred in this Country, has been uprooted. Fraud rules, with decency be damned.

I got more than enough money and 30 more years at best.

Money is not a substitute for freedom.

Only hopeless persons will undertake corrective action.

Cloud9.5 3 hours ago

The middle class works for government. They are cops, teachers, code enforcement officers, judges. The list goes on and on. The entrepreneur middle class has been put out of business.

Wayne 2 hours ago

Dear Charles,

I am in the smallest room in the house. Your clickbait book promo is in front of me. Soon, it shall be behind me.

A few words of advice, if I may (and even if I may not, I'm going to anyhow):

Do not use words you found in a thesaurus in book titles.

teleology

[ˌtelēˈäləjē, ˌtēlēˈäləjē]

NOUN

  1. philosophy

    the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.

    • theology

      the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

Just makes you look like a pompous, officious, condescending ***.

Oh, that's right, you are.

Like Klaus Schwaub's little treatise, COVID-19 The Great Reset , your book is probably not wroth reading and should not have been written. There is such a thing in this world as masturbating, but you and Klaus should stroke your little peenees to **** instead of stroking your egos with the English language.

Nobody actually needs to know what you think about anything. You could make the world a better place by driving an Uber, growing guavas, or praying.

Thanks for playing, but the pleas for you to stop are growing louder.

Regards,

Mom

[Jan 29, 2021] Deaths of Despair and the Incidence of Excess Mortality in 2020

Notable quotes:
"... By Casey Mulligan, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago and former Chief Economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some worry that 'the cure is worse than the disease' and these measures may lead to an increase in deaths of despair. Using data from the US, this column estimates how many non-COVID-19 excess deaths have occurred during the pandemic. Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds the total of official COVID-19 deaths and a normal number of deaths from other causes. Certain characteristics suggest the excess are deaths of despair. Social isolation may be part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair; further studies are needed to show if that is the case and how. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
Jan 29, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. While this paper does a good job of compiling and analyzing data about Covid deaths and excess mortality, and speculating about deaths of despair, I find one of its assumptions to be odd. It sees Covid-related deaths of despair as mainly the result of isolation. In the US, I would hazard that economic desperation is likely a significant factor. Think of the people who had successful or at least viable service businesses: hair stylists, personal trainers, caterers, conference organizers. One friend had a very successful business training and rehabbing pro and Olympic athletes. They've gone from pretty to very well situated to frantic about how they will get by.

While Mulligan does mention loss of income in passing in the end, it seems the more devastating but harder to measure damage is loss of livelihood, thinking that your way of earning a living might never come back to anything dimly approaching the old normal. Another catastrophic loss would be the possibility of winding up homeless, particularly for those who'd never faced that risk before.

By Casey Mulligan, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago and former Chief Economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Originally published at VoxEU

The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some worry that 'the cure is worse than the disease' and these measures may lead to an increase in deaths of despair. Using data from the US, this column estimates how many non-COVID-19 excess deaths have occurred during the pandemic. Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds the total of official COVID-19 deaths and a normal number of deaths from other causes. Certain characteristics suggest the excess are deaths of despair. Social isolation may be part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair; further studies are needed to show if that is the case and how.

The spread of COVID-19 in the US has prompted extraordinary, although often untested, steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some have worried that 'the cure is worse than the disease'. Economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton mocked such worries as a "pet theory about the fatal dangers of quarantine". They concluded in the summer of 2020 that "a wave of deaths of despair is highly unlikely" because, they said, the duration of a pandemic is measured in months whereas the underlying causes of drug abuse and suicide take many years to accumulate (Case and Deaton 2020). With the extraordinary social distancing continuing and mortality data accumulating, now is a good time to estimate the number of deaths of despair and their incidence.

As a theoretical matter, I am not confident that demand and supply conditions were even approximately constant as the country went into a pandemic recession. Take the demand and supply for non-medical opioid use, which before 2020 accounted for the majority of deaths of despair. 1 I acknowledge that the correlation between opioid fatalities and the unemployment rate has been only weakly positive (Council of Economic Advisers February 2020, Ruhm 2019). However, in previous recessions, the income of the unemployed and the nation generally fell.

In this recession, personal income increased record amounts while the majority of the unemployed received more income than they did when they were working (Congressional Budget Office 2020). 2 Whereas alcohol and drug abuse can occur in isolation, many normal, non-lethal consumption opportunities disappeared as the population socially distanced. Patients suffering pain may have less access to physical therapy during a pandemic.

On the supply side, social distancing may affect the production of safety. 3 A person who overdoses on opioids has a better chance of survival if the overdose event is observed contemporaneously by a person nearby who can administer treatment or call paramedics. 4 Socially distanced physicians may be more willing to grant opioid prescriptions over the phone rather than insist on an office visit. Although supply interruptions on the southern border may raise the price of heroin and fentanyl, the market may respond by mixing heroin with more fentanyl and other additives that make each consumption episode more dangerous (Mulligan 2020a, Wan and Long 2020).

Mortality is part of the full price of opioid consumption and therefore a breakdown in safety production may by itself reduce the quantity consumed but nonetheless increase mortality per capita as long as the demand for opioids is price inelastic. I emphasise that these theoretical hypotheses about opioid markets in 2020 are not yet tested empirically. My point is that mortality measurement is needed because the potential for extraordinary changes is real.

The Multiple Cause of Death Files (National Center for Health Statistics 1999–2018) contain information from all death certificates in the US and would be especially valuable for measuring causes of mortality in 2020. However, the public 2020 edition of those files is not expected until early 2022. For the time being, my recent study (Mulligan 2020b) used the 2015–2018 files to project the normal number of 2020 deaths, absent a pandemic.

'Excess deaths' are defined to be actual deaths minus projected deaths. Included in the projections, and therefore excluded from excess deaths, are some year-over-year increases in drug overdoses because they had been trending up in recent years, especially among working-age men, as illicit fentanyl diffused across the country.

I measure actual COVID-19 deaths and deaths from all causes from a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) file for 2020 that begins in week five (the week beginning 26 January 2020) and aggregates to week, sex, and eleven age groups. To minimise underreporting, I only use the data in this file through week 40 (the week ending 3 October). In separate analyses, I also use medical examiner data from Cook County, Illinois, and San Diego County, California, which indicate deaths handled by those offices through September (Cook) or June 2020 (San Diego) and whether opioids were involved, and 12-month moving sums of drug overdoses reported by CDC (2020) through May 2020.

Mortality in 2020 significantly exceeds what would have occurred if official COVID-19 deaths were combined with a normal number of deaths from other causes. The demographic and time patterns of the non-COVID-19 excess deaths (NCEDs) point to deaths of despair rather than an undercount of COVID-19 deaths. The flow of NCEDs increased steadily from March to June and then plateaued. They were disproportionately experienced by working-age men, including men as young as 15 to 24. The chart below, reproduced from Mulligan (2020b), shows these results for men aged 15–54. To compare the weekly timing of their excess deaths to a weekly measure of economic conditions, Figure 1 also includes continued state unemployment claims scaled by a factor of 25,000, shown together with deaths.

Figure 1 2020 weekly excess deaths by cause (men aged 15–54)

NCEDs are negative for elderly people before March 2020, as they were during the same time of 2019, due to mild flu seasons. Offsetting these negative NCEDs are about 30,000 positive NCEDs for the rest of the year, after accounting for an estimated 17,000 undercount of COVID-19 deaths in March and April.

If deaths of despair were the only causes of death with significant net contributions to NCEDs after February, 30,000 NCEDs would represent at least a 45% increase in deaths of despair from 2018, which itself was high by historical standards. At the same time, I cannot rule out the possibility that other non-COVID-19 causes of death or even a bit of COVID-19 undercounting (beyond my estimates) are contributing to the NCED totals.

One federal and various local measures of mortality from opioid overdose also point to mortality rates during the pandemic that exceed those of late 2019 and early 2020, which themselves exceed the rates for 2017 and 2018. These sources are not precise enough to indicate whether rates of fatal opioid overdose during the pandemic were 10% above the rates from before, 60% above, or somewhere in between.

Presumably, social isolation is part of the mechanism that turns a pandemic into a wave of deaths of despair. However, the results so far do not say how many, if any, come from government stay-at-home orders versus various actions individual households and private businesses have taken to encourage social distancing. The data in this paper do not reveal how many deaths of despair are due to changes in 'demand' – such as changes in a person's income, outlook, or employment situation – versus changes in 'supply' – such as the production of safety and a changing composition of dangerous recreational substances.

See original post for references


Terry Flynn , January 29, 2021 at 10:50 am

I agree with Yves's counter-argument though I must declare an interest, having done work on quality of life for 20 years and hope I'm not breaking site rules (given recent reminders about what is and isn't ok).

The excess deaths (particularly among men) certainly to me seems more consistent with a collapse in one's ability to do the "valued things in life" and prioritise (to SOME extent) economic outcomes over relationships. After all, the old trope that men cope less well than women with retirement is found in happiness, quality of life and other such data.

Whether or not one agrees with me, surely a test as to whether the authors or Yves has the better explanation for the excess deaths would involve looking at well-being and mortality of men who retire earlier than they'd like vs that of those whose spouse died earlier than expected (including the proper control groups).

Bob Hertz , January 29, 2021 at 10:59 am

Thanks for posting.

It would be interesting to find out the following:

1. Did the states with the most generous unemployment benefits (like MA or NJ) have fewer deaths of despair that the states with much stingier benefits?

2. Did the states which imposed various shutdowns (mainly blue states) have more deaths of despair than the states which stayed open, like SD or Florida?

My guess is that deaths of despair are too idiosyncratic to blame on Covid lockdowns, but I am not an expert at all about this.

1 Kings , January 29, 2021 at 11:47 am

They could also look for the link with 0% interest on people's saved money and seeing no f..ing end in sight as the beatings continue. Going down to zero does not make the people jolly.

Wukchumni , January 29, 2021 at 11:02 am

It used to be only men who would upon meeting another man, where the first question is likely 'What do you do for a living?', but with the advent of as many women working, probably appropriate there too.

Nobody ever asks firstly what your hobby is or what sports team you follow, as the job query tells you everything about the person in one fell swoop.

There's a lot of people whose jobs were kind of everything in their lives, who had never gone without work ever, that are now chronically unemployed.

Tomonthebeach , January 29, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Anybody who has studied suicide readily appreciates that the act is impulsive. Case & Deaton are probably correct in the limited sense of economic despair derived from transitioning away from fossil fuels and industrial production to jobs requiring education unreachable to middle-aged coal miners. However, those deaths were likely derived from easy access to opioids. Most of those job losses led workers to make disability claims (achy backs) to extend income. The treatment for achy back is pain killers – oxy-something or other back then. Those same pills killed the pain of failure. Over time, addiction set in and, according to Koob & LeMoal's 2008 addiction model, increased consumption becomes necessary to stay pain-free. Physicians would surely not up dosages indefinitely and that put addicts on the street literally. All that took time to evolve. But times have changed. Using your family doc to get you high is no longer an option. So, Mulligan makes sense.

IM Doc , January 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm

As an internist with boots on the ground – I cannot express enough gratitude that these kinds of reports are getting out.

As busy as I have been this past year with COVID, the actual patients struggling with anxiety and depression have just dwarved the actual COVID numbers.

I cannot even begin to tell you the heartbreak of being a provider and having 20-40 year old young men in your office crying their eyes out. Lots of job loss, lots of income issues, lots of not being able to pay for things for your kids. All the while being completely unable to find other work or extra work. It is truly a nightmare for these people. And the attitude by so many of the lockdown Karens who seem to have no conception of how this is all going down for these young people has been deeply worrisome to me.
It is really not getting better – if anything slowly getting worse.

I would agree with the article above that loneliness is a problem – this is for the minority – mainly older people and should not be dismissed.

Loneliness is not the big problem however, in my experience. The big problem is the economic despair for our young people and the complete loss of socialization for our teenagers and kids.

And I have no clue what the answer is.

[Jan 20, 2021] When German scholars use the US populist government as a scapegoat, they overlooked the real question - without addressing the growing inequality in a Western system, will there be a second Trump in the future?

Notable quotes:
"... No examination of Neoliberalism's utter failure to deliver benefits to the masses while expropriating the wealth they produced for delivery to the class of Financial Parasites. At least the writers at Global Times get it right: ..."
Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 19 2021 17:55 utc | 155

Global Times reports on an essay published by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Check it out b or other German barflies) deeming " China's system, although 'authoritarian,' is 'very successful .'" [My Emphasis]

"It explained that as long as a society can reach the following goals - improving social welfare, increasing consumption choices, safeguarding domestic security, promoting education, and providing good healthcare - people will support and trust the system even if their influence in the decision-making process is limited. Such can 'in part ensure the legitimacy' of the social system....

"But the authors' introspection stopped from digging problems as they tried to shift blame to the rise of populism in the US."

No examination of Neoliberalism's utter failure to deliver benefits to the masses while expropriating the wealth they produced for delivery to the class of Financial Parasites. At least the writers at Global Times get it right:

"Populism, which helped crown Donald Trump, is being blamed today. Yet it all started from the widening gap between rich and poor. When German scholars use the US populist government as a scapegoat, they overlooked the real question - without addressing the growing inequality in a Western system, will there be a second Trump in the future?" [My Emphasis]

The fatal thrust is delivered in the two closing paragraphs but still omit naming the actual culprit, which is the ideology of Neoliberalism:

"The article raised the support and trust of people when it comes to judgment over the legitimacy of a society. In this regard, data speak louder than words. According to a poll conducted in 2020 by US-based global public relations and marketing consultancy firm Edelman, 95 percent of Chinese trust their government while the US government only saw an approval of 48 percent .

"What other excuses will the Western world have to question the legitimacy of the Chinese system? If the West, especially the US, the beacon of democracy, actually senses the crisis and does not wish to lose the competition, it should stop burying its head in the sand." [My Emphasis]

The problem isn't heads being buried in sand; rather, it's the design of the ideology to exploit and degrade a nation's masses so they're left with relatively nothing compared to the nation's Financial Parasites, all so the latter will always have their Free Unearned Lunch.


[Jan 19, 2021] DOJ Now Says There Was No Plot to Kill Elected Officials

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
"... The New Yorker, ..."
"... The last scene in the video shows that the violent protest and takeover was about more than just the election. After trashing media equipment, one man says, "We gotta change it. They fucking abuse us. They laugh at us. They steal our money." ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
"... The New York Times. ..."
Jan 19, 2021 | consortiumnews.com

T he U.S. Justice Department has reversed an earlier assertion in court by prosecutors that protestors who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 had plans to "capture and assassinate elected officials."

Instead, the head of the DOJ investigation into the Capitol siege admitted that federal prosecutors filed a misleading statement before a federal judge in Arizona that was intended to prevent Jacob Chansley, aka Jake Angeli, from being released on bail.

The DOJ said that though there were calls to kill officials during the two-hour takeover of the Capitol, no evidence has been discovered yet to prove any serious effort to carry out such a plan.

"There is no direct evidence at this point of kill-capture teams and assassination," Michael Sherwin, the Washington DC federal district attorney running the investigation of the attack, told reporters, Agence France-Presse reported. Sherwin said it may be "appropriate" to raise it at trial, but at this point it could "mislead the court."

The original story of intentions to kill officials has entered the media discourse and is likely to remain a Democratic talking point despite the DOJ reversal. The only major media outlets that reported the new story is NBC News and The Washington Post . It has not appeared in The New York Times or on CNN's website, for instance.

Having saturated the public with days of lurid tales of intentions to hang Vice President Mike Pence and abduct House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it will be hard to shake such beliefs without reporting the DOJ's reversal with the same intensity.

The original statement filed in court said: "Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials of the United States government."

There has been no suggestion that the prosecutors in Arizona who made the false claim are being investigated for misleading the court.

The 'Coup'

Riot police at Capitol, Jan. 21, 2017 for Trump's inauguration. (Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons)

The admission dramatically changes the story, repeated as Democratic Party talking points, and undermines the unquestioned certainty that what took place was an attempted coup against the United States government. The new DOJ stance might also weaken efforts to charge Capitol rioters and intruders with "seditious conspiracy" charges for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government.

Consortium News has been among the few media outlets to question the coup narrative from the start.

Even if there were such murderous intentions it would not have amounted to a coup attempt without the backing of the military or paramilitaries, and without taking over the airport and radio and TV stations. These days it would probably mean taking over social media companies too. The U.S. government and media structures are vaster and more powerful than just the legislature.

Even if the protestors had intended and succeeded in hanging Vice President Mike Pence (presuming the gallows erected outside the Capitol was sturdy enough), and even if they had taken Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others hostage would Donald Trump have said, "Okay, they didn't certify Biden, I'm still president!"?

No branch of government would have supported Trump in that case and the surviving members of Congress would have met elsewhere to certify Joe Biden as president.

New Video Inside Capitol

Chansley, the far-right, bare-chested activist with fur headdress and Viking horns, became the symbol of the brief takeover of the Capitol by Trump supporters. He was arrested and faces a six-count federal indictment, charged with:

Civil disorder Obstruction of an official proceeding Entering and remaining in a restricted building Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building Violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building

He is not charged with insurrection or sedition to overthrow the government.

Jacob Chandsley/ Qananon Shaman. (TheUnseen011101/Wikimedia Commons)

In a new video released on Sunday by The New Yorker, Chansley is seen grunting primordial chants while playing to a photographer a few feet in front of him in a Senate balcony. Later he seats himself in Pence's Senate chair.

After a single Capitol police officer pleads with the intruders to leave, Chansley leads the group in prayer and then files out with the others, but not before scrawling on a piece of paper on Pence's desk: "It's only a matter of time, justice is coming."

Before Chansley sat in it, the video shows one of the protest leaders, dressed in military gear, demanding that the others not occupy the vice president's chair. He says: "It's not our chair. I love you brothers, but we cannot be disrespectful. It's a PR war, okay? You have to understand it's an IO war. We can't lose the IO war. We're better than that. It's an Information Operation."

The video shows a couple of dozen protestors rifling through senators' desks looking for, in the words of one, "something we can fucking use against these scumbags" and taking photos of documents. At one point they thought they found evidence in Senator Ted Cruz's desk that he was going to betray them on certification, but read further and realized he would not.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1350927254877040644&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2021%2F01%2F18%2Fdoj-now-says-there-was-no-plot-to-kill-elected-officials%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

The film is interspersed with very violent scenes of police in riot gear trying to prevent protestors from entering the Capitol.

The last scene in the video shows that the violent protest and takeover was about more than just the election. After trashing media equipment, one man says, "We gotta change it. They fucking abuse us. They laugh at us. They steal our money."

As journalist Chris Hedges said last Thursday, one can decry their politics, the racism among many, and their tactics, but their pain is real in a system that has shrunk the middle class and debased workers.

What happened at the Capitol cannot be condoned. But unless Congress defies its oligarchic backers and serves the interests of average Americans, who also fund them, a real insurrection may be inevitable. Instead of the reforms to defuse that and bring more economic justice, we are witnessing a crackdown that will only further inflame the country.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


rosemerry , January 18, 2021 at 13:15

It is interesting that both sides of the House and Senate manage almost all the time to arrange that other countries they have decided are enemies or rivals have real "coups" and takeovers helped by the mighty US . Iraq, Syria,Libya,Venezuela are just a few of the recent examples, but they are not "USA USA" so they do not count.

rosemerry , January 18, 2021 at 13:07

No surprise that the "paper of record" NYT did not bother to mention this legal angle. The descriptions I have seen in European papers and in the Sycophant aka the Guardian hardly vary at all and scream the alleged danger to the poor Congress members.

Anne , January 18, 2021 at 14:25

Nor NPR .Indeed they didn't bother to mention the 1954 shootings in the US Capitol (House) until AFTER the BBC World Service had and then a week later


Tim S.
, January 18, 2021 at 12:54

Anyone who has watched the video filmed by the arch-instigator's would-be-journalist sidekick can see for themselves that these were not even serious rioters, much less coup plotters, who were surprised as everybody else about being allowed into the Capitol building.
And despite some toy guns and one man with the slogan on the back of his jacket "God, guns, and Trump), it is obvious from their panicky reactions when a woman was killed that they felt deep down that this was all fun and games. She was trying to break down an interior door, starting with the window, but when an agent inside pointed a pistol at her, she ignored it. When he finally shot her, they all start yelling "She's been shot!" and react rather like a bunch of bystanders.

Does that sound like a gang planning to kill some Congressmen and taken others hostage?

Jonny James , January 18, 2021 at 11:48

Yes, once again the mainstream narrative stinks, and the fresh air is here on CN. That's why we don't breathe the miasma of the corporate media.

The Divide and Rule strategies of the ruling classes are working nicely. We can't have the "99%" get together to work against "the interests of Goldman Sachs" (Hedges). That is not allowed. The rub is that both the so-called right and so-called left work for the interests of Goldman Sachs.

I remember very clearly how brutally the peaceful Occupy protests were smashed. The violent cops used armored vehicles and other military equipment, massive amounts of tear gas, flash-bang grenades, drones, surveillance etc. etc. , Scott Horton was nearly killed by a tear-gas canister fired directly at his head. You are not allowed to work against the interests of the real owners of this country. As George Carlin once said, "they own the f-in place".


Anne
, January 18, 2021 at 14:35

I have yet to hear NPR mention anything about the woman who was shot dead (no weapon on her) let alone who shot and killed her that she was ex-mil (thus trained to invade, destroy, devastate, slaughter peoples, cultures, societies far, far, from these shores what you train for and then deploy will eventually come back home and bite

John Drake , January 18, 2021 at 13:37

Agreed, I find the minimizing of this event truly putrid. What is it about an enraged crowd, chanting "stop the steal" breaking into a building full of legislators , assaulting, injuring police and scaring the ..t out of said elected legislators that is not an attempt to overthrow, interfere, interrupt, prevent a key governmental process? This a governmental process whose outcome they wanted to alter keeping the Orange Menace in power. A flight of ridiculous fancy, no doubt, but still attitude, behavior and intent count.

Just because it doesn't rise to the level of well known coups orchestrated by professionals (CIA): Honduras, Guatemala, Chile, Iran and hundreds more; doesn't mean it doesn't belong in the same family of nasty socio/political events. Can we compromise and call it a mini attempted coup or maybe mini coup-lite? Anyway the perpetrators and their enablers need to major consequences; especially those officials that violated their oath of office.

[Jan 19, 2021] Few sights in Washington are more familiar than an intellectual urging "total war" from the safety of the keyboard

Highly recommended!
In a way neocon jingoism serve as a smoke scree to sitrct "depolables" from the decline of the standard of living under neoliberalism.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.nybooks.com

Orthodoxy of the Elites - by Jackson Lears - The New York Review of Books

By 2016 the concept of "liberal democracy," once bright with promise, had dulled into a neoliberal politics that was neither liberal nor democratic. The Democratic Party's turn toward market-driven policies, the bipartisan dismantling of the public sphere, the inflight marriage of Wall Street and Silicon Valley in the cockpit of globalization -- these interventions constituted the long con of neoliberal governance, which enriched a small minority of Americans while ravaging most of the rest.

Jackson Lears is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers, Editor in Chief of Raritan, and the author of ­Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877–1920, among other books. (January 2021)

[Jan 19, 2021] Orthodoxy of the neoliberal Elites by Jackson Lears

Jan 19, 2021 | www.nybooks.com

Democracy is in trouble, and everyone is casting about for someone to blame. Donald Trump's grotesque incapacity to govern has made him an easy target, but the difficulties with democracy are subtler, wider, and deeper. One clue to their complexity is a blog post that appeared on the liberal website Daily Kos a month after Trump's election in 2016. "Be Happy for Coal Miners Losing Their Health Insurance," the headline blared. "They're Getting Exactly What They Voted For."

The dismissal is curt and callous: clearly, Trump's victory provoked some of his opponents to double down on their hostility toward his supporters. But the blog post also shows -- more broadly -- that being a liberal Democrat no longer means what it once meant. Sympathy for the working class has, for many, curdled into contempt. By 2016 the concept of "liberal democracy," once bright with promise, had dulled into a neoliberal politics that was neither liberal nor democratic. The Democratic Party's turn toward market-driven policies, the bipartisan dismantling of the public sphere, the inflight marriage of Wall Street and Silicon Valley in the cockpit of globalization -- these interventions constituted the long con of neoliberal governance, which enriched a small minority of Americans while ravaging most of the rest.

In 2020 the Democrats made little attempt to distance themselves from that calamitous inheritance. As early as 2019, Joe Biden himself made clear to the donor class that "nothing would fundamentally change" if he were elected and reassured the medical-industrial complex by dismissing any discussion of single-payer health care. But he has made no substantial attempt to reassure the millions of Americans who have lost jobs or homes or health care in recent months. One might never have known, by following his campaign, that the US was facing the most serious and protracted economic depression since the 1930s. So it should come as no surprise that Trump maintained his support among rural and less educated voters and even improved it among African-Americans and Latinos. Despite Trump's bungling, many ordinary Americans may have sensed indifference if not outright hostility emanating toward them from his Democratic opponents. And they would not have been mistaken. The Democratic Party leadership has become estranged from its historic base.

The spectacle of liberals jeering at coal miners reveals seismic changes in our larger public discourse. The miners were "getting exactly what they voted for" -- exactly what they deserved, in other words. The belief that people get what they deserve is rooted in the secular individualist outlook that has legitimated inequality in the United States for centuries, ever since the Protestant ethic began turning into the spirit of capitalism. Yet visions of a nation of autonomous strivers always coexisted with older ideals of community and solidarity -- and those ideals resurfaced in the Great Depression to become the basis, however limited and imperfect, of midcentury social democracy. During the last four decades, the autonomous striving self has returned to the center of the success ethic, but featured in a new narrative that has focused less on plodding diligence and more on talent, brains, and credentialed expertise.


[Jan 14, 2021] Biden already reneged on $2K stimulus promise

What you can expect from staunch neoliberal? Creepy Joe fought to impoverish the US workers all his adult life.
Jan 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Jan 14 2021 21:07 utc | 26

Biden, Ds, reneging on $2K stimulus promise . Contortionist language is already being employed by Biden even before he becomes POTUS, which should surprise nobody, and provides plenty of I told ya so for Red America.

As I previously calculated, much more than $2K is needed to stave off very dire economic hardship and further deepening of Great Depression 2.0. But for any stimulus to be effective for small and medium businesses, operating restrictions related to the pandemic need to be greatly eased; and even then, it's projected that 1/3 of businesses already closed will remain closed regardless. That reality constitutes a huge blow for small businesses were seen by many as a way out of the never ending downsizing and offshoring of decent paying jobs.

[Jan 04, 2021] Tell me a better term than "globalist" for nationals who are titans of industry who betray their fellow nationals in the labor force by looking outside their own nation?

Jan 04, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bluedotterel , Jan 4 2021 6:04 utc | 78

Posted by: Lemming | Jan 4 2021 5:47 utc | 77

The current term "globalization" was originated by Ted Levitt in an article in the Harvard Business Review in the 80s and taken up by the Reaganites to push for offshoring of factories to countries with fewer workers rights and environmental concerns. He edited the magazine and was a professor at Harvard Business School. Those "weirdos" who championed the term were the corporate and financial behemoths that preferred it as a euphemism for "economic imperialism"


Lemming , Jan 4 2021 5:47 utc | 77

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 4 2021 1:07 utc | 56

Our nation, right now, is on the cusp of a great earthquake which will change its arrangement so that the interior will not be beholden to the coastal elites much longer, who have themselves thrown off the mantle of nationhood in favor of the globalist paradigm which values nihilistic individualism over all.

So, in short, you're describing capitalism. A capitalist economy favors individualism, profits over morality, and is mostly centered around the idea of private property as described by John Locke. This worked wonders in the vast uncharted territories of America in the 18th and 19th century, when the population of the United States was below 20 million and they needed to compete, FAST, against agressive european civilizations who looked at them with envy.

Now that they are 332 millions and counting, that their natural resources are slowly depleting and that other civilizations have adapted to the previously unknown phenomenon of the American empire, USans are faced with a crisis in all sectors, including faith. How come a system that worked so well for you these past 300 years suddenly fails? well, not suddenly, but realizing that took a while.

Oh, I know!! It must be because of all those treacherous businessmen who traded their souls and their country for a quick buck! but we need to condemn them without condemning the whole system, and saying "capitalism sucks" makes us sound like Ivan the Red Commie. What a pickle. Let's call them "globalists"! so we can rally the nationalists as a bonus and say it's all because of evil foreigners.

On certain sites, it goes as far as calling "globalists" ... communists. Or Chinese. Or Russian. Sure, why not, everyone needs their Emmanuel Goldstein.

"Globalism" is a funny name some weirdos invented since the first Wall Street crashes happened to justify the worst excesses of the current capitalist economic system without pointing the finger at the real culprits. I say it's funny because it looks like nationalist clickbait for the 2 minutes of hate everyone in the West is prescribed each day in this hyper-social Internet.

Sad fact is, "globalists" are run-of-the-mill bosses who decided it was better for their end-of-year bonuses if they outsourced some or all of their production to cheap chinese companies, and not have to pay US salaries anymore. That's not globalist, that's called looking to make a profit in the short term.

Formerly T-Bear , Jan 4 2021 7:47 utc | 96

@ NemesisCalling | Jan 4 2021 6:34 utc | 82

Tell me a better term than "globalist" for nationals who are titans of industry who betray their fellow nationals in the labor force by looking outside their own nation?

A term of rather recent vintage is Labour arbitrage that is substituting less costly labour for higher costing labour. The driving motive for all offshoring or externalising labour resources from the home marketplace. Walmart made billions doing this as does Amazon.

Fnord13 , Jan 4 2021 8:44 utc | 100

@82 and @98 Nemesis Calling and Lemming

I agree with Lemming's position on this. And I think Nemesis Calling is wrong about what the term "Globalist" implies. If a "nationalist" is someone who's loyal to a nation, then isn't a "globalist" someone who is loyal to the whole globe? Humanity today has many massive problems that are extremely difficult and perhaps impossible to deal with on a purely national basis. Nuclear weapons, global climate change, pandemic diseases, the potential threats and benefits of real artificial intelligence, the extinction of so many species, controlling multinational corporations, the threat of mass starvation, global inequality... these are all problems which seem to many people to need the whole human species, or the whole globe, working together to address them.

I think the major reason why many capitalists started calling themselves "globalists" back in the 1980's was because they saw this was an idea which was becoming increasingly popular, and they wanted to try and coopt it for their own benefit.

The trouble was that the CEO's who decided it would be personally profitable for them to ship their companies jobs to low wage countries were not "real" globalists. If they had really understood what the decisions they were making would do to their countries, or even to the corporations they were responsible to their shareholders for managing, they might be accused of being frauds or even traitors. But they probably didn't understand, so it's probably more accurate to just call them parts of a greedy and shortsighted elite, which was far too arrogant to realize how countries like China would be able to exploit their shortsighted folly. They thought they were being so clever about their plans to exploit the Chinese. But the irony is that a major reason why they underestimated the Chinese is that they didn't understand that the fact that the Chinese were Marxists meant that the Chinese had a different and in some ways better understanding of how Capitalism worked than they did. They never dreamed that the Chinese would be able to make Lenin's prediction that capitalists would sell them the rope they needed to hang capitalism come true.

[Jan 02, 2021] Let's talk about neoliberalism some more by Cassiodorus

Notable quotes:
"... @magiamma ..."
"... @Cassiodorus ..."
Jan 02, 2021 | caucus99percent.com

..The only upshot of the Larry Summers interview is likely to be that maybe a few people will think that Joe Biden has bad people advising him, and the vast majority will either dislike Joe because he sucks or because they're Trumpies in their little faux rebellion or they will believe everything MSNBC et al. tell them about Joe Biden (and thus by extension they'll believe every word of Summers).

Here's the important lesson, the one that SHOULD be learned: Summers is a NEOLIBERAL. By this is meant that he is one of that group that believes that the proper role of government is to create and enforce markets and that ideally all functions of everyone's lives would be market functions.

The ultimate principle of neoliberalism, as pointed out in Chapter 2 of Kees van der Pijl's A Survey of Global Political Economy, is investor "freedom." This principle comes up on page 46 in the author's discussion of "microeconomics and rational choice theory." After having gone over the history of mainstream ("marginalist") economics as an "axiomatic" (which really means faith-based -- if you agree with its principles you might find it interesting) discipline, van der Pijl gets to neoliberalism. Here's what he says:

Importantly, the neoliberals no longer confine their prescriptions to the economy. They want economic rationality to be applied to all aspects of society; no organ of the social body may be allowed to function according to other principles than that of free choice by rational, self-interested individuals.

Ultimately, as van der Pijl notes in his discussion of Friedrich von Hayek (1899-1992), the standard-bearer of neoliberalism, neoliberalism is committed to investor freedom in all spheres of life. This is on page 48:

The core concept of neoliberalism is the notion of 'competitively determined freedom'. This concept of freedom is defined from the principle of privately disposable property of the means of production, secured by political institutions ensuring 'law and order'. Hayek later specified law and order as the foundations of private property as such, as freedom of contract and the coercive upholding of contracts (quoted in Walpen, 2004: 114-5).

Thus, if Larry Summers believes in this insane pile of twaddle, why would he want the government to send out $2000 checks? That wouldn't promote investor freedom.

(The further catch, of course, is that EVERYONE in DC, in Wall Street, and throughout the ruling elites of the world, believes in this insane pile of twaddle, and they've believed it for forty years now. So, in the same way in which Donald Trump was not an exceptional case responsible for the general insanity of last year's politics, Larry Summers is also not an exceptional case responsible for why you aren't getting $2,000 checks.)


The day after Christmas, the New York Times online ran a piece on the effects of climate change( "The Darkest Timeline," by Jonah Engel Bromwich ). It was basically about another paper, called "Deep Adaptation," which supposedly changed the course of a lot of people's lives. Bromwich says about the paper that:

The paper's central thought is that we must accept that nothing can reverse humanity's fate and we must adapt accordingly. And the paper's bleak, vivid details -- emphasizing that the end is truly nigh, and that it will be gruesome -- clearly resonated.

"When I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life," wrote the author, Jem Bendell. "With the power down, soon you wouldn't have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbors for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won't know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death."

But you don't really adapt to climate change doom. You commit suicide in advance of the event. And it's hard to tell why a scientific paper, and not, say, the story of Paradise, California , would motivate people to say, geez, there isn't much point in living in a doomed society, so let's plan in advance. Or here's an alternative path: when confronted with the doom of the human race and of you, personally, you choose to believe in a pile of insane twaddle, and you say: billions for the rich , $600 for a few of the rest. Isn't that what Congress is doing now? To be sure, this is a sort of side-adventure, meant to contextualize neoliberals as the sort of people who say "oh boy! Profit!" when confronted with disastrous reality.


At any rate, neoliberalism. There are a bunch of books about neoliberalism. Probably the best place to start is with Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine , published in 2007. Klein makes clear what the enormous human costs are of neoliberal policy. The neoliberal method, Klein describes, is simple:

That is how the shock doctrine works: the original disaster – the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown, the war, the tsunami, the hurricane – puts the entire population into a state of collective shock. The falling bombs, the bursts of terror, the pounding winds serve to soften up whole societies much as the blaring music and blows in the torture cells soften up prisoners. Like the terrorized prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect. (17)

It's your basic imperialism. David Harvey calls it "accumulation by dispossession"; his book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism , offers a good summary. I love the understatement at the beginning of the Google Books synopsis (linked):

Neoliberalism - the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action - has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Its spread has depended upon a reconstitution of state powers such that privatization, finance, and market processes are emphasized. State interventions in the economy are minimized, while the obligations of the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens are diminished.

"... has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world..." Yeah. That's like saying that European countries conquered much of Africa between 1870 and 1914. Uh-huh. It's good to appear innocuous when writing for publication!

Also meaningful are the writings of the French team of Gerard Dumenil and Dominique Levy. They've written a lot on the topic; the place to start would be Capital Resurgent . I haven't read this book in awhile. If I recall correctly, Dumenil and Levy argue that neoliberalism was a conscious choice of the elites, and that they could have chosen otherwise. But they didn't, and so here we are.

Those with an appetite for biting prose might enjoy Philip Mirowski's Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste . Mirowski wants to chastise everyone -- the neoliberals for their "logic" (beautifully dissected), everyone else for misrecognizing the neoliberals and for pronouncing neoliberalism to be "dead" when in fact it's more dominant than ever.

There's an interesting foreign-policy take on neoliberalism in Kees van der Pijl's Global Rivalries from the Cold War to Iraq . Ostensibly a history of foreign relations, van der Pijl found himself obliged to discuss the history of neoliberalism because the history of foreign relations in the period after 1980 IS the history of neoliberalism.

Richard Cockett's Thinking the Unthinkable is a good early history of neoliberalism, from before the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society to its global triumph with Reagan and Thatcher.


All that having been said, it's amazing to find so many people online who think that "neoliberalism" is some esoteric phenomenon, or neoliberals who don't think they're neoliberals, or people who think there's no such thing as neoliberalism. You bring up neoliberalism and they say things like "I don't like labels." If you were to call a tree "green," would the tree respond by saying "I don't like labels"? We choose names for things because otherwise we wouldn't be able to talk about them in any serious sense.

Let's be clear. Today, "liberalism" might be this warm, fuzzy belief that government ought to give ordinary people a thing or two in addition to its usual duties of "national defense" (under the neoliberal regime this means wars for corporate profit) and "economic policy" (another giveaway to the rich). That's what the term "liberalism" came to mean in the US in the period after World War II. There's a longer and deeper meaning for the term "liberalism," and in that meaning it means what Adam Smith advocated, laissez-faire capitalism. The "neo" in "neoliberalism," to complete the definition, defines a form of liberalism in which it is viewed, by the neoliberals, as the duty of government to simulate laissez-faire capitalism by setting up markets and requiring people to participate in them. That's what neoliberalism is; that explains its NAME.

The classic neoliberal policy was the original "marketplace" function of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA was created to keep the insurance companies from pricing their product out of the market; the ACA obliged people to purchase health insurance (which, significantly, they still wouldn't be able to use in many ways) by setting up a "mandate penalty" in which non-purchasers would have to pay more in income taxes.

War for profit is a neoliberal initiative. Since the average consumer cannot purchase a war, the neoliberal government will step in to insure that there remains a market for war. Typically the wars serve to create enemies, which then sustain the war. Ultimately, what you see with neoliberal war is phenomena such as what was reported in Syria in 2016, in which militias funded by the CIA fought those funded by the Pentagon. It's fine as long as it moves product.

There shouldn't be any confusion, then, about neoliberalism as a ruling-class ideology. It has a well-defined meaning and plenty of examples to back up the notion that neoliberalism is a specific notion with specific beliefs, specific believers, specific policies, and a specific history.

It's your turn.

[Dec 29, 2020] Neoliberal Champion Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Inserts Both Feet by Matt Taibbi

How you can overheat economy that is in permanent stagnation mode (secular stagnation)? This is nonsense. What Larry is actually afraid of but can't say is the staut of the dollar the world reserve currency.
You can almost physically sense the level of hate toward "neoliberal scum" in comments below
Dec 29, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News

Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama, president of Harvard, and Chief Economist at the World Bank, wrote a post-Christmas editorial for Bloomberg entitled, " Trump's $2000 Stimulus Checks are a Big Mistake ." It's a classic:

Some argue that while $2,000 checks may not be optimal support for the post-Covid economy, taking stimulus from $600 to $2,000 is better than nothing. They need to ask themselves whether they would favor $5,000, or $10,000 -- or more. There must be a limiting principle.

The genesis of this Summers article is a perfect tale in microcosm about how America's intellectual elite manages to lose elections to people like Donald Trump. It's a two-step error. First, they put people like Summers in charge of economic policies. Then, they let them talk in public.

Summers the day before Christmas appeared on Bloomberg to offer his initial thoughts on why $2000 checks must be bad: he looked at which politicians were supporting the plan, and worked backward. "When I see a coalition of Josh Hawley, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting behind an idea, I think that's time to run for cover," he said, adding: "When you see the two extremes agreeing, you can almost be certain that something crazy is in the air."

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1342173060955332609&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fneoliberal-champion-larry-summers-opens-mouth-inserts-both-feet-taibbi&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

After delivering that cheery message, Summers got feces-pelted on the Internet:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1342264622833790976&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fneoliberal-champion-larry-summers-opens-mouth-inserts-both-feet-taibbi&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1342248609996107776&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fneoliberal-champion-larry-summers-opens-mouth-inserts-both-feet-taibbi&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=830

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Seeing that his comments "lit up the Twittersphere," Summers then sat down to compose an article doubling down on his reasoning. Essentially, he argued that from an econometric point of view, we're already overdoing it on the help front. If you were under the impression that huge numbers of people are living off meals from food banks and/or are at risk in an eviction crisis , you were wrong.

Noting that "total employee compensation" is "only running about $30 billion per month behind the Covid baseline," he insisted that $200 billion more in tax rebates per month over the next quarter would "equal an additional seven times the loss of household wage and salary income over the next quarter."

He then showed a graph explaining that "because of the legislation passed in 2020, total household income has exceeded normal levels relative to the economy's potential more or less since the pandemic began." The good news, as a result, is that "the existing stimulus bill is sufficient to elevate household income relative to the economy's potential to abnormally high levels -- unheard of during an economic downturn."

The whole piece reads like an extended New Yorker cartoon, in which an evictee with empty pockets is about to dive after a rotten apple core in a dumpster, only to be blocked by a cauldron-bellied Harvard economist in a $3000 Zegna suit. Caption: " Actually, total household income relative to the economy's potential sits at abnormally high levels ."

There are of course different positions one could take on the question of stimulus checks, but the issue with people like Summers is the utter predictability of their stances. Summers belongs to a club of neoliberal thinkers who've dominated American policy for decades. From Bob Rubin to Tim Geithner to Jason Furman to Michael Froman and beyond, the people one friend jokingly refers to as the "Rubino Crime Family" are all basically the same person, affectless technocrats who play up reputations as giant-brained intellectuals -- I always imagine them with bulbous Alien Nation heads -- while reveling in cold, hard truths about the limits of government assistance.

Read the rest here .


Lordflin 3 hours ago

The people are seen as cattle...

And this by an inbred group of gluttons who couldn't survive without the life they drain from others...

yerfej 3 hours ago remove link

That is the key "the life they drain from others". I have no issue with those who work their aysses off keeping their just rewards, but this kind of insider filth needs a lamppost.

two hoots 1 hour ago

Summers and those of his Jabba class know that uncontrolled Congressional giving could cause collateral damage to their lifestyles. So does every comfortable class below them. It all depends where you are positioned. Here on ZH i find people playing all sides of the class game to whatever suits their current mood of us/them others. The more an event can affect us directly determines where we direct our dislikes...up or down...inconsistently.

Doom Porn Star 1 hour ago

ALL politicians and 'public servants' who advocateor demand lockdowns and restrictions should cede ALL pay, benefits and accrual of all retirement or other benefits for the duration of ANY lockdown or restriction of ANY kind.

Those who advocate or demand sacrificed should make first, fullest largest sacrifices.

The whole lot of fascist 'some animals are better than others' lot should be thrown in gitmo or equivalent.

The_Dude 3 hours ago (Edited)

Study what Summer's and his (((ilk))) did to pillage post - Soviet Russia and you will understand who is untouchable in this society... And why in more sophisticated societies, they were always kept at the periphery where they couldn't harm others.

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/harvard-boys-do-russia/

Doom Porn Star 3 hours ago

Larry 'Dinner with Epstein' Summers has put more than his foot in his mouth.

BlueLightning 3 hours ago

O boy he's scared now

sgt_doom 2 hours ago (Edited)

Isn't Larry Summers the chief poster boy of the Global Banking Cartel ever since he inserted the credit derivatives clause in the WTO's Financial Services Agreement*** making it acceptable legal tender?

Believe that was during the Clinton Administration.

Is Larry still a lobbyist for the cental bankers? Oh yes, his photo is still there:

https://group30.org/members

***[Credit to Greg Palast for uncovering this item.]

Arising 2.0 2 hours ago (Edited)

Larry is a cabal member who has always been out of touch with the 'silly goy'.

iambrambles 3 hours ago

The real question is why trillions to foreign govs and corporations.

$2000/American is chump change and isnt what anyone should be focusing on.

America never had the right fiscal priorities, people tend to forget the brilliance of the US was with the constitution that enabled more freedoms than before.

But fiscally, America was always doomed after the absolution of the gold standard and the creation of the federal reserve which allowed for endless government largesse.

ElTerco 2 hours ago (Edited) remove link

"negative consequences of aid to the less fortunate..."

Yet, no mention from Larry of negative consequences of aid to the more fortunate, which, so far this year, has been around 40x as much money.

ElTerco 2 hours ago (Edited)

The $10+ trillion that has been pumped into the US economy so far has been a firehose to top earners, while people who lost their jobs got a trickle of runoff as it worked its way down the street through a very long, crap filled gutter.

Funny how Summers never mentioned *that*.

Max21c 2 hours ago (Edited) remove link

"When I see a coalition of Josh Hawley, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting behind an idea, I think that's time to run for cover," he said, adding: "When you see the two extremes agreeing, you can almost be certain that something crazy is in the air."

Thus is just more elitist nonsense from the silly conventional wisdom of Washingtonians, elites, and the Democratic Party establishment. Bernie Sanders was a solid and strong and energetic candidate and he could have had a chance of beating Trump in a free & fair election had the Party nomination not been fixed and stolen from him by elites and their puppet press smear campaigns.

Democrats made a mistake in attacking and undermining Bernie Sanders. Since much of what has transpired this past year has been massive increases in domestic spending and some social spending. Bernie Sanders could have beat Trump--fair and square--whereas the Crats had to cheat with Biden and steal the election. Had the Democratic Party not stolen the election from Sanders it likely Sanders would have had a significant opportunity to beat Trump. Since Sanders was positioned right/correctly to be competitive in contrast and have some edge with a significant part of the public on peace, foreign policy, domestic policy, and social spending agendas. Would have been a tight race with Sanders versus Trump instead of the fraud and fraudulent election of 2020. Definitely would have been a tossup on balance. Would have been even harder if Sanders had teamed with Tulsi Gabbard as they would have had a serious edge in foreign policy. But both Sanders and Gabbard are official pariahs and lepers in the Democratic Party and its establishment as well as in the Washington establishment. Sanders had the issues and would have had the momentum to give Trump a serious run for the money had he not be forced aside in favor of the establishment candidate in a series of rigged primaries and media smear campaigns and other subterfuge & Machavellian intrigues.

Max21c 1 hour ago (Edited)

I don't have issue with the size of company but do not like state sponsored industry whereby the state security apparatus heavily favors state industries and state sponsored industries--and--the secret police community and intelligence community and political class ensure that the statals/SEO and state backed companies are protected by the state security apparatus... The government doesn't have any business being used by Washingtonians, JudeoWASP elites, Ivy Leaguers and their secret police to using military warmaking powers in the secret police and intelligence community to rob one and redistribute back to state industries and state sponsored industries and favor elites and their firms using secret police powers... That's what both the Bolsheviks and Nazis did... It's the banana republoc and police state and tyranny...

The socialism Bernie was talking about seemed more his advocating for increases in social spending. The socialism Washington currently practices both openly and secretively & covertly and illegally through abuses of secret police powers and state secrecy is much more dangerous than what Bernie was advocating. The current socialist system as practiced by Washingtonians and their secret police does much more damage to the country. The police state socialism is much worse than the social spending games.

Bay Area Guy 2 hours ago remove link

LOL. How do you overheat a dead economy? No real growth (inflation adjusted) in at least 20 years; real unemployment at least 12.5% and probably north of 20%; this DESPITE interest rates at all time lows and likely to go negative. And this fool is talking about overheating the economy.

Max21c 2 hours ago remove link

If they can handout hundreds of billions to businesses under a questionable government to business subsidy program that has been previously fraught with fraud, inefficiencies in timeliness & appropriateness and geographical distribution. Also, such government to biz programs which shall likely fail to serve both business and the economy effectively both by practice and natural elements: such as some businesses being located in areas with a more sophisticated biz culture; and set of skills; as well as access to better educated & possibly more skillful entrepreneurs and cultures thereof; as well as some firms being simply better positioned; as well as some firms being more program wise or welfare wise; and still other firms being better tuned in or connected to the political system and or its bureaucracy. Given the afore situation the money is better spent on a basis of widely scattered and unpredictable et uncontrollable and thus not as apt to manipulation as well as a direct to households holding the advantage of timeliness.

About 4k is about right for the floor/minimum on the basis of 2k in the form of a stimulus and another matching 2k+ coming from forwarded tax rebates for future years which can be paid back through payroll deductions or which can be paid back similar to installment loans monthly or quarterly.

2k shall suffice in the near term as to stimulating consumer spending, consumer confidence, business confidence, sales & revenues & profits or the improvement in the outlook of a future return to profitability and the confidence & risks taking that comes with firms seeking current and future profits and potentially making investments and pursuing loans and the potential for an earlier uptick in the credit cycle as banks may change their outlook on lending sooner than they might otherwise.

[Dec 05, 2020] Lockdown lead to atomization of labour

Dec 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Dec 3 2020 22:56 utc | 76

VK @ 24:

"... Lockdowns as being inherently against the working class is a capitalist (liberal) falsification: if you pay them while they're kept safe in their homes, you'll have the best of the two worlds for the working class (being paid without working). This option is only an anathema for the middle class and the capitalist class - who can't imagine a world without the proletarians serving them ..."

We all live in an interconnected world and middle class, capitalist class (whatever that's supposed to mean) and proletarians alike supply goods and services to one another. Money is the medium that facilitates such exchanges. It follows then that proletarians also serve one another and ditto for the other classes.

If working classes are paid to stay in their homes, who then supplies their needs? In spite of Jeff Bozo's efforts and those of Elon Musk, not all transport is self-automating and robots in Amazon warehouses still need some human inputs to operate quickly and without hitches.

One could also argue that working fulfils other, non-monetary needs. Karl Marx actually foresaw this when he wrote about anomie in capitalist systems of production, in which workers are denied control over their lives and the work they do by being denied any say in what they produce, how they produce it, the resources and environment needed to produce outputs, and maybe even whether they can be allowed to work at all.

Lockdowns can be viewed as another method in which to deny people control over their work and work environments. People socialise at work and lockdowns may be a way to deny workers a place or a means to connect with others (and maybe to form unions). Is it any wonder then, that during lockdowns people's mental health has become an issue and public health experts became concerned at the possibility that such phenomena as suicide and domestic violence could increase?


foolisholdman , Dec 3 2020 22:59 utc | 78

foolisholdman | Dec 3 2020 22:21 utc | 68


You can understand this from this quotation. It is the internal contradictions of the wesern capitalist system that is driving the changes we observe, not "pressure applied by China", which I would say is a myth.

"The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal: it lies in the contradictionariness within the thing. This internal contradiction exists in every single thing, hence its motion and development. Contradictionariness within a thing is the fundamental cause of its development, while its interrelations and interactions with other things are secondary causes."

"It (Materialist dialectics) holds that external causes are the conditions of change and internal causes are the basis of change, and that external causes become operative through internal causes. In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis."
Mao Zedong. "On Contradiction" August 1937. Selected Works, Vol.1, p.315.

Mark2 , Dec 3 2020 23:09 utc | 80

Lockdowns are a medical protection to eradicate a contagious virus.
The lock downs we have had are fake and we're designed to fail. For political reasons.
The very people who complained 10 months ago, were responsible for them not working,
10 months later those people are still complaining. They are the ones who have prolonged the contagion.
They are to blame. That includes the polatians and duped public.
It's deliberate !

[Dec 05, 2020] The Real Source Of America's Frustrations - Zero Hedge

Dec 05, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Real Source Of America's Frustrations


Voice-of-Reason 12 hours ago

For those of you that worked hard and played by the rules your whole life to try to save enough money to have a decent retirement you were robbed and played like a bunch of suckers by Wall Street. The Fed is helping them steal any wealth the middle class has left. I'm not sure why these people are still breathing. They should be swinging by their neck from a rope.

Lost in translation 12 hours ago

"The status quo has been increasingly rigged to benefit insiders and elites as the powers of central banks and governments have picked the winners (cronies, insiders, cartels and monopolies) and shifted the losses and risks onto the losers (the rest of us)."

Charles displays a remarkable grasp of the obvious. I sometimes wonder if his target audience isn't 11-year olds.

Sound of the Suburbs 7 hours ago

How can things possibly get any worse for young people?

  1. Sky high housing costs
  2. Student loans
  3. Low wages and precarious part time jobs
  4. A minimum wage specified at an hourly rate that won't pay a living wage in a part time job

Most young people don't start off with any capital, and with student loans they will actually start off with loads of debt.

It's all about investors, so people with money can make more money, and they haven't got any.

Those young people are trying to earn their money and this just isn't the way we do things anymore.

J J Pettigrew 6 hours ago

how about HB1 visas and the overstaying? Floods the labor market with outsiders. Fundamentally transforming the nation.

Sound of the Suburbs 5 hours ago

Young people can't afford to start a family anymore.

You've got to sort out the demographic problem with immigration.

yerfej 5 hours ago

The tax system mimics society, both are run by elites and have so much complexity that ONLY elites have the ability to circumvent them. Lawyers own society and it is of course to their benefit to make it full of layer after layer of complex rules and regulations, which as sold as "protecting the commoner", but in reality it protects the elites by stifling competition. Start by cleaning up the tax code, have ONE flat rate for ANY AND ALL income above the poverty allowance and be done with it. THEN the elites can't game the system with layers and tax accountants to avoid paying. If the common people realized how screwed they're getting by complexity they would force the change to one rate for all.

Bay Area Guy 3 hours ago

The problem in America today was caused by the Clinton/Bush/Obama administrations, along with a complicit Congress, encouraging the off-shoring of US jobs, along with vastly increasing the number of jobs given to people holding H1b's visas who, in turn, off shore a large percentage of their salaries to their home countries, effectively off-shoring even more money. The result can be seen in US GDP. Real GDP (after including the effects of inflation), has consistently contracted since 2000 (see Shadowstats). Add in the fact that illegal immigration (and, to a smaller extent, legal immigration) has increased the population, and the result is you have a greater number of people trying to get their share of an economic pie that's shrinking. When the economy was expanding, people generally felt good about their situation. So if some sector got a bit of an increase that was more than their increase, it wasn't as big a thing. But now, with a shrinking economy, when the homeless or illegals or any other group gets more money, people are increasingly seeing that it's taken out of their share and they see themselves falling further and further behind. So, they react and object to that.

So, until or unless a way is found to expand the pie (the economy), you're going to see greater and greater levels of frustration as anytime Group A gets more funding, every other group is going to scream bloody murder.

Sound of the Suburbs 7 hours ago (Edited)

What is real wealth creation?

The last thing hedge funds, private equity firms and bankers need is anyone finding out.

I thought those neoliberals were educated.

Well they like to think they are, but they have no idea about the most basic things like wealth creation and the monetary system.

They have confused making money with creating wealth.

Sound of the Suburbs 7 hours ago

The US is going downhill fast.

What can we do?

Let them know what real wealth creation is, then they should be away.

Where does real wealth creation take place in the economy?

Economists do identify where real wealth creation in the economy occurs, but this is a most inconvenient truth as it reveals many at the top don't actually create any wealth.

This is the problem.

Much of their money comes from wealth extraction rather than wealth creation, and they need to get everyone thoroughly confused so we don't realise what they are really up to.

The Classical Economists had a quick look around and noticed the aristocracy were maintained in luxury and leisure by the hard work of everyone else.

They haven't done anything economically productive for centuries, they couldn't miss it.

The Classical economist, Adam Smith:

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money."

There was no benefits system in those days, and if those at the bottom didn't work they died.

They had to earn money to live.

Ricardo was an expert on the small state, unregulated capitalism he observed in the world around him.

He was part of the new capitalist class, and the old landowning class were a huge problem with their rents that had to be paid both directly and through wages.

"The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community" Ricardo 1815 / Classical Economist.

They soon identified the constructive "earned" income and the parasitic "unearned" income.

This disappeared in neoclassical economics.

GDP was invented after they used neoclassical economics last time.

In the 1920s, the economy roared, the stock market soared and nearly everyone had been making lots of money.

In the 1930s, they were wondering what the hell had just happened as everything had appeared to be going so well in the 1920s and then it all just fell apart.

They needed a better measure to see what was really going on in the economy and came up with GDP.

In the 1930s, they pondered over where all that wealth had gone to in 1929 and realised inflating asset prices doesn't create real wealth, they came up with the GDP measure to track real wealth creation in the economy.

The transfer of existing assets, like stocks and real estate, doesn't create real wealth and therefore does not add to GDP. The real wealth creation in the economy is measured by GDP.

Real wealth creation involves real work producing new goods and services in the economy.

So all that transferring existing financial assets around doesn't create wealth?

No it doesn't, and now you are ready to start thinking about what is really going on there.

Don't get confused between making money and creating wealth.

When you equate making money with creating wealth, people try and make money in the easiest way possible, which doesn't actually create any wealth.

In 1984, for the first time in American history, "unearned" income exceeded "earned" income.

The American have lost sight of what real wealth creation is, and are just focussed on making money.

You might as well do that in the easiest way possible.

It looks like a parasitic rentier capitalism because that is what it is.

Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.

They will load your economy up with their debt products until you get a financial crisis.

On a BBC documentary, comparing 1929 to 2008, it said the last time US bankers made as much money as they did before 2008 was in the 1920s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

At 18 mins.

The bankers loaded the US economy up with their debt products until they got financial crises in 1929 and 2008.

As you head towards the financial crisis, the economy booms due to the money creation of bank loans.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

The financial crisis appears to come out of a clear blue sky when you use an economics that doesn't consider debt, like neoclassical economics.

Banks – What is the idea?

The idea is that banks lend into business and industry to increase the productive capacity of the economy.

Business and industry don't have to wait until they have the money to expand. They can borrow the money and use it to expand today, and then pay that money back in the future.

The economy can then grow more rapidly than it would without banks.

Debt grows with GDP and there are no problems.

The banks create money and use it to create real wealth.

[Dec 01, 2020] Indifference to working-class suffering will kill tens of thousands - caucus99percent

Notable quotes:
"... Tens of millions ..."
"... Tens of millions ..."
Dec 01, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Indifference to working-class suffering will kill tens of thousands

gjohnsit on Sun, 11/29/2020 - 7:30pm

Winter Is Coming for the American working-class.
Even if you don't care about the working poor, their suffering is going to affect you. In some ways it already has. Despite the CDC eviction moratorium, evictions have continued during the pandemic. This is led to hundreds of thousands of people being infected with Covid .

Expiring state eviction bans have led to hundreds of thousands of additional coronavirus cases, new research finds, raising alarm about what will happen when the national eviction moratorium lapses next month.
...
The researchers, from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University, Boston University and Wake Forest University School of Law, found that lifting state moratoriums and allowing eviction proceedings to continue caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of Covid-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September.

If the CDC's eviction ban isn't extended until 2021, experts say, many new cases are likely to emerge from people being forced out of their houses and apartments.

"This is a time where it's not an overstatement to say that for many people, eviction can lead to death ," said Helen Matthews, communications manager at City Life Vita Urbana, a nonprofit in Boston.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that making people homeless during the pandemic is a public health nightmare. Yet the eviction moratorium did not mean free rent. All that unpaid rent is build up to $36 billion.
So how many people are about to be evicted? How many people will be homeless on our streets in the coming months?
It depends on who you ask, but it will be in the tens of millions. Let that sink in for a moment. Tens of millions of Americans are about to lose their place of residence. The government has no plans to do anything about it.

One study says 19 million Americans will be evicted in the next two months. That's the conservative estimate.
Another study says 40 million Americans will lose their homes this winter. These are numbers that will destabilize American society and the American political system.
The end of the moratorium comes at the same time as the end of stimulus money .

UI, stimulus, and welfare combined, after spiking to an annual rate of $3.88 trillion in April, fell to $1.04 trillion in October


39 million Americans don't have enough to eat right now, and people are waiting in line for hours at food banks all over the nation just for some Thanksgiving handouts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 12 percent of all Americans did not have enough food to eat between October 28th and November 9th.

Let's like clear about something. Politicians, the media, and of course the wealthy couldn't care less about the suffering of the working class.
However, they do care about getting sick and dying. So what's going to happen is that working class are going to be crushed, and only then, when the Covid cases spiked to unimaginable levels, will the ruling elites have an epiphany. That epiphany is you really are your brother's keeper.

gjohnsit on Sun, 11/29/2020 - 7:30pm

Winter Is Coming for the American working-class.
Even if you don't care about the working poor, their suffering is going to affect you. In some ways it already has. Despite the CDC eviction moratorium, evictions have continued during the pandemic. This is led to hundreds of thousands of people being infected with Covid .

Expiring state eviction bans have led to hundreds of thousands of additional coronavirus cases, new research finds, raising alarm about what will happen when the national eviction moratorium lapses next month.
...
The researchers, from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University, Boston University and Wake Forest University School of Law, found that lifting state moratoriums and allowing eviction proceedings to continue caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of Covid-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September.

If the CDC's eviction ban isn't extended until 2021, experts say, many new cases are likely to emerge from people being forced out of their houses and apartments.

"This is a time where it's not an overstatement to say that for many people, eviction can lead to death ," said Helen Matthews, communications manager at City Life Vita Urbana, a nonprofit in Boston.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that making people homeless during the pandemic is a public health nightmare. Yet the eviction moratorium did not mean free rent. All that unpaid rent is build up to $36 billion.
So how many people are about to be evicted? How many people will be homeless on our streets in the coming months?
It depends on who you ask, but it will be in the tens of millions. Let that sink in for a moment. Tens of millions of Americans are about to lose their place of residence. The government has no plans to do anything about it.

One study says 19 million Americans will be evicted in the next two months. That's the conservative estimate.
Another study says 40 million Americans will lose their homes this winter. These are numbers that will destabilize American society and the American political system.
The end of the moratorium comes at the same time as the end of stimulus money .

UI, stimulus, and welfare combined, after spiking to an annual rate of $3.88 trillion in April, fell to $1.04 trillion in October


39 million Americans don't have enough to eat right now, and people are waiting in line for hours at food banks all over the nation just for some Thanksgiving handouts.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 12 percent of all Americans did not have enough food to eat between October 28th and November 9th.

Let's like clear about something. Politicians, the media, and of course the wealthy couldn't care less about the suffering of the working class.
However, they do care about getting sick and dying. So what's going to happen is that working class are going to be crushed, and only then, when the Covid cases spiked to unimaginable levels, will the ruling elites have an epiphany. That epiphany is you really are your brother's keeper.

like Jimmy says, we are a failed state...

Plenty of money to wage war and create suffering abroad, but not enough to take care of the peasants at home. I keep hearing the US is a neofeudalist country...in classic feudal times they took care of the serfs...perhaps that the neo part.

Sure is a sad state you present gjohnsit. Thanks for informing us.

[Nov 28, 2020] Krystal and Saagar- New Study Shows Deaths Of Despair Hitting Poor Working Class Of ALL Races

Nov 28, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Daniel George @drdanielgeorge • Nov 10 000

A research team I'm part of just published data looking at the 'diseases of despair' crisis over the last decade (full article is free and available online).

A brief summary of our findings below, and some thoughts....

Trends in the diagnosis of diseases of despair in the United States...

Background and objective Increasing mortality and decreasing life expectancy in the USA are largely attributable to accidental...

See also: Saagar Enjeti- How Both Parties FAILED Us On Stimulus Guaranteeing Mass Unemployment, Business Death - YouTube

[Nov 28, 2020] Diseases of despair diagnoses increase in Pennsylvania - EurekAlert! Science News

Nov 28, 2020 | www.eurekalert.org

Diseases of despair diagnoses increase in Pennsylvania

PENN STATE

Research News

AUDIO: FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLY 100 YEARS, LIFE EXPECTANCY IS DECREASING IN THE UNITED STATES. IN THIS EPISODE, DR. LARRY SINOWAY DISCUSSES THE DECLINE AND HOW IT RELATES TO... view more

CREDIT: PENN STATE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE INSTITUTE

Medical diagnoses involving alcohol-related disorders, substance-related disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors -- commonly referred to as diseases of despair -- increased in Pennsylvania health insurance claims between the years 2007 and 2018, according to researchers from Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics.

Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton proposed the concept of deaths of despair in 2015. Case and Deaton's research observed a decline in life expectancy of middle-aged white men and women between 1999 and 2015 -- the first such decline since the flu pandemic of 1918. They theorized that this decline is associated with the social and economic downturn in rural communities and small towns. These changes include loss of industry, falling wages, lower marriage rates, increasing barriers to higher education, an increase in one-parent homes and a loss of social infrastructure.

"It is theorized that these changes have fostered growing feelings of despair including disillusionment, precariousness and resignation in many peoples' lives," Daniel George, associate professor of humanities and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, said. "Despair can trigger emotional, cognitive, behavioral and even biological changes, increasing the likelihood of diseases that can progress and ultimately culminate in deaths of despair."

With the commonwealth's considerable rural and small-town population, particularly around Penn State campuses, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute led a research study to understand the rate of diseases of despair in Pennsylvania. Institute researchers collaborated with Highmark Health, one of the state's largest health insurance providers. Highmark provides employer-sponsored, individual, Affordable Care Act and Medicare plans.

Highmark Health's Enterprise Analytics team analyzed the claims of more than 12 million people on their plans from 2007 to 2018. Penn State did not have access to Highmark member data or individual private health information. Although the insurance claims included members from neighboring states, including West Virginia, Delaware, and Ohio, the majority of the claims were from Pennsylvania residents. Researchers reported their results in BMJ Open .

The researchers defined diseases of despair as diagnoses related to alcohol use, substance use and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. They searched the claims data for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes related to these diagnoses. ICD codes form a standardized system maintained by the World Health Organization and are used in health records and for billing.

The researchers found that the rate of diagnoses related to diseases of despair increased significantly in the Highmark claims in the past decade. Nearly one in 20 people in the study sample was diagnosed with a disease of despair. Between 2009 and 2018, the rates of alcohol-, substance-, and suicide-related diagnoses increased by 37%, 94% and 170%. Following Case and Deaton's findings, the researchers saw the most substantial percentage increase in disease of despair diagnoses among men ages 35 to 74, followed by women ages 55 to 74 and 18 to 34.

The rate of alcohol-related diagnoses significantly increased among men and women ages 18 and over. The most dramatic increases were among men and women ages 55 to 74. Rates increased for men in this age group by 50% and 80% for women.

The rate of substance-related diagnoses roughly doubled for men and women ages 35 to 54 and increased by 170% in ages 55 to 74. In 2018, the most recent year of claims included in the study, rates of substance-use diagnoses were highest in 18-to-34-year-olds.

The rate of diagnoses related to suicidal thoughts and behaviors increased for all age groups. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, rates increased by at least 200%. The rate for all other age groups increased by at least 60%.

The type of insurance patients had also mattered. People with Medicare insurance had 1.5 times higher odds of having a disease of despair diagnosis and those with Affordable Care Act insurance had 1.3 times higher odds.

One increase stood out to researchers: among infants, substance-related diagnoses doubled.

"This increase was entirely attributable to neonatal abstinence syndrome and corresponded closely with increases in substance-related disorders among women of childbearing age," Emily Brignone, senior research scientist, Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics, said.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a baby withdraws from substances, especially opioids, exposed to in the womb.

Future research can concentrate on identifying "hot spots" of diseases of despair diagnoses in the commonwealth to then study the social and economic conditions in these areas. With this data, researchers can potentially create predictive models to identify communities at risk and develop interventions.

"We found a broad view of who is impacted by increases in diseases of despair, which cross racial, ethnic and geographic groups," Jennifer Kraschnewski, professor of medicine, public health sciences and pediatrics, said. "Although originally thought to mostly affect rural communities, these increases in all middle-aged adults across the rural-urban continuum likely foreshadows future premature deaths."

###

National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health through Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute funded this research.

A podcast about this topic is available here.

Other researchers on this project were Lawrence Sinoway, director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute; Curren Katz and Robert Gladden, Highmark Health Enterprise Analytics; Charity Sauder, administrative director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute; and Andrea Murray, project manager, Penn State College of Medicine.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

[Nov 28, 2020] Deplorables, or Expendables

Notable quotes:
"... The Expendables: How the Middle Class got Screwed by Globalization ..."
"... The Innovation Illusion ..."
"... The Expendables ..."
"... Napoleon Linarthatos is a writer based in New York. ..."
Nov 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Home / Articles / Economy / Deplorables, Or Expendables? ECONOMY Deplorables, Or Expendables?

Rubin offers some valuable, albeit well-known, critiques of globalized trade, but doesn't go far beyond that. (By momente/Shutterstock)

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

|

12:01 AM

NAPOLEON LINARTHATOS

Back in 2013 a group of Apple employees decided to sue the global behemoth. Every day, after they were clocking out, they were required to go through a corporate screening where their personal belongings were examined. It was a process required and administered by Apple. But Apple did not want to pay its employees for the time it had required them to spend. It could be anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a year that an employee spent going through that process. What made Apple so confident in brazenly nickel-and-diming its geniuses?

Jeff Rubin, author of The Expendables: How the Middle Class got Screwed by Globalization , has an answer to the above question that is easily deduced from the subtitle of his book. The socio-economic arrangements produced by globalization have made labor the most flexible and plentiful resource in the economic process. The pressure on the middle class, and all that falls below it, has been so persistent and powerful, that now " only 37 percent of Americans believe their children will be better off financially than they themselves are. Only 24 percent in Canada or Australia feel the same. And in France, that figure dips to only 9 percent." And "[i]n the mid-1980s it would have taken a typical middle-income family with two children less than seven years of income to save up to buy a home; it now takes more than ten years. At the same time, housing expenditures that accounted for a quarter of most middle-class household incomes in the 1990s now account for a third ."

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.nakedcapitalism.com&width=838

The story of globalization is engraved in the " shuttered factories across North America, the boarded-up main streets, the empty union halls." Rubin does admit that there are benefits accrued from globalization, billions have been lifted up out of poverty in what was previously known as the third world, wealth has been created, certain efficiencies have been achieved. The question for someone in the western world is how much more of a price he's willing to pay to keep the whole thing going on, especially as we have entered a phase of diminishing returns for almost all involved.

As Joel Kotkin has written, "[e]ven in Asia, there are signs of social collapse. According to a recent survey by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, half of all Korean households have experienced some form of family crisis, many involving debt, job loss, or issues relating to child or elder care." And "[i]n "classless" China, a massive class of migrant workers -- over 280 million -- inhabit a netherworld of substandard housing, unsteady work, and miserable environmental conditions, all after leaving their offspring behind in villages. These new serfs vastly outnumber the Westernized, highly educated Chinese whom most Westerners encounter. " "Rather than replicating the middle-class growth of post–World War II America and Europe, notes researcher Nan Chen, 'China appears to have skipped that stage altogether and headed straight for a model of extraordinary productivity but disproportionately distributed wealth like the contemporary United States.'"

Although Rubin concedes to the globalist side higher GDP growth, even that does not seem to be so true for the western world in the last couple decades. Per Nicholas Eberstadt, in "Our Miserable 21st Century," "[b]etween late 2000 and late 2007, per capita GDP growth averaged less than 1.5 percent per annum." "With postwar, pre-21st-century rates for the years 2000–2016, per capita GDP in America would be more than 20 percent higher than it is today."

Stagnation seems to be a more apt characterization of the situation we are in. Fredrik Erixon in his superb The Innovation Illusion , argues that "[p]roductivity growth is going south, and has been doing so for several decades." "Between 1995 and 2009, Europe's labor productivity grew by just 1 percent annually." Noting that "[t]he four factors that have made Western capitalism dull and hidebound are gray capital, corporate managerialism, globalization, and complex regulation."

me title=

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.426.0_en.html#goog_1789765618 Ad ends in 15s

Contrary to popular belief, globalization has functioned as a substitute for innovation and growth. With globalization on the march, the western ruling class could continue to indulge in its most preferred activities, regulation and taxation, in an environment where both of these political addictions appeared sustainable. Non-western elites could perpetuate their authoritarian regimes, garnering growth and legitimacy, from the access to the western markets. Their copy-and-paste method of "innovation" from western firms would fit well with an indigenous business class composed of mostly insiders and ex-regime apparatchiks.

There are plenty of criticisms that can be laid at the feet of globalization. The issue with Rubin's book is that is does not advance very much beyond some timeworn condemnations of it. One gets the sense that the value of this book is merely in its audacity to question the conventional wisdom on the issue at hand. Rubin, who is somewhat sympathetic to Donald Trump, seems to be much closer to someone like Bernie Sanders, especially an earlier version of Sanders that dared to talk about the debilitating effects of immigration on the working class.

Like Sanders, Rubin starts to get blurry as he goes from the condemnation phase to the programmatic offers available. What exactly would be his tariffs policy, how far he would go? What would be the tradeoffs of this policy? Where we could demarcate a reasonable fair environment for the worker and industry and where we would start to create another type of a stagnation trap for the whole economy? All these would be important questions for Rubin to grapple with and would give to his criticisms more gravitas.

It would have also been of value if he had dealt more deeply with the policies of the Trump administration. On the one hand, the Trump administration cracked down on illegal and legal immigration. It also started to use tariffs and other trade measures as a way to boost industry and employment. On the other hand, it reduced personal and corporate taxes and it deregulated to the utmost degree possible. It was a kind of 'walled' laisser-faire that seemed to work until Covid-19 hit. Real household income in the U.S. increased $4,379 in 2019 over 2018. It was "more income growth in one year than in the 8 years of Obama-Biden." And during Trump's time, the lowest paid workers started not to just be making gains, but making gains faster than the wealthy. "Low-wage workers are getting bigger raises than bosses" ran a CBS News headline .

Rubin seems to view tax cuts and deregulation as another giveaway to large corporations. But these large corporations are just fine with high taxation, since they have a choice as to when and where they get taxed. Regulation is also more of a tool than a burden for them. It's a very expedient means for eliminating competitors and competition, a useful barrier to entry for any upstart innovator that would upend the industry they are in. Besides, if high taxation and regulation were a kind of antidote to globalization, then France would be in a much better shape than it appears to be. But France seems to be doing worse than anybody else. In the aforementioned poll about if their "children will be better off financially than they themselves are" France was at the bottom in the group of countries that Rubin cited. The recent events with the yellow-vests movement indicate a very deep dissatisfaction and pessimism of its middle and working class.

Moreover, there does not seem to be much hostility or even much contention between government bureaucracies and the upper echelons of the corporate world. Something that Rubin's politics and economics would necessitate. And cultural and political like-mindedness between government bureaucracies and the managerial class of large corporations is not just limited to the mutual embrace of woke politics. It seems that there is a cross pollination of a much broader set of ideas and habits between bureaucrats and the managerial class. For instance, Erixon notes that "[c]orporate managers shy away from uncertainty but turn companies into bureaucratic entities free from entrepreneurial habits. They strive to make capitalism predictable." Striving for predictability is a very bureaucratic state of mind.

In Rubin's book, missed trends like that make his perspective to feel a bit dated. There is still valuable information in The Expendables . Rubin does know a lot about international trade deals. For instance, a point that is often ignored in the press about international trade agreements is that "[i]f you're designated a "developing" country, you get to protect your own industries with tariffs that are a multiple of those that developed economies are allowed to use to protect their workers." A rule that China exploits to the utmost.

Meanwhile, Apple, after its apparent lawsuit loss on the case with its employees in California, now seems committed to another fight with the expendables of another locale. The Washington Post reported that "Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a bill aimed at preventing forced labor in China, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights." "The bill aims to end the use of forced Uighur labor in the Xinjiang region of China ." The war against the expendables never ends.

Napoleon Linarthatos is a writer based in New York.

[Nov 25, 2020] Any social programs that benefit the working class are, in fact, affirmative action programs

Notable quotes:
"... Identitarianism is a far more effective strategy at watering down the left than any Red Scare or McCarthyist witch hunt ever was. ..."
Nov 25, 2020 | www.youtube.com



Viewable11
, 2 days ago

"Affirmative Action" is an euphemism for bigotry.

parallelworldsguy , 5 days ago

"Any social programs that benefit the working class are, in fact, affirmative action programs."-Krystal. So true.


Nathaniel Allen
, 5 days ago

Damn, Krystal dropping one of her classic heaters today: "Affirmative action is the type of program that poses little threat and only benefits to affluent white liberals. It's the college admissions version of identity politics: more about getting brown faces in high places to make WHITE people feel good than it is about actually addressing the very real problems it seeks to ameliorate." - Krystal Ball


Will J
, 5 days ago

As a black person I hate to admit that I've bought into the BS all of this time but she is absolutely right. All of her data is correct. AA is just a tool for bourgeoisie blacks to get into better schools. Period. Nothing else. Stop trying to sell it as some saving grace that it is not. The point about student loans is exactly right. If you want to help a ton of black people with college then do something about this BS student loan situation.


Jackson Morgan
, 5 days ago

the term "brunch liberals" is pure gold 😂


Chris Colon
, 5 days ago

Identitarianism is a far more effective strategy at watering down the left than any Red Scare or McCarthyist witch hunt ever was.


halfeatenwaffle
, 9 hours ago (edited)

"White Saviors" is a way to say what we've been saying all along. Affirmative Action IS racist. You are saying that someone needs help because of their skin color, as if that makes them inferior. Racist.


Bert C
, 1 day ago

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America, by Ira Katznelson (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005), preface, appendix, index, 238 pp.


trinnas
, 9 hours ago

How does it help the poor to have $15 minimum wage when they are priced out of the job market and you have raised the overall cost of living?

[Nov 22, 2020] 'The Real Looting in America Is the Walton Family'- GAO Report Details How Taxpayers Subsidize Cruel Low Wages of Corporate G

Nov 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

'The Real Looting in America Is the Walton Family': GAO Report Details How Taxpayers Subsidize Cruel Low Wages of Corporate Giants Posted on November 19, 2020 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Pinpointing a reality denounced as " morally obscene " by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a new government study shows how some of the nation's largest and most profitable corporations -- including Walmart, McDonald's, Dollar General, and Amazon -- feast upon taxpayer money by paying their employees such low wages that huge numbers of those workers throughout the year are forced to rely on public assistance programs such as Medicaid and food assistance just to keep themselves and their families afloat.

According to a statement from Sanders' office, the study he commissioned the Government Accountability Office to carry out -- titled " Millions of Full-time Workers Rely on Federal Health Care and Food Assistance Programs " -- found that an estimated 5.7 million Medicaid enrollees and 4.7 million SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients who worked full-time for 50 or more weeks in 2018 earned wages so low that they qualified for these federal benefits. In addition, an estimated 12 million wage-earning adults enrolled in Medicaid and 9 million wage-earning adults living in households receiving SNAP benefits worked at some point in 2018.

Upon the study's release Wednesday, Warren Gunnels, staff director and policy adviser for Sen. Sanders, tweeted: "The real looting in America is the Walton family becoming $63 billion richer during a pandemic, while paying wages so low that 14,541 of their workers in 9 states need food stamps -- all subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. Yes. The Walton family is the real welfare queen in America."

According to the Washington Post :, based on the GAO report:

Walmart was one of the top four employers of SNAP and Medicaid beneficiaries in every state. McDonald's was in the top five of employers with employees receiving federal benefits in at least nine states.

In the nine states that responded about SNAP benefits -- Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington -- Walmart was found to have employed about 14,500 workers receiving the benefit, followed by McDonald's with 8,780, according to Sanders's team. In six states that reported Medicaid enrollees, Walmart again topped the list, with 10,350 employees, followed by McDonald's with 4,600.

In Georgia, for example, Walmart employed an estimated 3,959 workers on Medicaid -- an estimated 2.1 percent of the total of non-elderly, non-disabled people in the state receiving the benefit. McDonald's was next on the list, employing 1,480 who received Medicaid, or 0.8 percent of the total of non-elderly, non-disabled people on the program. "

"At a time when huge corporations like Walmart and McDonald's are making billions in profits and giving their CEOs tens of millions of dollars a year, they're relying on corporate welfare from the federal government by paying their workers starvation wages," said Sanders in a statement. "That is morally obscene."

With the individual wealth of high-ranking executives and members of billionaire families like the Walton's, who own Walmart, soaring even as front-line, minimum wage employees and their families struggling to stay afloat amid the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, Sanders argues that the stark contrast should be a wakeup call for those who have refused to see how unjust and economically backward it is for the federal government, meaning taxpayers, to subsidize the cruel wages that massive profitable companies force their workers to accept.

"U.S. taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize some of the largest and most profitable corporations in America," said Sanders. "It is time for the owners of Walmart, McDonald's and other large corporations to get off of welfare and pay their workers a living wage."

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=yvessmith&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1329208075790807041&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2020%2F11%2Fthe-real-looting-in-america-is-the-walton-family-gao-report-details-how-taxpayers-subsidize-cruel-low-wages-of-corporate-giants.html&siteScreenName=yvessmith&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

No one in this country should live in poverty," Sanders added. "No one should go hungry. No one should be unable to get the medical care they need. It is long past time to increase the federal minimum wage from a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to $15, and guarantee health care to all Americans as a human right."


fwe'theewell , November 19, 2020 at 11:44 am

These looters at the top don't just rely on welfare for their workers: they also rely on government assistance in other ways, such as favorable tax treatment and other goodies to bring their boondoggles to town, and of course trillions in infusions/ giveaways like we saw this year. Not to mention golden parachutes in corporate bankruptcies, facilitated by the "way things are done."

AGKaiser , November 20, 2020 at 9:50 am

don't forget: Walmart and others also profit by the food stamps spent in their grocery and Medicaid in their pharmacy.

fwe'theewell , November 20, 2020 at 8:51 pm

Dang, yes!

nycTerrierist , November 19, 2020 at 12:40 pm

more galling, if that's possible, Alice Walton postures as a 'philanthropist'

artwashing ill-gotten gains as the benefactress of lavish vanity museum Crystal Bridges:

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/hoard-doeuvres

""There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism," wrote Walter Benjamin. In precisely this vein, Walton's new Crystal Bridges museum offers American-made art to strategically cover up the ugly reality Walmart has created. Spanning the colonial era to the present, the exhibition space's fulsome celebration of the American spirit eulogizes the nation of shared confidence and abundance, sustainable mortgages, and worker dignity that Walmart has brutally demolished. The notion that Walton's supremely self-satisfied kunsthalle might serve as a balm, let alone a monument, to the market-battered American spirit is analogous to, say, Genghis Khan inviting survivors of his Mongol hordes to admire an installation of his plunder "

fwe'theewell , November 19, 2020 at 12:51 pm

This piece simply couldn't be written without a reference to Mongol hordes, of course.

Harry , November 19, 2020 at 4:59 pm

I suppose. Although no one relied on food stamps in the Great Khan Chingis' army.

Louis Fyne , November 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm

please don't forget Bezos even though he owns the WaPo

Same tactics. But I guess it's social acceptable to poo on the Waltons and Wal-Mart, but let us sweep Whole Foods and Amazon Prime under the rug

TimH , November 19, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Your 2nd para wins the straw man of the day award!

Louis Fyne , November 19, 2020 at 2:19 pm

As Amazon uses a network of subcontractors and contractors for everything for logistics to making toilet paper, all those employees will never show up on "official" stats re. Amazon.

it's called Lying with Statistics.
ymmv.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

No, his second paragraph does not straw man. It merely invites us to widen the scope of our vision.

mileyvirus , November 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm

I agree, I did not interpret that as a straw man. Amazon is just as damnable as Walmart in terms of corporate welfare/employee wages

TimH , November 20, 2020 at 9:34 pm

I called it a straw man because " but let us sweep Whole Foods and Amazon Prime under the rug" suggested that the piece had done that, when they weren't mentioned.

Basil Pesto , November 20, 2020 at 11:20 pm

I believe that is what 'sweeping under the rug' entails.

(I get your point, and am actually
pretty sympathetic to it. couldn't resist the snark tho.)

Objective Ace , November 19, 2020 at 1:54 pm

An equally accurate storyline could be–"Workers in at least 9 states would be forced to live off even more government handouts without Walmart's employment".

Its tough to give companies grief here simply for paying what the market dictates. I'm all for going after the route of the problem–monopsony power–but noting the symptoms without actually raising awareness of the underlying problem is a distraction that keeps the plebs anger directed where it can't have much effect on the bigger picture. Being mad at Walmart instead of the government policy that has destroyed unions and made it easier/cheaper to move jobs overseas isn't serving middle America. Ironically, this distraction serves Walmart quite well. They actually champion hire minimum wages as it stifles competition

Its an interesting thought experiment to imagine absolutely no minimum wages but a UBI and universal healthcare so that no one needed a job just to survive. Then Walmart could pay its employees any low amount and no one would bat an eye (although I suspect wages actually wouldnt fall because walmart would lose its monopsony power)

fwe'theewell , November 19, 2020 at 2:23 pm

Government policy doesn't write itself: lobbyists guide the pen, and donors/ owners like Walmart pull the guides' puppet strings. "Personal responsibility" goes both ways.

To use yesterday's metaphor, I'd say that the PMC is like the human being co-driver in a "self"-driving car programmed by capital.

Objective Ace , November 19, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Definitely. And focusing on those issues (which are the actual issues) is better than focusing on the symptoms

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Though if we can get people to admit they feel the symptoms by describing the symptoms, some of those people might then be ready and willing to hear about the disease which is giving them the symptoms.

fwe'theewell , November 20, 2020 at 8:52 pm

A good point

bulfinch , November 19, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Tempting as it might be to shape the narrative so that the Walmarts of the World appear more like hapless innovators, shrewdly capitalizing on a crooked playing field, it only works if you blinker yourself to the fact that the WotW have at least 8 of the ten fingers on the hands architecting those same playing fields.

Objective Ace , November 19, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Don't get me wrong–I'm not trying to say Walmart is hapless. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I actually think they're so shrewd they want you to focus on these press releases about how they pay so little. If the only thing that stems from that is increasing the minimum wage, they come out big time winners

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Here's what the market dictates. " I can get 10 interns who will pay ME to LET them do your job. Now shut up and get back to work." The way to stop the Market Dictatorship of what wages will be is to impose a Legal Dictatorship on the market of what wages will be.

That's what the Wages and Hours Act was about to begin with. Make it a long-sentence hard-time felony to pay less or to take less. Abolish Free Trade in goods , services or people. That means Sealing the Borders to create zero immigration for as long as necessary to use the labor shortage to torture the employER class into raising wages and conditions upward. And to weld shut the "illegal immigration escape hatch" by which employERS ( including limousine liberals) pay less than the legally imposed minimum wage.

BlakeFelix , November 19, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Ya, I agree. Providing health care and making sure kids have food and education are subsidies that help businesses in a healthy way. And a UBI is a great idea as well! Toss in a Carbon tax, and you have my ideal policy.

Carolinian , November 19, 2020 at 11:12 pm

We've had this debate here for years so the above article is a bit of a recycled chestnut rather than an original thought.

And perhaps the answer for the "outrage" of those Walmart heirs is to reestablishment a meaningful inheritance tax since receiving billions through death is indeed an entitlement and not just for the Walmart heirs but also for plenty of mansion owners dotting the Northeast.

As for the company itself, yes it's a crappy and low paid place to work but they are hardly unique in that and one reason they top those mentioned lists, along with McDonalds, is that they are the number one and number two employers by number of employees in the country. And the reason they are so large is that they give their custormers what they want and can afford which cannot be said of so many competing looters that the author ignores.

There are lots of worse companies than Walmart but in the battle of the coastals versus the deplorables they have always made a fat juicy target for those who probably pay their hired help less than Walmart does its "associates."

Kirk Seidenbecker , November 19, 2020 at 2:34 pm

$15/Hr.? Thought it was more like $22/Hr. if minimum wage had kept pace with the rise in productivity.

https://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage1-2012-03.pdf

LC , November 19, 2020 at 9:28 pm

Right!?
I keep thinking about how at 15/hour people will lose what small piece of our social safety net that keeps them "making it". No family is purchasing health insurance on that increase. And really the few dollars per hour might not even make up the food benefits for a medium sized family. It's scary to get a raise where you end up worse off then before.
I mean I guess that's just the messed up reality when a whole bunch of household costs have been introduced or increased since policies using means testing (income and asset thresholds) to determine access. Actually I am sure ok not sure but it would make sense that these companies know exactly how much pay will kick these employees off benefits. So the employee community is less likely to make a fuss for small increases in pay which is the norm we have come to accept as workers. I'm all for real talk minimum/ living wages for the communities people actually live in.

Carla , November 20, 2020 at 6:38 am

That's why expanded, improved Medicare for All has to be implemented ALONG WITH the $15 (or $22) minimum wage.

Chauncey Gardiner , November 19, 2020 at 2:42 pm

"Corporate welfare queens" As others have noted, it isn't just Walmart and the Waltons. Trying to think of an appropriate term to describe the outcome of the decision by a majority of the US Supreme Court justices in the Citizens United case that not only enabled but tacitly encouraged One Percent, corporate, Wall Street, executive branch, legislators' and central bank behavior that, although still a cycle, has led to the opposite of a "virtuous cycle". "Morally obscene", corrupt and corruptible, and dishonorable are some descriptions of resultant behavior that come to mind. Too bad "The Swamp" wasn't drained, but has been further expanded and left both legacy political parties tarnished. It is said that a fish rots from the head down. That may be so, but that doesn't mean the rot cannot be allowed to set in. Follow the Money.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 3:21 pm

It turns out that when the TrumpAdmin used the phrase " the Swamp", what they strictly specifically and only meant were the impartial scientists at the various departments , bureaus and agencies. And they have done all they could to drain out the impartial scientists and stop the science. Which is all they ever meant by "drain the Swamp".

howseth , November 19, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Citizens United decision was a display of right wing insanity in all it's glory: I suppose insanity was either baked into the Constitution – or in 1780 – was not yet insanity?
Still can't get over that decision – ever since, my thought: term limits for friggen federal judges – and certainly the SCOTUS crew and throw in Congress and the Senate as well.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 10:21 pm

We have term limits for state officeholders in Michigan. All that mostly gets us is cynical amateurs who view their limited term as a chance to make contacts and audition for lobbying/law/etc. jobs after leaving office.

And the non-cynical amateurs who want to make things better are term-limited out of office just when they are finally learning where all the hidden levers, ropes, pulleys, secret trap doors are. Meanwhile, the lobbyists are not term limited.

Term limits for national office would make some things worse while making nothing better.

howseth , November 20, 2020 at 12:39 am

Ah, those immortal lobbyists! Term limits for politicians – combined with limits on lobbyists. One can dream. No? I'd like to try it. How can we actually drain the Swamp/
Oh. Crap. We have a Supreme Court. Freedom to Lobby infinitely. Freedom of bribery – I mean freedom of speech.
OK, So nothing can be done. Perhaps state office holders are a different thing then National politicians? (Yeah, maybe not) But Do you want to remove the term limits on our President then? No? I'd keep that limit.
Should we just resign ourselves to be stuck with this stuff till the Sun expands and swallows the USA? The future colony on Mars will have a better way? Not likely.

Carla , November 20, 2020 at 7:18 am

We have term limits. They're called elections. If/when there's something wrong with Democracy, fix Democracy. If/when there's something wrong with the Constitution, fix the Constitution

In most cases, artificial term limits don't do either. I would say there are two exceptions: limiting the presidency to two terms, and limiting the tenure of federal judges. In the latter case, 18-year term limits have been suggested, and that could be the right number, I'm not sure.

Now, with respect to fixing Democracy and the Constitution, for a First Step, please see HJR-48: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only -- oh, by the way, stating that money does not equal speech.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/text

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Every looting is real looting. Little looters in the streets are real looters. Big looters in the suites are real looters.

Since the big looting is currently legal in many cases, laws would have to be changed to stop the big looters looting. Its worth trying to do. It won't happen with Joemala and McConnell conspiring together to stop it from happening.

We need to elect a Red Gingrich minority of officeholders into the House and into the Senate. The "squad" could be the nucleus of that if they decide to center economic justice instead of critical race wokeness.

Burn down the House. And the Senate too.

Carla , November 20, 2020 at 7:19 am

"Joemala" -- Love it!

Watt4Bob , November 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm

If China didn't have the Waltons, they would have found another family glad to help them destroy our small retailers.

Our government gave tax breaks to corporations moving manufacturing to China, and to Walmart, and others peddling what used to be made here.

And now, to add insult to injury, they're telling you to " Learn to code" because the problem is, you don't have any employable skills.

polecat , November 19, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Congrease had/has the legal power to enact legislation with which to reign in what has become the early 21st century gilded age .. but they refuse to .. Nearly ALL of them have their dirty proboscii harpooning the lowly constituents who elected them ..too busy sucking any and all of plebian bodilyeconomic liquidity whilst paying deference to the know-it-all, BigTime-parasitic Oligarchic Brainbugs!

drumlin woodchuckles , November 19, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Abolish Free Trade and we could dry up the tidal wave of cheapest things which floats Walmart's boat to wealth and power.

sharonsj , November 20, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Not gonna happen. Apparently Biden will likely sign the TPP.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 21, 2020 at 2:24 am

If Biden does that, then Trump himself could very well win again if he runs in 2024. If that scenario plays out that way, I hope Trump picks Ivanka to be his VP running mate. That way, Ivanka would be on track to be America's first woman president. I just hope Hillary would live long enough to see that happen.

PeasantParty , November 19, 2020 at 4:38 pm

I used to dread the Friday news drops. The unemployment numbers, employed people in minimum wage jobs, workers at home working away, and major inflation in the grocery stores are hitting people extremely hard coming up to Holiday season. I really can't wait to see the Friday news drops now. Not just the Trump temper tantrum stuff, but the economic quips they make. Then what is totally mind blowing are the comments on social media. Some people that are not hurting much, or at all seem to think that all things are fine as wine in the rest of the country. I know this reply does not specifically comment on your article, but it is a wide view of the current situation.

Shiloh1 , November 19, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Walmart and Bezos are the symptoms of two generations of Congressional criminality.

Exhibit A: "I say to the Walton Family..,"

cynical observer , November 19, 2020 at 10:41 pm

With the computers and big data, the simplest solution is to claw back the benefits paid to the employees from the corporations, call it humanitarian tax.

But, it would be hard to find a lobbyist to write it, even harder to find a sponsor in the congress.

edmondo , November 19, 2020 at 11:30 pm

That would destroy the ability of these people to get jobs and to receive benefits.

I think you might have the cause and effect mixed up. In my state, anyone who gets SNAP benefits has to work at least 20 hours a week. These "bad" employers are the ones with flexible schedules and because the jobs are so crappy, they are readily available. Maybe it's not that WalMartb workers need benefits, it's that the benefits recipient needs WalMart and McDonalds.

sharonsj , November 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Every state is different. I just have to show proof of income (which I have, though I don't have a job). But the amount of SNAP you get varies widely. I am 150% of poverty level and the state of Pennsylvania just raised my monthly benefit to $16.50.

Ook , November 19, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Another way to put it: Walmart, McDonald's, Dollar General, and Amazon are really government stores with outsourced management and labor.
Socialism American-style.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 21, 2020 at 2:25 am

Life in the CSSA. ( Corporate Soviet States of America).

sharonsj , November 20, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Whenever I am in Walmart or any supermarket with automatic check out, I avoid automatic check out completely and only go to regular check out, no matter how long the line is. Automatic check out is a precursor to eventually firing all human cashiers. In my "larger" town, where I often end up in Walmart for the cheaper pet food, an Aldi's was built precisely opposite it, across the road. I heard an Aldi's employee saying they get paid better than Walmart. And lots of their prices are the same or better. So I will be spending a lot more time there.

Elaine Williams , November 21, 2020 at 10:37 am

This is not new news. We are too used to Walmart's superlow prices to do anything about it. This will continue long after I'm gone.

[Nov 14, 2020] 'There's a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions and workers'- Biden wants to undo Trump executive orders on federal workers

Nov 14, 2020 | www.msn.com

'There's a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions and workers': Biden wants to undo Trump executive orders on federal workers Andrew Keshner 6 hrs ago


Grandfather sentenced to more than 500 years in jail ordered to be released Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in Washington DC to protest MarketWatch logo 'There's a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions and workers': Biden wants to undo Trump executive orders on federal workers a man standing in front of a brick building: Are executive orders on labor rules in store for government workers in a Biden administration? © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Are executive orders on labor rules in store for government workers in a Biden administration?

President Donald Trump used executive orders to put up roadblocks for unions representing federal employees, and now President-elect Joe Biden seems poised to reverse those moves.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump signed executive orders mandating stricter deadlines and procedures when federal workers collectively negotiated new contracts, curbing on-the-clock time for union duties as well as giving some under-performing workers tight time frames to boost their performance.

In January 2021, newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden is likely to pull back those same orders, according to union members, who say the orders have weakened their ability to ensure rank and file staffers are treated fairly.

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The Biden transition team didn't respond to a request for comment, but Biden's campaign website has signaled that the president-elect will address these issues: "There's a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions, and workers. It's been raging for decades, and it's getting worse with Donald Trump in the White House."

The President-Elect, among other things, supports laws that would penalize companies trying to interfere with worker organizing efforts, according to his website.

Biden is expected to rely on executive orders for government policy if he cannot make changes through law in a divided Congress.

"This is not just about employees," said Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "Ultimately, this is good for American taxpayers to have federal employees and agency leaders communicating and taking action together to solve problems before there's a grievance and a lawsuit."

Reardon, who heads a union with 150,000 members, said he and his staff had heard from Biden and his campaign in the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election. "The President-Elect, he was clear with me that he is extremely supportive of labor unions and of workers' rights," Reardon said.

There's a different point of view from management. "In some ways, you look at [the executive orders] and go 'Why weren't these there before?'" said Scott Witlin, who represents private-sector employers as a partner at Barnes & Thornburg.

There's nothing that's unreasonable on its face in the Trump administration orders, he said, such as a six-month limit on negotiations. "Six months would be an exceedingly long private-sector negotiation," he said.


Video: City leaders warn of possible new restrictions as COVID spikes statewide (WWL-TV New Orleans)

Play Video City leaders warn of possible new restrictions as COVID spikes statewide Click to expand

In certain ways, the potential executive orders on federal workers are a narrow matter.

The federal government employed almost 3.8 million people in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Of that sum, 1.15 million were represented by unions, the agency said, noting that the category groups together union members and workers without union affiliation who have jobs covered by union or employee association contracts.

But it's also a peek at the president-elect's larger views on organized labor.

Declining union membership

Last year, there were 14.6 million salary and wage workers who were members of a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's just over 10% of the workforce, and a 10-percentage-point drop from 1983, the first year comparable statistics became available, the agency said.

There's a range of reasons why union ranks keep thinning, observers say . That ranges from the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act allowing "union shops" only when a majority of workers voted for the idea, to globalization -- which sent off factory jobs -- to state-level "right to work" laws that bar unions from collecting dues from non-union workers covered in their contracts.

Though right-to-work opponents say those kinds of laws eat into a union's to support itself, proponents say it's not fair to force workers into unions that they don't feel are acting in their best interest.

The three Trump administration executive orders frame their focus as a matter of promoting efficiency to avoid long, drawn out negotiations that could get in the way of carrying out official duties.

Celine McNicholas, director of government affairs at the left-leaning think tank the Economic Policy Institute, said Trump's orders focused on federal workers not because he had it out for them especially, but because "he could accomplish those attacks through the stroke of a pen."

The Trump administration orders "were designed in order to make it impossible for unions to fulfill their representation obligations under the law," said Jacqueline Simon, public policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, a union comprised of 700,000 federal and District of Columbia government workers.

Reardon said the orders weren't necessary. "There is absolutely nothing about labor and management sitting down together and collaborating in work that suggests they can't create efficiencies." And there were already procedures to remove under-performing employees, he added.

Various unions, including the AFGE and NTEU, sued over the orders. Ultimately, the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the unions' challenges last year.

Reardon said he's seen the consequences of the new orders, which result in "sham" bargaining. Some NTEU members work at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he noted. In the aftermath of the orders, Reardon said agency negotiators cut the talks short because they were bound by the orders' rules on what could and couldn't be the focus of talks.

The sides still haven't come to an agreement, said Reardon.

"HHS is working with employees and their union representation to improve the operations of the department with the aim of making the federal government a better place to work and better able to deliver the services to the American people," an HHS spokeswoman said in a statement.


[Nov 07, 2020] I grew up in the 50's, when a single wage earner was able to buy a modest house, own a car, and provide for the average family, including medical costs, college plans, etc. Those days have long gone due to the ongoing debasement of the currency

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

naiverealist , Nov 6 2020 16:32 utc | 75

I am seeing quite a few references to a $15/hr minimum wage as a target for a "living wage". I feel this is merely misdirection from the real problems with our money system.

First, let me say that I fully support the idea of a "living wage". After all, I grew up in the 50's, when a single wage earner was able to buy a modest house, own a car, and provide for the average family, including medical costs, college plans, etc. Those days have long gone due to the ongoing debasement of the currency. Thus, it doesn't matter what you establish as the minimum wage this year, by next year it will have to be raised again (and again, and again, . . . ). So, why pick a $15 number when $20, $25, etc. are in the future of an inflating currency.

To suggest a way to break this cycle, please abide with me as I relate a personal anecdote.

In the late 60's I was negotiating a job with a particularly cantankerous cheapskate. I told him that I would work for him for $1/ hour. He got really elated and was ready to formalize the position when I continued ". . . but that dollar has to be a silver dollar." He broke off negotiations immediately. I didn't care. I really didn't want to work for him. Silver was still cheap in those days.

Anyway, look at the price of a silver dollar now, and ask yourself if that would be a "living wage" today. (The melt value of a silver dollar (about .77 oz) is around $20 excluding any premiums or numismatic value.)

I contend that debasement of the currency (the US dollar) by removing all silver (and copper) from coins and gold backing from the paper dollar has caused more of the economic problems (IMHO) of the average person we see today.

[Oct 15, 2020] Northern 'Working Class' Brits need to lose the chip on their shoulder and stop expecting other people to solve their problems -- RT Op-ed

Oct 15, 2020 | www.rt.com

Northern 'Working Class' Brits need to lose the chip on their shoulder and stop expecting other people to solve their problems Chris Sweeney Chris Sweeney

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney 14 Oct, 2020 14:18 / Updated 14 hours ago Get short URL Northern 'Working Class' Brits need to lose the chip on their shoulder and stop expecting other people to solve their problems © Getty Images/Peter Byrne/PA Images 26 Follow RT on RT The traditional blue collar areas of the UK are complaining of being treated with less respect and urgency by Boris Johnson, than the more affluent parts of the country - but their argument doesn't stack up.

Britain is riddled by a class system. This is largely down to the exaggeration of those who self-identify as "working class".

A snapshot is the cliché thrown around that to be Prime Minister, you have to attend either Oxford or Cambridge. For those outside of the UK, the insinuation is that you come from an affluent background, can afford private education which enabled you to enter one of the two famous universities. Boris Johnson is the poster child for this privileged group of blue bloods.

READ MORE Britain has always been unfair, unequal and divided – Covid-19 has only served to show this in even more stark relief Britain has always been unfair, unequal and divided – Covid-19 has only served to show this in even more stark relief

But James Callaghan was Prime Minster before Margaret Thatcher took over in 1979, and couldn't afford to go to university so never went. Neither did her successor, John Major. Gordon Brown who followed Tony Blair, attended the University of Edinburgh and is well-regarded as the most intellectual of recent PMs.

There's no denying the political system has a bias towards Oxbridge alumni, but people have smashed the glass ceiling and, in fact, even of the PMs who did attend Oxford or Cambridge between 1964 and 1997, Wilson, Heath and Thatcher, none were privately educated.

Why this is pertinent now, is because of the hysteria sweeping Britain's North complaining of playing with a loaded deck. The gripe is that London and the wealthier pockets of society are being allowed more attention and flexibility during Covid.

The South of England is the spiritual home of The Conservatives, the land of the millionaire stockbroker and art history scholar. The North, Wales and Scotland have traditionally been enemy territory, due to their cities being built on manufacturing, coal mining and industry. In our current scenario, this Northern population are being driven by a chip on their shoulders.

London dominates commerce and business, it's a global financial centre. Even so, some of the capital city's inhabitants are under the misapprehension that Northerners dream of a "London life". They don't.

The two pillars of British culture; football and music are defined far more successfully outside of London, than they ever have been inside.

The same discombobulation happens in the other direction and because the Northern towns are more parochial, they impact on a bigger scale.

ALSO ON RT.COM 'No peasants, please': BoJo's love-in with Bill Gates on Twitter shows just how broken UK democracy really is

Over the last few days, the British government has tightened restrictions particularly in the North, across the three tiers - they are the only region in the most severe tranche. But chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new scheme to pay two-thirds of any employees' wages, if their place of work is forced to shut.

Large firms who close can claim grants up to £3,000 per month and smaller businesses are entitled to £1,300. That's on top of the Job Support Scheme, which kicks-in for anyone working at least a third of their normal hours. The government will subsidise the remaining two-thirds (up to £2,100).

This follows furlough, which has been paying 80 percent of salaries (up to £2,500 per month) of 12 percent of Britain's workforce. Sunak said : "The primary goal of our economic policy remains unchanged - to support people's jobs...I cannot save every business, I cannot save every job."

Northern politicians have been quick to dog whistle.

Mayor of Greater Manchester , Andy Burnham complained: "They're trying to pressurise people into tier three, even though it will do certain harm to those economies, often quite fragile economies in the north."

Liverpool's mayor Steve Rotheram felt he wasn't consulted enough and said: "it was made clear to us that government would be doing this regardless of if we engaged with them or not."

Whipping up a frenzy ahead of the new rules, Frank McKenna, chief executive of lobby group Downtown in Business , ranted: "I cannot overstate the devastation that this will cause to Liverpool and other parts on northern England if these plans are adopted."

ALSO ON RT.COM I've gone from pro-lockdown to NO lockdown. Here's why people must take over from inept governments and learn to live with Covid

Covid is slitting the wrists of our economy. Unemployment has risen to 4.5 percent . But the pain is everywhere.

National debt stands at £2 trillion and will remain at over 100 percent of GDP, until 2025 at least. New research shows Aberdeen has the highest remaining income (£1,487.82), after monthly costs are deducted from average salaries.

Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle all rate above London on the same scale. The residents of the capital are left with £260.97.

London has a glut of millionaires and average figures are distorting. But that's the crux - statistics and points of view can be massaged.

This antipathy from the North is driven by rose-tinted spectacles. Those in the world of financial services earn more than their blue-collar counterparts.

That's because fewer people are capable of these jobs and they generate significantly more wealth than a manual or semi-skilled worker. This is not a criticism of manual workers, just a fact of life. Parity would be neither fair nor achievable. Living standards are determined by income, those working in commerce are also able to continue unabated, due to technology and video conferencing.

ALSO ON RT.COM Boris Johnson 'forcing' pubs in the North of England to close is a cultural car crash bound to cause more trouble than it cures

The arrival of Covid wasn't Britain's doing and Boris Johnson has handled it appallingly, for everyone. But even so there has been a herculean level of financial assistance, with The Treasury opening the cheque book like never before. Along with the other schemes, they've just handed £257 million to arts organisations across England.

Some elements of the Westminster machine are working for us all, the complaining masses in the North need to respect that. Moaning about being left dangling by the upper classes is just jealously at not having what others do.

Life isn't fair but the government's Covid assistance has been, so stop the self-pity.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Sep 29, 2020] The Most Miserable Place On Earth: Disney Firing 28,000 Workers

Sep 29, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Two-thirds of the newly laid-off workers are part-time employees: they will be happy to know that Disney loaded up on massive debt so it could fund stock buybacks.

[Sep 23, 2020] How Globalization Destroyed the Western Middle Class

Notable quotes:
"... "Another chasm opened between middle-class Westerners and their wealthy compatriots. Here, too, the middle class lost ground. It seemed that the wealthiest people in rich countries and almost everybody in Asia benefited from globalization, while only the middle class of the rich world lost out in relative terms. These facts supported the notion that the rise of "populist" political parties and leaders in the West stemmed from middle-class disenchantment. ..."
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com

HOW GLOBALIZATION DESTROYED THE WESTERN MIDDLE CLASS Published: September 15, 2020
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SOURCE: INSIGHT HISTORY

The world is becoming more equal but largely at the expense of middle-class Westerners, according to a recent paper by Branko Milanovic , a Stone Center Senior Scholar and a Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. Milanovic's paper was published in Foreign Affairs, the publication of the think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and was titled: The World Is Becoming More Equal, Even as Globalization Hurts Middle-Class Westerners . Broadly speaking, globalization is the process of increased " worldwide integration of the economic, cultural, political, religious, and social systems" of the globe, producing an increased flow of goods, capital, labour, and information, across national borders. It was a process that gained steam particularly in the mid-1980s, with globalization having the greatest transformative impact on life since the Industrial Revolution .

Milanovic's paper starts by arguing that the world became more equal between the end of the Cold War and 2007/08 financial crisis, a period of high globalization. During this period however, globalization weakened the middle class in the West. As Milanovic writes :

"The results highlighted two important cleavages [or divisions]: one between middle-class Asians and middle-class Westerners and one between middle-class Westerners and their richer compatriots. In both comparisons, the Western middle class was on the losing end. Middle-class Westerners saw less income growth than (comparatively poorer) Asians, providing further evidence of one of the defining dynamics of globalization: in the last 40 years, many jobs in Europe and North America were either outsourced to Asia or eliminated as a result of competition with Chinese industries. This was the first tension of globalization: Asian growth seems to take place on the backs of the Western middle class."

Milanovic continues :

"Another chasm opened between middle-class Westerners and their wealthy compatriots. Here, too, the middle class lost ground. It seemed that the wealthiest people in rich countries and almost everybody in Asia benefited from globalization, while only the middle class of the rich world lost out in relative terms. These facts supported the notion that the rise of "populist" political parties and leaders in the West stemmed from middle-class disenchantment. "

Milanovic goes on to note that in an updated paper that looks at incomes in 130 countries from 2008 to 2013-14, the first tension of globalization holds true: in that, the incomes of the non-Western middle class grew more than the incomes of the middle class in the West. The impact of globalization on the Western middle class is imperative to understand. Globalization is a process that has produced winners and losers , and the Western middle class has been the greatest loser.

In my opinion, any system that weakens the middle class in any country should be seen as counterproductive. Having a strong middle class is one of the most important tenets in building a strong, prosperous, and stable society. The middle class serves as the bedrock of any country: those who comprise the middle-class work hard, pay taxes, and buy goods. A true solution to poverty in underdeveloped countries would create more prosperity for everyone, not take prosperity from one region and redirect it into another. This so-called solution creates at least as many problems as it supposedly solves.

Globalization has produced, and will seemingly continue to produce, a global standardization of wealth in many ways. For those special interests who are in the process of creating a global system, an economic uniformity across the globe is advantageous for the creation of this one-world system.

Sources

Globalization Definition, Oxford Reference - https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095855259

MÜNCHAU , W. (24 April, 2016) The revenge of globalisation's losers, Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/a4bfb89a-0885-11e6-a623-b84d06a39ec2

Milanovic, B. (28 Aug. 2020) The World Is Becoming More Equal, Even as Globalization Hurts Middle-Class Westerners. Foreign Affairs https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2020-08-28/world-economic-inequality

Milanovic, B. (13 May, 2016) Why the Global 1% and the Asian Middle Class Have Gained the Most from Globalization, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2016/05/why-the-global-1-and-the-asian-middle-class-have-gained-the-most-from-globalization

Vanham, P. (17 Jan. 2019) A brief history of globalization, World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-globalization-4-0-fits-into-the-history-of-globalization/

[Sep 23, 2020] "THE $2.5 TRILLION THEFT"- RAND study uncovers massive income shift to the top 1%

Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com

"THE $2.5 TRILLION THEFT": RAND STUDY UNCOVERS MASSIVE INCOME SHIFT TO THE TOP 1% Published: September 15, 2020
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SOURCE: FASTCOMPANY.COM

Just how far has the working class been left behind by the winner-take-all economy? A new analysis by the RAND Corporation examines what rising inequality has cost Americans in lost income -- and the results are stunning.

A full-time worker whose taxable income is at the median -- with half the population making more and half making less -- now pulls in about $50,000 a year. Yet had the fruits of the nation's economic output been shared over the past 45 years as broadly as they were from the end of World War II until the early 1970s, that worker would instead be making $92,000 to $102,000. (The exact figures vary slightly depending on how inflation is calculated.)

The findings, which land amid a global pandemic, help to illuminate the paradoxes of an economy in which so-called essential workers are struggling to make ends meet while the rich keep getting richer .

"We were shocked by the numbers," says Nick Hanauer , a venture capitalist who came up with the idea for the research along with David Rolf, founder of Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union and president of the Fair Work Center in Seattle. "It explains almost everything. It explains why people are so pissed off. It explains why they are so economically precarious."

Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018 [Chart: Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards, RAND Corporation]
"THE $2.5 TRILLION THEFT"

Notably, it isn't just those in the middle who've been hit. RAND found that full-time, prime-age workers in the 25th percentile of the U.S. income distribution would be making $61,000 instead of $33,000 had everyone's earnings from 1975 to 2018 expanded roughly in line with gross domestic product, as they did during the 1950s and '60s.

Workers in the 75th percentile would be at $126,000 instead of $81,000. Remarkably, even those in the 90th percentile would be better off than they are now if economic growth had been shared as it was in the post-war era. They'd be making $168,000 rather than $133,000.

Tally it all up, according to RAND, and the bottom 90% of American workers would be bringing home an additional $2.5 trillion in total annual income if economic gains were as equitably divided as they'd been in the past -- leading Rolf to dub the phenomenon "the $2.5 trillion theft."

"From the standpoint of people who have worked hard and played by the rules and yet are participating far less in economic growth than Americans did a generation ago," he says, "whether you call it 'reverse distribution' or 'theft,' it demands to be called something."

The RAND data also makes clear who the winners from inequality are: those in the top 1%.

Of course, they'd be in a less advantageous position if the economic pie had been divvied up since the mid-1970s like it was previously. If that were the case, RAND says, yearly income for the average one-percenter would fall from about $1.2 million to $549,000.

[Sep 22, 2020] Stop smoking, ditch the pyjamas, stay at your desk- how 'bossware' technology is secretly monitoring you working at home -- RT Op-ed

Sep 22, 2020 | www.rt.com

Think you can take a sneaky break or have a lie-in because you're 'working' remotely? Forget it. Employers are increasingly deploying surveillance software to check how productive staff are at home.

Lockdown and its aftermath has led more and more employees to work from home. Many big firms have already said they won't even attempt to get back staff back to the office until next year, at the earliest, amid discussions about how working from home could become the new normal for at least part of the week.

Working from home has a lot of advantages for many people. It can make childcare easier, for example. Employees can avoid having to deal with annoying colleagues, or coughing up for long, expensive and often uncomfortable commutes.

They can also avoid having their bosses constantly looking over their shoulder – or can they?

Employers are using ever more sophisticated measures to keep tabs on their home-working staff, anxious that they might be shirking, and introducing new rules governing how their workers appear and act.

One large London employer, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, has even gone as far as banning its employees from smoking at their desks at home, demanding that " any part of a private dwelling used solely for work purposes will be required to be smoke-free " and that " family members should not be allowed to smoke in the home worker's office ". The council claims the policy has since been dropped, presumably because it is unenforceable. (Though, with webcams now ubiquitous, maybe not.) It's also irrational, since smoking at home can hardly affect your colleagues or the public image of your employer.

ALSO ON RT.COM A second lockdown for Britain? The evidence simply doesn't justify it

Smokers have long been in the vanguard of interference in our private lives. But having precedent for interference in our private lives having been established, the rules applied to smokers have inspired other kinds of meddling.

Most obvious in the current situation is the use of technological measures to monitor staff. Such surveillance is not new, but it's taken on a new importance and is much more widespread in the Covid era. A recent feature in Wired notes the rise of this surveillance culture. As author Alex Christian notes:

" As coronavirus lays waste to workplaces around the world, surveillance software has flourished: programs such as ActivTrak, Time Doctor, Teramind and Hubstaff have all reported a post-lockdown sales surge. Once installed, they offer an array of covert monitoring tools, with managers able to view screenshots, login times and keystrokes at will to ensure employees remain on track working remotely. Although marketed as productivity software, the technology – dubbed as 'bossware' for its secrecy and invasiveness – has led to many workers finding creative ways of evading its omniscient gaze ."

Employees working within these strictures face a reprimand or even the sack for low productivity or taking too long on their break. One app, Sneek, covertly takes photos of employees to see if they are at their desks. Project management programs such as Jira and Basecamp, meanwhile, can allow bosses to spot when workers are not maintaining a high level of output. Frequent online team meetings on Zoom or Microsoft Teams can ensure staff are at least thinking about work – and woe betide anyone who's still in their pyjamas or doesn't show up at all.

Of course, there are workarounds if you're smart enough. One way is to move your mouse regularly – or to instal software to give the illusion it's being moved. But the whole thing has the potential to create a sense that Big Brother Bossman is watching you constantly.

ALSO ON RT.COM Making the wearing of face masks compulsory is inconsistent, illogical, illiberal & divisive

It's bad enough that working from home leads many people into the trap of blurring work and home life. That time on the commute, when you might at least be reading or listening to music or a podcast, becomes work time. It's easy to see how all of this leads to the intensification of work.

Moreover, working from home deprives us of the solidarity and consolation of colleagues. It's harder to band together to push back against the imposition of new rules and regulations if you don't see your peers face to face. Many jobs are intense and stressful, but working in an office allows staff to sound off to each other informally in the pub on a Friday night – or maybe hear about better opportunities elsewhere.

Working from home can also be a disaster for younger employees, who need to learn the ropes from their experienced colleagues. It's harder to learn, and to make a good impression with those that count, over video calls.

While a middle-class employee with a comfortable and spacious home may wax lyrical about the benefits of working from home, for many people, it's becoming an ever more intensive and stressful experience. Knowing that your boss could be spying on you just adds paranoia and fear to the mix.

We may well be heading backwards in the world of work. In pre-industrial times and beyond, garment-makers would work themselves to death during long hours to service the demands of buyers, paid as they were by the piece and not by the hour, and isolated in their home from other such workers. We need to be very careful that the modern, connected, domesticated workplace doesn't take us down the same route.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


[Sep 10, 2020] Is BLM the Mask behind which the Oligarchs Operate, by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
In short black people are used as pawns in the political struggle between two neoliberal clans fighting for power, using students without perspectives of gaining meaningful employment as a ram. We saw this picture before in a different country. And riots do reverse gains achieved in civil right struggle since 1960th, so they are also net losers. Racial tensions in the USA definitely increased dramatically.
Notable quotes:
"... Bottom line: "Critical Race Theory", "The 1619 Project", and Homeland Security's "White Supremacist" warning represent the ideological foundation upon which the war on America is based. The "anti-white" dogma is the counterpart to the massive riots that have rocked the country. These phenomena are two spokes on the same wheel. They are designed to work together to achieve the same purpose. The goal is create a "racial" smokescreen that conceals the vast and willful destruction of the US economy, the $5 trillion dollar wealth-transfer that was provided to Wall Street, and the ferocious attack on the emerging, mainly-white working class "populist" movement that elected Trump and which rejects the globalist plan to transform the world into a borderless free trade zone ruled by cutthroat monopolists and their NWO allies. ..."
"... This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war. Americans will have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors to spot the elites lurking in the shadows. There lies the cancer that must be eradicated. ..."
"... The current situation cannot exist without the complicity of the secret services and the police. The heads of the secret services are either part of the cabal or close their eyes in fear ..."
"... There can be no single oligarch. It must be a larger group but very united by fear and a common goal. This can only be achieved if they are all Jews or Masons. Or both under a larger umbrella like some kind of pedo-ritual killing-satan worshiper. Soros can't do it alone. ..."
"... Of course politicians are corrupt and complicit but usually they are not the leaders ..."
Sep 08, 2020 | www.unz.com
MIKE WHITNEY 2,100 WORDS 165 COMMENTS REPLY

Here's your BLM Pop Quiz for the day: What do "Critical Race Theory", "The 1619 Project", and Homeland Security's "White Supremacist" warning tell us about what's going on in America today?

They point to deeply-embedded racism that shapes the behavior of white people They suggest that systemic racism cannot be overcome by merely changing attitudes and laws They alert us to the fact that unresolved issues are pushing the country towards a destructive race war They indicate that powerful agents -- operating from within the state– are inciting racial violence to crush the emerging "populist" majority that elected Trump to office in 2016 and which now represents an existential threat to the globalist plan to transform America into a tyrannical third-world "shithole".

Which of these four statements best explains what's going on in America today?

If you chose Number 4, you are right. We are not experiencing a sudden and explosive outbreak of racial violence and mayhem. We are experiencing a thoroughly-planned, insurgency-type operation that involves myriad logistical components including vast, nationwide riots, looting and arson, as well as an extremely impressive ideological campaign. "Critical Race Theory", "The 1619 Project", and Homeland Security's "White Supremacist" warning are as much a part of the Oligarchic war on America as are the burning of our cities and the toppling of our statues. All three, fall under the heading of "ideology", and all three are being used to shape public attitudes on matters related to our collective identity as "Americans".

The plan is to overwhelm the population with a deluge of disinformation about their history, their founders, and the threats they face, so they will submissively accept a New Order imposed by technocrats and their political lackeys. This psychological war is perhaps more important than Operation BLM which merely provides the muscle for implementing the transformative "Reset" that elites want to impose on the country. The real challenge is to change the hearts and minds of a population that is unwaveringly patriotic and violently resistant to any subversive element that threatens to do harm to their country. So, while we can expect this propaganda saturation campaign to continue for the foreseeable future, we don't expect the strategy will ultimately succeed. At the end of the day, America will still be America, unbroken, unflagging and unapologetic.

Let's look more carefully at what is going on.

On September 4, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft report stating that "White supremacists present the gravest terror threat to the United States". According to an article in Politico:

" all three draft (versions of the document) describe the threat from white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S. , listed above the immediate danger from foreign terrorist groups . John Cohen, who oversaw DHS's counterterrorism portfolio from 2011 to 2014, said the drafts' conclusion isn't surprising.

"This draft document seems to be consistent with earlier intelligence reports from DHS, the FBI, and other law enforcement sources: that the most significant terror-related threat facing the US today comes from violent extremists who are motivated by white supremac y and other far-right ideological causes," he said .

"Lone offenders and small cells of individuals motivated by a diverse array of social, ideological, and personal factors will pose the primary terrorist threat to the United States," the draft reads. "Among these groups, we assess that white supremacist extremists will pose the most persistent and lethal threat."..(" DHS draft document: White supremacists are greatest terror threat " Politico)

This is nonsense. White supremacists do not pose the greatest danger to the country, that designation goes to the left-wing groups that have rampaged through more than 2,000 US cities for the last 100 days. Black Lives Matter and Antifa-generated riots have decimated hundreds of small businesses, destroyed the lives and livelihoods of thousands of merchants and their employees, and left entire cities in a shambles. The destruction in Kenosha alone far exceeds the damage attributable to the activities of all the white supremacist groups combined.

So why has Homeland Security made this ridiculous and unsupportable claim? Why have they chosen to prioritize white supremacists as "the most persistent and lethal threat" when it is clearly not true?

There's only one answer: Politics.

The officials who concocted this scam are advancing the agenda of their real bosses, the oligarch puppet-masters who have their tentacles extended throughout the deep-state and use them to coerce their lackey bureaucrats to do their bidding. In this case, the honchos are invoking the race card ("white supremacists") to divert attention from their sinister destabilization program, their looting of the US Treasury (for their crooked Wall Street friends), their demonizing of the mostly-white working class "America First" nationalists who handed Trump the 2016 election, and their scurrilous scheme to establish one-party rule by installing their addlepated meat-puppet candidate (Biden) as president so he can carry out their directives from the comfort of the Oval Office. That's what's really going on.

DHS's announcement makes it possible for state agents to target legally-armed Americans who gather with other gun owners in groups that are protected under the second amendment. Now the white supremacist label will be applied more haphazardly to these same conservatives who pose no danger to public safety. The draft document should be seen as a warning to anyone whose beliefs do not jibe with the New Liberal Orthodoxy that white people are inherently racists who must ask forgiveness for a system they had no hand in creating (slavery) and which was abolished more than 150 years ago.

The 1619 Project" is another part of the ideological war that is being waged against the American people. The objective of the "Project" is to convince readers that America was founded by heinous white men who subjugated blacks to increase their wealth and power. According to the World Socialist Web Site:

"The essays featured in the magazine are organized around the central premise that all of American history is rooted in race hatred -- specifically, the uncontrollable hatred of "black people" by "white people." Hannah-Jones writes in the series' introduction: "Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country. "

This is a false and dangerous conception. DNA is a chemical molecule that contains the genetic code of living organisms and determines their physical characteristics and development . Hannah-Jones's reference to DNA is part of a growing tendency to derive racial antagonisms from innate biological processes .where does this racism come from? It is embedded, claims Hannah-Jones, in the historical DNA of American "white people." Thus, it must persist independently of any change in political or economic conditions .

. No doubt, the authors of The Project 1619 essays would deny that they are predicting race war, let alone justifying fascism. But ideas have a logic; and authors bear responsibility for the political conclusions and consequences of their false and misguided arguments." ("The New York Times's 1619 Project: A racialist falsification of American and world history", World Socialist Web Site)

Clearly, Hannah-Jones was enlisted by big money patrons who needed an ideological foundation to justify the massive BLM riots they had already planned as part of their US color revolution. The author –perhaps unwittingly– provided the required text for vindicating widespread destruction and chaos carried out in the name of "social justice."

As Hannah-Jones says, "Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country", which is to say that it cannot be mitigated or reformed, only eradicated by destroying the symbols of white patriarchy (Our icons, our customs, our traditions and our history.), toppling the existing government, and imposing a new system that better reflects the values of the burgeoning non-Caucasian majority. Simply put, The Project 1619 creates the rationale for sustained civil unrest, deepening political polarization and violent revolution.

All of these goals conveniently coincide with the aims of the NWO Oligarchs who seek to replace America's Constitutional government with a corporate Superstate ruled by voracious Monopolists and their globalist allies. So, while Hannah-Jones treatise does nothing to improve conditions for black people in America, it does move the country closer to the dystopian dream of the parasite class; Corporate Valhalla.

Then there is "Critical Race Theory" which provides the ideological icing on the cake. The theory is part of the broader canon of anti-white dogma which is being used to indoctrinate workers. White employees are being subjected to "reeducation" programs that require their participation as a precondition for further employment . The first rebellion against critical race theory, took place at Sandia Labs which is a federally-funded research agency that designs America's nuclear weapons. According to journalist Christopher F. Rufo:

"Senator @HawleyMO and @SecBrouillette have launched an inspector general investigation, but Sandia executives have only accelerated their purge against conservatives."

Sandia executives have made it clear: they want to force critical race theory, race-segregated trainings, and white male reeducation camps on their employees -- and all dissent will be severely punished. Progressive employees will be rewarded; conservative employees will be purged." (" There is a civil war erupting at @SandiaLabs ." Christopher F Rufo)

It all sounds so Bolshevik. Here's more info on how this toxic indoctrination program works:

"Treasury Department

The Treasury Department held a training session telling employees that "virtually all White people contribute to racism" and demanding that white staff members "struggle to own their racism" and accept their "unconscious bias, White privilege, and White fragility."

The National Credit Union Administration

The NCUA held a session for 8,900 employees arguing that America was "founded on racism" and "built on the blacks of people who were enslaved. " Twitter thread here and original source documents here .

Sandia National Laboratories

Last year, Sandia National Labs -- which produces our nuclear arsenal -- held a three-day reeducation camp for white males, teaching them how to deconstruct their "white male culture" and forcing them to write letters of apology to women and people of color . Whistleblowers from inside the labs tell me that critical race theory is now endangering our national security. Twitter thread here and original source documents here .

Argonne National Laboratories

Argonne National Labs hosts trainings calling on white lab employees to admit that they "benefit from racism" and atone for the "pain and anguish inflicted upon Black people. " Twitter thread here .

Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security hosted a Training on "microaggressions, microinequities, and microassaults" where white employees were told that they had been "socialized into oppressor roles. " Twitter thread here and original source documents here ." (" Summary of Critical Race Theory Investigations" , Christopher F Rufo)

On September 4, Donald Trump announced his administration "would prohibit federal agencies from subjecting government employees to "critical race theory" or "white privilege" seminar. ..

"It has come to the President's attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date 'training' government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda ," read a Friday memo from the Office of Budget and Management Director Russ Vought. "These types of 'trainings' not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions."

The next day, September 5, Trump announced that the Department of Education was going to see whether the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project was being used in school curricula and– if it was– then those schools would be ineligible for federal funding. Conservative pundits applauded Trump's action as a step forward in the "culture wars", but it's really much more than that. Trump is actually foiling an effort by the domestic saboteurs who continue look for ways to undermine democracy, reduce the masses of working-class people to grinding poverty and hopelessness, and turn the country into a despotic military outpost ruled by bloodsucking tycoons, mercenary autocrats and duplicitous elites. Alot of thought and effort went into this malign ideological project. Trump derailed it with a wave of the hand. That's no small achievement.

Bottom line: "Critical Race Theory", "The 1619 Project", and Homeland Security's "White Supremacist" warning represent the ideological foundation upon which the war on America is based. The "anti-white" dogma is the counterpart to the massive riots that have rocked the country. These phenomena are two spokes on the same wheel. They are designed to work together to achieve the same purpose. The goal is create a "racial" smokescreen that conceals the vast and willful destruction of the US economy, the $5 trillion dollar wealth-transfer that was provided to Wall Street, and the ferocious attack on the emerging, mainly-white working class "populist" movement that elected Trump and which rejects the globalist plan to transform the world into a borderless free trade zone ruled by cutthroat monopolists and their NWO allies.

This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war. Americans will have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors to spot the elites lurking in the shadows. There lies the cancer that must be eradicated.


Verymuchalive , says: September 8, 2020 at 2:47 pm GMT

A good article, but no mention of who exactly these oligarchs are. Or why so many of them are Jewish.
Or why so many Zionist organisations support BLM and other such groups.
Mike, not mentioning these things will not save you. You will still be cancelled by Progressive Inc.

Justvisiting , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:08 am GMT
@lloyd

This "all whites are racist" meme seems to be a variation on the Christian doctrine of "original sin".

I reject all of it as obscene nonsense used by sociopaths (the actual folks who were born with original sin) in an attempt to control us.

exiled off mainstreet , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:23 am GMT

This seems like a good explanation of what is happening. I wonder whether too many people will fall for the propaganda, though. It is the classic effort to get the turkeys to support thanksgiving.

sonofman , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:26 am GMT

The deserved progress and concessions achieved by the civil rights struggles for the Black community is in danger of deteriorating because Black leadership will not stand up and vehemently condemn the rioting and destruction and killing, and declare that the BLM movement does not represent the majority of the Black American culture and that the overexaggerated accusations of "racism" do not necessitate the eradication and revision of history, nor does it require European Americans to feel guilt or shame. There is no need for a cultural revolution. The ideology and actions of BLM are offensive and inconsistent with American values, and Black leaders should be saying this every day, and should be admonishing about the consequences. They should also use foresight to see how this is going to end, because the BLM and their supporters are being used to fight a war that they can never win. And when it's over, what perception will the rest of America have of Black people?

TG , says: September 9, 2020 at 4:13 am GMT

"This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war."

Quadruple kudos! Yes! Because of this ending statement, I have no quibbles! Yes!

Redman , says: September 9, 2020 at 4:40 am GMT
@sonofman g to TPTB. Better to have an amorphous slogan to donate money to than an actual organization with humans, goals and ideas which can be held up to the light and critically examined.

The whole sudden race thing is a fraud to eliminate the electoral support Trump had amassed among blacks before Corona and Fentanyl Floyd. In line with what Whitney says, the globalists need to take down Trump. And the race card has always been the first tool in the DNC's toolkit. When all else fails, go nuclear with undefined claims of racism.

Almost every big magazine has a black person on the cover this month. Probably will in October too. Coincidence? Sure it is.

TimeTraveller , says: September 9, 2020 at 4:52 am GMT

They indicate that powerful agents -- operating from within the state– are inciting racial violence to crush the emerging "populist" majority that elected Trump to office in 2016 and which now represents an existential threat to the globalist plan to transform America into a tyrannical third-world "shithole".

I'm shocked that they're trying to sell this Q-tier bullshit about Trump fighting the deep state.

The reality about Trump is that he is the release valve, the red herring designed to keep whitey pacified while massive repossessions and foreclosures take place, permanently impoverishing a large part of the white population, and shutting down the Talmudic service-based economy, which is all that is really left. It is Trump's DHS that declared a large part of his white trashionalist base to be terrorists.

The populist majority never had anyone to vote for. This system will never give them one. They aren't bright enough to make it happen.

Tony Hall , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:14 am GMT
@sonofman

Agree. Barack Obama in particular will go down in history a real disgrace to the legacy of the US presidency. He is violating the sacred trust that the people of the United States invested in him. What a fraud!

omegabooks , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:23 am GMT

Good post Mr. Whitney especially about "white supremacy" garbage .which has only been going on since the 90s! You know, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Elohim City and Okie City, militias, "patriot groups," etc. This really is nothing new. And, since so many remember the "white supremacy" crapola was crapola back in the 90s, I'd say everyone pretty much regardless of race over the age of 40 knows there is, as it says in Ecclesiastes in the Bible, "there is nothing new under the sun." And, if you home schooled your kids back then, then you kids know it as well. Fact is this: the DHS as with every other govt. agency is forced to blame "white supremacy" for every problem in this country because who the heck else can they blame? Jews? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahh when pigs fly After all, Noahide just might be around the corner ..

Dr. Doom , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:25 am GMT

BLM is funded almost entirely by George Soros...

No Friend Of The Devil , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:33 am GMT

BLM is just one of the tools in their bag, in addition to AIPAC, ADL, NOW, in addition to dozens of others.

Typical divide and conquer ploy...

Dube , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:35 am GMT
@TG

"This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war."

Elegant.

Mefobills , says: September 9, 2020 at 6:28 am GMT

Sheriffs have a lot of legal power. Ultimately, the battle is privatized money power vs Joe Citizen/Sheriffs.

This sheriff is working a Constitutional angle that says: Local Posse (meaning you.. Joe citizen) working with the Sheriff department to protect your local community. Richard Mack is teaching other Sheriffs and (some Police) what their Constitutional power is, and that power doesn't include doing bidding of Oligarchs.

Sheriffs are elected, and their revenue stream is outside of Oligarchy:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5DFtE4ihWrs?feature=oembed

Exalted Cyclops , says: September 9, 2020 at 6:31 am GMT

So Donald Trump suddenly discovers that racial Bolshevism is the official policy of his own executive branch – a mere 3 years and 8 months after assuming the position

... Looks like the same old flim-flam they pull every four years. No matter who wins, the Davos folks continue to run the circus and fleece the suckers dry.

Miro23 , says: September 9, 2020 at 6:37 am GMT

It all sounds so Bolshevik.

Because it is. Substitute "the ethnic Russian middle class are class enemies" for "Anglo-American are all racists" and there you have it. Permission for a small organized minority to eliminate a whole class on ideological grounds...

idealogus , says: Website September 9, 2020 at 6:48 am GMT

I live in a former communist country in Eastern Europe with corrupt politicians, oligarchs and organized crime.
America was a country with a minor corruption and in which the oligarchs, although influential, were not united in a small group with decisive force. Now America is slowly slipping into the situation of a second-hand shit-hole country.
Is that I can see the situation more clearly than an American citizen who still has the American perception of his contry the way it was 30 years ago.
Essential thing:
1) The current situation cannot exist without the complicity of the secret services and the police. The heads of the secret services are either part of the cabal or close their eyes in fear .
2) There can be no single oligarch. It must be a larger group but very united by fear and a common goal. This can only be achieved if they are all Jews or Masons. Or both under a larger umbrella like some kind of pedo-ritual killing-satan worshiper. Soros can't do it alone.
3) Of course politicians are corrupt and complicit but usually they are not the leaders
4) BLM are exactly the brown shirts of the new Hitler.
Soon we will se the new Hitler/Stalin/ in plain light.

Wally , says: September 9, 2020 at 6:59 am GMT
@Verymuchalive i>

Thirty black children murdered recently; zero by police / BLM & 'the media' say nothing:
https://www.outkick.com/blm-101-volume-7-the-lives-of-innocent-black-kids-do-not-matter/
BTW:
– Last year, the nationwide total for all US police forces was 47 killings of unarmed criminals by police during arrest procedures.
– 8 were black, 19 were white.
Though blacks, relative to their numbers, committed a vastly higher number of crimes, hence their immensely greater arrest rate.

animalogic , says: September 9, 2020 at 8:00 am GMT
@Justvisiting urally, it is nonsense -- nasty, power-hungry, censorious nonsense.
It is the opposite of scientific or empirical thought -- science can not accept theories which are not capable of falsification. (Take astrology -- actually, don't ! -- what ever conclusion it comes to can never be wrong : Dick or Jane didn't find love ? Well, one of Saturn's moons was retrograde & Mercury declensed Venus (I don't know what it means either) . or Dick went on a bender & Jane had a whole bad hair week.
Frankly, to play these pre-modern tricks on us is just grotesquely insulting. That some are falling for it is grotesquely depressing.
Digital Samizdat , says: September 9, 2020 at 9:58 am GMT

Another ringer from Mike Whitney! Keep 'em comin', brother.

We are not experiencing a sudden and explosive outbreak of racial violence and mayhem. We are experiencing a thoroughly-planned, insurgency-type operation that involves myriad logistical components including vast, nationwide riots, looting and arson, as well as an extremely impressive ideological campaign.

Yup. TPTB have been grooming BLM/Antifa for this moment for at least 3-4 years now, if not longer. Here's a former BLMer who quit speaking out three years ago about the organization's role in the present 'race war':

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ULJtBdI7Aj0?feature=oembed

Franz , says: September 9, 2020 at 10:43 am GMT

Honesty at last!

Department of Homeland Security was a ... Trojan Horse from the start.

Aristotle , says: September 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm GMT
@anonymous

It is very clever politics and (war) propaganda. You break down and demoralise your enemies at the same time as assuring your own side of it's own righteous use of violence.

SimplePseudonymicHandle , says: September 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm GMT

This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war. Americans will have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors to spot the elites lurking in the shadows.

Nailing it.

4. They indicate that powerful agents -- operating from within the state– are inciting racial violence to crush the emerging "populist" majority that elected Trump to office in 2016 and which now represents an existential threat to the globalist plan to transform America into a tyrannical third-world "shithole".

Which of these four statements best explains what's going on in America today?

If you chose Number 4, you are right.

If we believe this – we need to act like it. These are "enemies, foreign and domestic ". This isn't ordinary politics, it arguably transcends politics.

What hope is there without organization?

And whatever is done – don't give them ammunition. The resistance must not be an ethno-resistance.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: September 9, 2020 at 2:42 pm GMT
@Mefobills

Trump is ignorant, but not unwilling to learn.

The action on critical race theory happened a day (or so) after Tucker Carlson had a 6 minute segment on it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/rBXRdWflV7M?feature=oembed

He definitely doesn't dither.

But he is either naive or a bad manager, as his hires are deadly to his aims. And the management criticism is big, because as a leader that is mostly what he does.

That he gets information to affect US policy for good, from outside of his circle of trusted personnel, is a sad state of affairs.

Justvisiting , says: September 9, 2020 at 2:54 pm GMT
@idealogus class="comment-text">

America was a country with a minor corruption

That is not correct–you have been misled by the mass media.

As Michael said in Godfather III,

All my life I was trying to get up in society where everything is legal, but the higher I go the more crooked it becomes.

I first "saw the light" years ago after reading this book:

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_EkhZDCHOQSUcFd&asin=1561712493&tag=kpembed-20

Later in life I had the "opportunity" to be "in the room" where the big crooks play–nasty nasty stuff.

Anonymous [125] Disclaimer , says: September 9, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan ds that it would have ended on day one were it not officially sanctioned and the rioters protected from prosecution. Why hasn't the Janet Rosenberg/Thousand Currents/Tides Foundation connection with the BLM/DNC/MSM cabal, as well as with Antifa and social media, been the major investigation on Fox News? Why haven't Zuckerberg, Zucker, et al been arrested for incitement to commit federal crimes, including capital treason to overthrow the duly elected president? (Just a few rhetorical questions for the hell of it.) What's so galling is that the cops and federal agents are being used as just so many patsies who are deployed, not to protect, but deployed to look like fools and be held up for mockery as pathetic exemplars of white disempowerment.
EdwardM , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:07 pm GMT

The officials who concocted this scam are advancing the agenda of their real bosses, the oligarch puppet-masters who have their tentacles extended throughout the deep-state and use them to coerce their lackey bureaucrats to do their bidding.

Agree, but where is President Trump? He was supposed to appoint undersecretaries and assistant secretaries and deputy undersecretaries and Schedule C whippersnappers on whose desks such outrages are supposed to die.

I've thought from the beginning that this lack of attention to "personnel as policy" -- with Trump overestimating the ability of the ostensible CEO to overcome such intransigence -- was one of his major failures. I am sympathetic, as there are not many people he could trust to be loyal to his agenda, much less to him, but this is a disaster in every agency

Iva , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:23 pm GMT

Few years ago I watch a clip secretly recorded in Ukrainian synagogue where Rabi said "first we have to fight Catholics and with Muslims it will be an easy job" ...

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: September 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm GMT

Thanks to Mr Whitney for being able to cut through the fog and see what's going on behind it. The term "white supremacist" wasn't much in public use at all until the day Trump was elected then suddenly it was all over the place. It's like one of those massive ad campaigns whose jingle is everywhere as if some group decided on it as a theme to be pushed. They're really afraid that the white working class population will wake up and see how the country is being sold out from underneath their feet hence the need to keep it divided and intimidated. Like all the other color revolutions everywhere else they strike at the weak links within the country to create conflict, in the US case it's so-called diversity. There's billions available to be spent in this project so plenty of traitors can be found, unwitting or otherwise, to carry out their assignments. The billionaire class own most of the media and much else and see the US as their farm. They have no loyalty whatsoever and outsource everything to China or anywhere else they can squeeze everything out of the workers. They want a global dictatorship and admire the Chinese government for the way it can order its citizens around.

David Erickson , says: September 9, 2020 at 4:19 pm GMT
@TimeTraveller

You are exactly right. Trump is doing his part (knowingly or unknowingly, but probably knowingly) to accomplish the NWO objectives. He was not elected in 2016 in spite of NWO desires, as most Trump supporters think, but rather precisely BECAUSE of NWO desires.

The NWO probably also wants him to win again this year, and if so then he will win. The reason the NWO wanted him in 2016 (and probably wants him to win again) was primarily to neutralize the (armed) Right in this country so they wouldn't effectively resist the COVID-19 scamdemic lockdown tyranny and BLM/Antifa riots.

Chet Roman , says: September 9, 2020 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Trinity While I tend to agree with you that it looks like a race war, the question is why is it happening now? If it were just a race war promoted by radicals in BLM and Antifa, it does not explain the nationwide coordination (let's face it the faces of BLM and Antifa are not that smart or connected), the support and censorship of the violence by the MSM and the support of Marxist BLM by corporations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a color revolution in the making and may come to a peak after Nov. 3rd. Whitney is on to something, there is much more going on behind the "smoke and mirrors" and AG Barr (if he's not part of it) should be investigating it.
Tommy Thompson , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm GMT

They indicate that powerful agents -- operating from within the state– are inciting racial violence to crush the emerging "populist" majority that elected Trump to office in 2016 and which now represents an existential threat to the globalist plan to transform America into a tyrannical third-world "shithole".

I keep reading such nonsense in the comments above. the so-called populist majority does not get it, Trump is not placed here to stop the Globalist agenda, that is an electioneering stunt. Look at what he has actually and really done.

How has he stopped the Globalist move forward?? By the Covid plandemic being allowed to circle the globe and shut down the US economy and social norm? By moving our high tech companies to Israel? Giving Israel and their Wall Street allies what is left of US credit wealth? Draining the swamp with even more Zio-Neocon Swamp creatures in the govt than ever? Moving the embassy to Jerusalem and all requests per Netanyahu's wish list? A real anti-Globalist stand? Looting the Federal Reserve for the Wall Street high fliers, who garnered more wealth during the crash test run of March-April and are sure to make out with even more for the coming big crash?

Phoney stunts of stopping immigration or bashing China. Really? China is still rising propelled by Wall Street and Banker funds. I have not seen any jobs coming home, lost more than ever in US history this year. Only lost homes for the working and middle classes.

How is Populist America standing up for their constitutional rights which is being shredded a little more each day? Standing up for their Real Interests, which are eroded and stolen on an almost daily basis by Trump's NY Mafia and Wall Street Oligarchs. Jobs gone for good and government assistance to the needy disappearing, as that is against the phoney Republic individualism, that you must make it on your own. Right just like the big goverment assistance always going to the big money players and banks, remember as they are too big to let fail!

Dreaming that Trump is going to save White America from the Gobalists is just bull corn . From whom BLM? Proven street theatre that will disappear on command. I actually have come to learn that some Black leaders are speaking out intelligently for street calm and distancing themselves from BLM.

Problem with the USA is the general population is so very dumbed down by 60 years of MSM – TV s and Hollywood mind control programming that the public prefers professional actors like Reagan and Trump over real politicians, and surely never chose a Statesman or real Patriotic leader. the public political narrative is still set by Fox , CNN and MSNBC .

The deep state is so infiltrated and overwhelmed with Zio and Globalist agents, that it is now almost hopeless to fix. Sorry to point out but Trump is best described as the Dummy sitting on his Ventriloquist's lap (Jared Kushner).

Situation is near hopeless as even here on Ron Unz Review the comments are so disappointing, almost 80% are focused on the Race as the prime issue and supportive of Trump fakery (not that I support Biden and Zio slut Kamil Harris either).

In sum, beyond putting their MAGA hats on, White America is more focused more on playing Cowboy with their toy guns, AR's and all than really getting involved politically to sort things out to get American onto a better track. Of course, this is not taken seriously as it might call for reaching out to other American communities that are even more disenfranchised: African- Americans and Latinos.

TimeTraveller , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:11 pm GMT
@David Erickson nted him in 2016 (and probably wants him to win again) was primarily to neutralize the (armed) Right in this country so they wouldn't effectively resist the COVID-19 scamdemic lockdown tyranny and BLM/Antifa riots.

Covid and BLM/ANTIFA are just window dressing for the financial turmoil. "Look over here whitey, there's a pandemic" and "look over here whitey, there's a riot" is much preferred to whitey shooting the sheriff who comes to take his stuff.

Wave the flag and bible while spreading love for the cops, and the repossessions and evictions should go off without a hitch. Yes, Trump is a knowing participant.

SunBakedSuburb , says: September 9, 2020 at 5:55 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

"My impression is that BLM, Antifa and other protestors are well aware of this"

Like all good Maoists the cult white kids of antifa rigidly adhere to the mission statement and stick the inconvenient truth in the back of their mushy minds. BLM ... is a mercenary.

Trinity , says: September 9, 2020 at 10:26 pm GMT

Can you imagine any other groups rioting and destroying American cities for over 3 months? Imagine if the Hells Angels or some other White biker gang was doing what Antifa and BLM are doing? Hell, imagine if it were a bunch of Hare Krishnas pulling this shit off? Hell, I think the local mayors, police, and other law enforcement employees wouldn't even take this much shit even if the rioters were Girl Scouts. We are talking 3-4 months of lawlessness, assaults, rapes, murders ( cold blooded premeditated murders at that) and still the people in charge let this shit go on night and day. IF the POTUS doesn't have the authority or the power to stop shit like this from going on then what the hell do we even vote for anyhow? Granted, I see the reason for not being ruled by a dictatorship, but who in the hell can justify letting these riots go on? One can only assume that both the republicants and the demsheviks are fine with these riots because no one seems in a hurry to shut them down or arrest the hombres funding these riots. Who is housing and feeding the rioters? Who is paying their travel expenses? I'm sure most everyone in Washington knows who the people are behind these riots but don't expect any action anytime soon.

Dick French , says: September 9, 2020 at 10:29 pm GMT

This is a class war dolled-up to look like a race war. Americans will have to look beyond the smoke and mirrors to spot the elites lurking in the shadows. There lies the cancer that must be eradicated.

That's true to a large degree, but

It is indeed an attempt to liquidate the working and lower middle class. Most of the American working and lower middle class, obviously not all, is White. So predictably we have these calls for White Genocide. Agreed and good to see the tie-in with the Coronavirus Hoax lock downs, too, which also spread the devastation into minority communities under the guise of public safety.

The one question that remains unanswered is why the major cities were targeted for destruction. Obviously these are the playgrounds of the oligarchs and have been decimated. We will learn soon enough.

Skeptikal , says: September 10, 2020 at 12:07 am GMT
@Redman

The Reverend William Barber is the only genuine black leader I am aware of.
And he makes a pointn of not speaking only for blacks, but for all disadvantaged communities, including poor whites. IMO he is the real deal, and I very much hope he takes the lead in articulating genuine community values of respect and equality for all, including basics such as decent health care and food access.

The pressure exerted on someone like Barber by the BLM forces in the media and other institutions is enormous.

I wish Ron Unz would invite him to write something for the UR.

[Sep 02, 2020] Amazon spies on staff, fires them by text for not hitting secretive targets, workers 'feel forced to work through pain, injuries' report

Notable quotes:
"... workers are dehumanizingly treated by Amazon as if they are robots – persistently asked to accomplish task after task at an unforgiving rate." ..."
Sep 01, 2020 | www.theregister.com
I didn't get rich by signing checks // 10:30 UTC 141 Reg comments GOT TIPS? Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco BIO EMAIL TWITTER SHARE

Amazon is famous for its extreme efficiency yet behind the curtain is a crippling culture of surveillance and stress, according to a study by the Open Markets Institute.

The think tank and advocacy group that repeatedly takes companies like Google and Facebook to task warned in the report [PDF] that Amazon's retail side has gone far beyond promoting efficient working and has adopted an almost dystopian level of control over its warehouse workers, firing them if they fail to meet targets that are often kept a secret.

Among the practices it highlighted, the report said that workers are told to hit a target rate of packages to process per hour, though they are not told what exactly that target is. "We don't know what the rate is," one pseudonymous worker told the authors. "They change it behind the scenes. You'll know when you get a warning. They don't tell you what rate you have to hit at the beginning."

If they grow close to not meeting a target rate, or miss it, the worker receives an automated message warning them, the report said. Workers who fail to meet hidden targets can also receive a different type of electronic message; one that fires them.

"Amazon's electronic system analyzes an employee's electronic record and, after falling below productivity measures, 'automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors'," it stated. The data is also generated automatically: for example, those picking and packing are required to use a scanner that records every detail, including the time between scans, and feed it into a system that pushes out automated warnings.

Always watching

As with other companies, Amazon installs surveillance cameras in its workspaces to reduce theft. But the report claims Amazon has taken that approach to new lengths "with an extensive network of security cameras that tracks and monitors a worker's every move".

Bezos' bunch combines that level of surveillance with strict limits on behavior. "Upon entering the warehouse, Amazon requires workers to dispose of all of their personal belongings except a water bottle and a clear plastic bag of cash," the report noted.

For Amazon drivers, their location is constantly recorded and monitored and they are required to follow the exact route Amazon has mapped. They are required to deliver 999 out of every 1,000 packages on time or face the sack; something that the report argues has led to widespread speeding and a related increase in crashes.

The same tracking software ensures that workers only take 30 minutes for lunch and two separate 15-minute breaks during the day. The report also noted that the web goliath has patented a wristband that "can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction".

Amazon also attempts to prevent efforts to unionize by actively tracking workers and breaking up any meetings of too many people, including identifying possible union organizers and moving them around the workplace to prevent them talking to the same group for too long, the report claimed.

It quoted a source named Mohamed as saying: "They spread the workers out you cannot talk to your colleagues The managers come to you and say they'll send you to a different station."

The combined effort of constant surveillance with the risk of being fired at any point has created, according to workers, a " Lord Of The Flies -esque environment where the perceived weakest links are culled every year".

Stress and quotas

The report said Amazon's workers "are under constant stress to make their quotas for collecting and organizing hundreds of packages per hour" resulting in "constant 'low-grade panic' to work. In this sense, workers are dehumanizingly treated by Amazon as if they are robots – persistently asked to accomplish task after task at an unforgiving rate."

At the end of the day, warehouse employees are required to go through mandatory screening to check they haven't stolen anything, which "requires waiting times that can range from 25 minutes to an hour" and is not compensated, the report said.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos 'I don't recognise Amazon as a bullying workplace' says Bezos READ MORE

Amazon also allegedly fails to account for any injuries, the report said, to the extent that "Amazon employees feel forced to work through the pain and injuries they incur on the job, as Amazon routinely fires employees who fall behind their quotas, without taking such injuries into account."

It quoted another piece of reporting that found Amazon's rate of severe injuries in its warehouses is, in some cases, more than five times the industry average. It also noted that the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Amazon as one of the "dirty dozen" on its list of the most dangerous places to work in the United States in 2018.

The report concluded that "Amazon's practices exacerbate the inequality between employees and management by keeping employees in a constant state of precariousness, with the threat of being fired for even the slightest deviation, which ensures full compliance with employer-demanded standards and limits worker freedom."

Being a think tank, the Open Markets Institute listed a series of policy and legal changes that would help alleviate the work issues. It proposed a complete ban on "invasive forms of worker surveillance" and a rule against any forms of surveillance that "preemptively interfere with unionization efforts".

It also wants a law that allows independent contractors to unionize and the legalization of secondary boycotts, as well as better enforcement of the rules against companies by government departments including America's trade watchdog the FTC and Department of Justice, as well as a ban on non-compete agreements and class action waivers.

In response to the allegations in the report, a spokesperson for Amazon told us: "Like most companies, we have performance expectations for every Amazonian – be it corporate employee or fulfillment center associate and we measure actual performance against those expectations.

"Associate performance is measured and evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things could impact the ability to meet expectations in any given day or hour. We support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve." ®

[Aug 27, 2020] Slavery and immigration

Undocumented immigrants are modern day slaves, which replaced traditional slaves...`
Aug 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

TG , says: August 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm GMT

But really, it's all about the cheap labor. And not just Europe.

The Ivory Coast used to be pretty prosperous. That meant that workers had high wages, because that's what prosperity is, but that limited the profits of the rich, and we can't have that. So the black elite imported massive numbers of muslim refugees as a source of cheap labor, and by the time they had doubled the population the poverty resulting from this tore the country apart in a bloody civil war. But that's OK, the right people made a lot of money.

Brazil had slavery for much longer than the United States, and unlike the United States, Brazil only got rid of slavery after massive immigration had boosted the population so much that 'free' labor was cheaper than slave labor. Crushed to the limits, Brazil was stuck in a capital-starved condition that it never pulled out of.

It's an old story. Look through history, whenever you hear about some place that imported workers to do whatever, no that's not what happened, they imported workers to cut labor costs – and the results for the average person have always been a reduction in living standards and social disruption.

When southern American plantation owners imported back African slaves, it wasn't because they thought the country needed more black people – they wanted cheap labor. And centuries later, the damage that that policy has done to American society continues. And it wasn't necessary – the free white north, without slaves and before mass immigration, was the place that produced the greatest technological and industrial power the world had ever seen – but there just wasn't enough cheap labor for a plantation owner to live the life they wanted, so sad.

So what's happening in Europe is perhaps a bit extreme, but it's an old story. It's not really about diversity or anti-white or any of that, that's just window dressing and rationalization. It's about jamming in more and more people so wages will go down and rents and profits will go up.

[Aug 23, 2020] Glitzy Convention Conceals Neoliberal Tyranny that both parties support by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
Aug 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

Here are a few takeaways from the Democratic Convention:

The Democrats are running on the same platform they ran on in 2016. The Democrats put style above substance, flashy optics above ideas or issues. The Democrats think that hollow tributes to "diversity" and "inclusion" will win the election. The Democrats have abandoned white, working class voters opting instead for people of color. The Democrats have learned nothing from Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016.

In 2016, Democrat front-runner, Hillary Clinton lost the election because she failed to see her support was eroding in the key Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won all three states with a measly 77, 651 votes total. All three states were expected to go Democrat but flipped to the GOP due to Clinton's support for free trade and immigration policies that cost jobs and imposed unwelcome demographic changes on the working people of those states. The Democrats and Hillary have never accepted the factual version of how the election was lost. Instead, they fabricated a conspiracy theory about Trump colluding with Russia. Although the Mueller Report proved that the claims of meddling were baseless, Clinton and the Dems continue to trot them out at every opportunity. On Tuesday at the convention, Hillary again reiterated the lie that Trump stole the election. She said:

"Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are. Remember: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take it from me. We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can't sneak or steal his way to victory."

The determination on the part of the Democrats to mischaracterize what actually happened in the election is not a trivial matter. It suggests that deception is central to their governing style. Party leaders do not think their supporters are entitled to know the truth but rather believe that events must be shaped in a way that best serves their overall political interests. For Democrats, lying is not a personal failing, but an opportunity for enhancing their grip on power. This is from an article in The Guardian:

"Donald Trump's electoral college victory rests on the shoulders of more than 200 so-called "pivot counties" across the US. That is, counties that voted for Barack Obama only four years earlier. The most decisive of these swings occurred in Pennsylvania's Luzerne county, nestled in the north-east part of the state There, voters gave Trump a nearly 20-point victory after going for Obama by almost 5% in 2012. But Trump's win in Luzerne was also noteworthy for its magnitude. His 26,000 vote plurality in Luzerne comprised almost three-fifths of his plurality in the state as a whole, and with it Pennsylvania's 20 coveted electoral votes ." (" The Forgotten review: Ben Bradlee Jr delivers 2020 lessons for Democrats" , The Guardian )

Critical battleground states tilted in Trump's favor because Democratic policies had decimated their communities and eviscerated their standard of living. Author Ben Bradlee Jr. explains this phenom in his book "The Forgotten" which should be required reading at the DNC. Here's a clip from the review at the Guardian:

"The Forgotten documents the ravages of deindustrialization, lost jobs, crime and drugs. It captures the sense of displacement tied to a changing and less monochromatic America. Once upon a time, Luzerne was home to coal and textiles, dominated by Protestants from Wales and Catholics from Ireland and continental Europe. Not any more. Luzerne is poorer and smaller, for many a less recognizable place. Not surprisingly, immigration and Nafta come in for constant criticism. " (The Guardian)

This is the real reason Hillary was defeated. Russia had nothing to do with it. The Dems abandoned the white working-class people who had always voted for them and began to cobble together their Rainbow coalition. When Hillary denounced these people as "Deplorables", it forced more of them to join Trump team. The rest is history. Here's more from the same article:

"In the absence of a recession, however, the party stands to face the same electoral map it did in 2016. In fact, Ohio now looks an even tougher nut to crack. Much as the Democratic base loathes the president, reality cannot be wished away. Luzerne would be a good place for the party to start addressing this reality. " ( The Guardian )

The point we're trying to make is that the effectiveness of the Democrat Convention can only be measured in terms of its impact on potential voters. So, why have the Dems shrugged off any effort to reach out to the people who could help them win?

It's not that complicated. The Dems are merely abandoning the people who, they believe, will leave anyway as their globalist economic agenda becomes more apparent putting more downward pressure on overall living standards. It's worth noting, that when Obama left office in 2016, this process was already well-underway. According to a Gallup poll, 71 percent of the people said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going. (in Obama's last year.) Only 27 percent said they're satisfied. So, even though Obama's personal approval ratings remained high, his handling of the economy was extremely unpopular. (except on Wall Street, of course.)

During this same period, the PEW Research Center conducted a survey titled: "Campaign Exposes Fissures Over Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S" which showed why Trump was steadily gaining on Hillary. Here are a few excerpts from the report:

"Among GOP voters, fully 75% of those who support Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination say life for people like them has gotten worse "

"GOP voters who support Trump also stand out for their pessimism about the nation's economy and their own financial situations: 48% rate current economic conditions in the U.S. as "poor.

"Within the GOP, anger at government is heavily concentrated among Trump supporters – 50% say they are angry at government "

"Among Republicans, a majority of those who back Trump (61%) view the system as unfair among Trump supporters, 67% say trade agreements are bad thing "

"Half of Trump supporters (50%) say they are angry at the federal government . Anger at government – and politics – is much more pronounced among Trump backers than among supporters of any other presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat " (" Campaign Exposes Fissures Over Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S ", PEW Research Center)

So, a higher percentage of Trump supporters think they are getting screwed-over by an unfair system. They think "free trade" only benefits the rich, they think the government is unresponsive to their needs, they think the system is rigged, and they're really, really mad.

So, which speaker at the Democrat Convention addressed the concerns or complaints of white working-class people who now almost-universally harbor these same feelings??

No one, because no one in the Democrat party plans to do anything about these issues, in fact, just the opposite. Now that the Dems have been subsumed by Wall Street and their big globalist donors, things are going to get dramatically worse for working people who will see a vicious attack on essential social services and programs as soon as the election is over. The massive build-up of debt– by mainly Democrat Governors who deliberately drove their states into bankruptcy at the behest of Fauci's Vaccine Gestapo– will now be met by a growing demand for austerity on a scale unlike anything we've experienced in the last century. The country is being prepared for an excruciating restructuring that will create a permanent underclass that will provide an endless source of sweatshop labor for the multinational carpetbaggers. Those jobs will likely go to members of the Dems rainbow coalition while white, working class people in America's heartland –with their strong sense of patriotism– will be seen as a potential threat to the emerging new order.

It's clear that the Dems anticipate resistance to their plan by the contemptible way they have branded struggling workers as "white nationalists" and "racists". But is it true or are the Democrats and their deep-pocket allies preemptively denigrating these people and supporting BLM rioters to head-off growing resistance to their strategy of total control through widespread mayhem, decimation of the economy and extermination of the American middle class? Author CJ Hopkins summed it up like this in a recent article at The Unz Review:

"What we are experiencing is not the "return of fascism." It is the global capitalist empire restoring order, putting down the populist insurgency that took them by surprise in 2016.

The White Black Nationalist Color Revolution, the fake apocalyptic plague, all the insanity of 2020 it has been in the pipeline all along. It has been since the moment Trump won the election. No, it is not about Trump, the man. It has never been about Trump, the man

GloboCap needs to crush Donald Trump not because he is a threat to the empire , but because he became a symbol of populist resistance to global capitalism and its increasingly aggressive "woke" ideology . It is this populist resistance to its ideology that GloboCap is determined to crush, no matter how much social chaos and destruction it unleashes in the process.. ." (" The White Black Nationalist Color Revolution" , CJ Hopkins, The Unz Review )

Bingo. It is the "populist resistance to global capitalism" that is the defacto enemy of the Party elite, the same elites who conspired with senior-level members of the Intelligence Community, the FBI, the DOJ and the Obama White House to spy on the Trump Campaign, infiltrate the presidential transition, and to try to topple the elected government. And while the coup plotters have still not been brought to justice, they are now within spitting distance of their ultimate objective, which is seizing executive power and using it to crush the fledgling opposition, impose a one-party system of government, and transform America into a corporate superstate ruled by Global Capital. Here's a clip from an article by Gary D. Barnett at Lew Rockwell:

"By the end of this next planned phase of the 'virus' scare, a global reset of the world economy will be ready to launch. This reset will be mammoth in scope, as everything we have known will be restructured. Those out of work in the final stage will most likely stay out of work, pushing the dependency state to new levels sought by the ruling class. Controlling the population will be a key component of the plan, including population size, birth rates, movement, and personal contact among individuals. The elimination of normal human interaction is sought, and this is only the beginning . The ultimate goal is total control, and every tool in the box of the tyrants will be used to gain that control. Restraint by the ruling class will be non-existent, as this staged reset is now going forward at a very accelerated pace." ( "The Economic Insanity of This Coronavirus Pandemic Plot and the Coming Global Reset ", Lew Rockwell )

The coup plotters have chosen the candidates they want to carry out the next phase of their operation. All they need now is to win the election.

[Aug 19, 2020] The Devastation Of The Middle Class- It Now Takes 53 Weeks Of Median Wages Every Year To Pay For Basic Needs -

Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Devastation Of The Middle Class: It Now Takes 53 Weeks Of Median Wages Every Year To Pay For Basic Needs by Tyler Durden Wed, 08/19/2020 - 13:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

The stock market is back to all time highs, but for ordinary Americans the standard of living has not been worse in decades, if ever.

As Bank of America points out, while the recent covid shutdowns has thrown the economy into disarray with millions laid off and living on government stimulus checks, life for the vast majority of workers - i.e., those who comprise the country's middle class - was already precarious before the pandemic, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Cost of Thriving Index.

Consider that in 1985 it took 30 weeks at the median wage to pay for big fixed costs like housing, health care, a car, and education; fast forward to today when it takes a mathematically impossible 53 weeks of a 52-week year to buy those things.

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In other words, as BofA puts it, "'thriving' has become impossible for the average worker" and adds that " it's no wonder that the uncertainty of forecasts for future growth remains near record highs."

Of course, it's also why millions of Americans are desperately looking forward to another stimulus round, and then another, and another after that, for the simple reason that it was the government's "pandemic relief" that boosted compensation to artificial, if "one-time" record highs.

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The question is whether this "one-time" stimulus which many equate with Universal Basic Income, has become a permanent fixture of American life.

[Jul 18, 2020] The Lost Boys- The White Working Class Is Being Left Behind by Christopher Snowdon

The USA and GB actually implement caste system. That's what job quota means.
Notable quotes:
"... It might seem divisive to compare different groups, but attainment in education and in life is relative and if we're to help the worst off, we have to know who they are. We should help everyone who needs it -- but it is vital to be able to compare groups to know who's falling behind, relative to their peers. In the UK, Bangladeshi-Brits earn 20 percent less than whites on average, for instance, but those with Indian heritage are likely to earn 12 percent more. Black Britons on average earn 9 percent less, but Chinese earn 30 percent more. What these differences tell us is that employers aren't systematically discriminating between people on the basis of their skin color, and that we have to look elsewhere to see the roots of inequality. ..."
"... Poor Chinese girls (that is to say, those who qualify for free school meals) do better than rich white children. ..."
"... But, interestingly, the ethnic group least likely to get into university are whites. With the sole exception of Gypsy/Roma, every ethnic group attends university at a higher rate than the white British and, of the white British who do attend, most are middle class and 57 percent are female. The least likely group to go on to higher education are poor white boys. Just 13 percent of them go on to higher education, less than any black or Asian group. ..."
"... Angus Deaton, a Nobel Laureate based at Princeton University, came up with the phrase 'deaths of despair' when he looked at the demographics of those suffering from alcoholism, depression and drug abuse. Suicides among whites, he found, was soaring and those who took their own lives tended to be poor and low-educated. His recently-published book on the subject ( Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism , co-written with Anne Case) tells the devastating story of what he calls 'the decline of white working-class lives over the last half-century'. ..."
Jul 17, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Christopher Snowdon via Spectator USA,

You can argue about the merits of pulling down statues, but it's hard to make the case that mass protests serve no useful purpose. At the very least, they provoke debate and draw attention to uncomfortable topics that it might otherwise be easier to ignore. The recent protests have forced everyone to have difficult discussions about race, class, poverty and attainment. Any serious examination of the statistics shows that we're pretty far from equal, but what the figures also show is that it's wrong-headed and damaging to lump very different groups together.

In these discussions politicians often lazily assume that all BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people are the same, and that all white groups are equally privileged. But a proper look at the data shows not just that there are striking difference within BAME groups, but that the very worst-performing group of all are white working-class boys -- the forgotten demographic .

It might seem divisive to compare different groups, but attainment in education and in life is relative and if we're to help the worst off, we have to know who they are. We should help everyone who needs it -- but it is vital to be able to compare groups to know who's falling behind, relative to their peers. In the UK, Bangladeshi-Brits earn 20 percent less than whites on average, for instance, but those with Indian heritage are likely to earn 12 percent more. Black Britons on average earn 9 percent less, but Chinese earn 30 percent more. What these differences tell us is that employers aren't systematically discriminating between people on the basis of their skin color, and that we have to look elsewhere to see the roots of inequality.

Ucas, the British university admissions service, can provide unique insight into these issues: it is the only outfit in the world to gather detailed information on all university applicants, including their age, gender, neighborhood and school type. This is collected along with data on who applied for which courses and who was accepted, and it is renewed in huge detail every year.

Much of the data shows predictable results: there is a gap between rich and poor, as you might expect in a UK state system where the best schools tend to be located in the most expensive areas. But there are surprising discoveries too: nearly half the children eligible for free school meals in inner London go on to higher education, but in the country outside London as a whole it is just 26 percent.

Black African British children outperform white children, whereas black Caribbean children tend to do worse. Poor Chinese girls (that is to say, those who qualify for free school meals) do better than rich white children.

But, interestingly, the ethnic group least likely to get into university are whites. With the sole exception of Gypsy/Roma, every ethnic group attends university at a higher rate than the white British and, of the white British who do attend, most are middle class and 57 percent are female. The least likely group to go on to higher education are poor white boys. Just 13 percent of them go on to higher education, less than any black or Asian group.

This is a trend that can also be seen in the GCSE data; only 17 percent of white British pupils eligible for free school meals achieve a strong pass in English and maths. Students categorized as Bangladeshi, Black African and Indian are more than twice as likely to do so. In 2007, the state sector saw 23 percent of black students go on to higher education; this was true for 22 percent of whites. So about the same. But at the last count, in 2018, the gap had widened to 11 points (41 percent for black students, 30 percent for whites). The children of the white working class are falling away from their peers, in danger of becoming lost.

Going to university is not the golden ticket it once was, but it requires stupefying naivety to believe that seven out of eight poor white boys take a sober look at the economics of higher education and choose to set up their own businesses instead. The trail of hard evidence runs cold once they leave school, but the prospects for those who can barely read and write are dreadful and we can get some idea of the consequences by looking at the 'left behind' areas where unemployment, crime and 'deaths of despair' are significantly higher than the national average.

Angus Deaton, a Nobel Laureate based at Princeton University, came up with the phrase 'deaths of despair' when he looked at the demographics of those suffering from alcoholism, depression and drug abuse. Suicides among whites, he found, was soaring and those who took their own lives tended to be poor and low-educated. His recently-published book on the subject ( Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism , co-written with Anne Case) tells the devastating story of what he calls 'the decline of white working-class lives over the last half-century'.

Yet while white working-class males are the largest disadvantaged minority, their cause is the least fashionable. In the intersectional pyramid of victimhood, white males are at the bottom, tarnished by ideas of 'toxic masculinity' and 'white privilege' despite the fact that in Britain class has always been the most significant indicator of true privilege. It's worrying, then, that any who attempt 'positive action' on behalf of poor white boys face a hostile reaction. Last year, Dulwich and Winchester colleges turned down a bequest of more than £1 million ($1.25 million) because the donor, Sir Bryan Thwaites, wanted the money ring-fenced for scholarships for white working-class boys. Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust, a charity whose stated mission is to improve social mobility, described Thwaites's offer as 'obnoxious'.

When Ben Bradley, the Conservative MP for Mansfield, tried to ask an 'Equalities' question about working-class white boys in parliament earlier this year, he was turned down by the Table Office because they do not have any 'protected characteristics'. The concept of 'protected characteristics' was wheeled into UK law by Harriet Harman's Equality Act, 10 years ago, and the Tories, then in opposition, took the rare step of voting for it. The nine protected characteristics include 'race', 'sex' and 'sexual orientation', but the Table Office is not alone in interpreting these as 'non-white', 'female' and 'gay'.

Under the Equality Act, 'positive discrimination' remains technically unlawful, but the barely indistinguishable concept of 'positive action' is explicitly legal. Firms cannot have quotas, but they can set targets. Employers cannot refuse to look at job applications from people who lack protected characteristics, but by stating that 'applications are particularly welcome' from BAME, female or LBGTQ+ candidates they send a message that some need not apply.

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In 2016 the BBC pledged that half its workforce and leadership would be female by 2020 despite less than 40 percent of Britain's full-time workers being women. It also set an 8 percent target for LGBT employees, although only around 2 percent of the population identify as LGBT. This target has been comfortably exceeded, as has been the target of having 15 percent of employees from a BAME background. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last month, the corporation raised this target to 20 per cent.

The BBC admits that people from 'low and intermediate income households' are hugely underrepresented in its workforce. But what does it do about it? Earlier this month Oxford University proudly reported that it was making 'steady progress' in its efforts to make its campuses 'representative of wider society'. Of its most recent intake of British students, only 14 percent came from the poorest 40 percent of households.

This fits a pattern: at a push, we can hear acknowledgement of the 'poor white male' problem. But that's as far as it ever goes. The underperformance of white boys and men is not considered to be a problem worth solving. When figures come out showing the stunning attainment gaps between boys and girls, the interest lasts for about a day. 'It always got a few headlines,' says Mary Curnock Cook, the former head of Ucas. 'Where it never got any traction at all was in policy-making in government. I began to think that the subject of white boys is just too difficult for them, given the politicization of feminism and women's equality.'

When I asked a teacher why white working-class boys have fallen so far behind, he gave me a short answer: girls are better behaved and immigrant parents are stricter. This is a generalization but nonetheless interesting: if it is the case that parenting is the problem, then it's not clear how much the UK government can do. Perhaps the reluctance to discuss the subject stems from fear that such a discussion would lead to difficult territory about family structure, quality of parenting and -- in short -- culture. Perhaps politicians think it better to let the problem fester, and the children suffer, than to risk discussing it.

Last month, the British government announced that its commission on racial inequality would include an examination into the underperformance of working-class white boys at schools. Will it look deep into the causes? It might look at recent studies that suggest poor reading levels in schools is a huge part of the problem. And it might ask whether 'positive action' in the name of diversity has left white working-class boys behind.

[Jul 06, 2020] I don't want to return to normal

Notable quotes:
"... That is the reality of 'normal', where everything has been devalued to its lowest denominator – its cold, hard, economic value of cash. Yes, devalued – because our society demands that everything has only a cash figure. ..."
"... For the working class, these narratives of 'the middle', of being mediocre, do not work for us, because we start from a position of disadvantage and our narrative around success starts with change. Because who we are is never good enough – we are instead told and taught to 'aspire' to join the ranks of the middle class and achieve the things its members take as theirs. Property. Profits. Expensive wine. Insider knowledge of which brand of jam makes them a better person. ..."
May 15, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ... ..

That is the reality of 'normal', where everything has been devalued to its lowest denominator – its cold, hard, economic value of cash. Yes, devalued – because our society demands that everything has only a cash figure. Therefore 'normal' is always framed by the middle classes, because they have power, and language, and education – and yes, money – which allows what appears normal to them to be considered normal for everyone. If you are working class, you don't get to frame your interpretation of normal; normal sits in the middle and becomes mediocre, never radical or challenging.

That 'normal' works for the middle classes because it's theirs – most of them are living their lives today the same ways they were eight weeks ago, before Covid struck. Many are existing in even more comfortable contentedness than usual.

I hate this mediocre position. It speaks to me of having no aspirations to challenge, to think differently, to shake things up. It is the thought process, and actions, of the middle class – who see no benefit in change because they are doing okay.

For the working class, these narratives of 'the middle', of being mediocre, do not work for us, because we start from a position of disadvantage and our narrative around success starts with change. Because who we are is never good enough – we are instead told and taught to 'aspire' to join the ranks of the middle class and achieve the things its members take as theirs. Property. Profits. Expensive wine. Insider knowledge of which brand of jam makes them a better person.

ALSO ON RT.COM Mishandling of Black Death 640 years ago led to the Peasants' Revolt. It's time we modern-day peasants rebelled over Covid-19

... ... ...

Covid-19 has shown us VERY CLEARLY that it is the working class whose lives are in such precarity and who are always first in line to be killed or thrown onto the dole queues. It is the working class who suffer most from anything that is negative – whether it's man-made, like a rotten economic system, or a health pandemic – and benefit least from anything positive.

ALSO ON RT.COM If the UK government brings in a new round of austerity to pay for Covid-19, it'll spark civil unrest that will see cities burn

As governments and bosses all over the world try to tempt us back into the "old normal" and whisper snake-oil encouragements such a s "Don't worry, it won't all be the same things will improve," let us grab that message with both hands, our feet and our heads. Let's appropriate it and tell them clearly: no, it bloody well won't be the same. We don't want that 'normal'. As it was never normal for us – it was a living nightmare.

--

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa .

[Jul 06, 2020] Britain's working class need a New Deal that overhauls housing, education and benefits to see them through the post-Covid crisis by Dr Lisa McKenzie

Notable quotes:
"... The consequences of the short-sighted politics and policies of the Thatcher era have been profound in those communities that suffered, and have shaped the narrative of the working class over the past 40 years, as people who are slow to change and are left behind. ..."
"... The consequence of this has been that the social, political and cultural influence of the working class has also diminished. Working-class people are now barely represented outside of low-paid, low-skilled work centered in the limited space of the service sector, healthcare, retail and distribution centers. ..."
"... Even the government's own appointed Social Mobility Commission acknowledges that class inequality and class prejudice is entrenched in our society. But it has no real solutions, and simply trots out the usual unimaginative tropes of raising aspiration for young working-class people. ..."
"... Working-class people need their own 'New Deal', which not only recognises the even greater inequalities caused by Covid-19 and the economic disaster that is on its way, but acknowledges the economic, social, political and cultural attack they have sustained for over 40 years. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ...

The consequences of the short-sighted politics and policies of the Thatcher era have been profound in those communities that suffered, and have shaped the narrative of the working class over the past 40 years, as people who are slow to change and are left behind.

Even former chancellors are warning of a return to a 1980s level of unemployment and recession – although none of them accepts responsibility for the structures they defended that caused that unemployment. Nor do they take responsibility for their inability to think honestly or even creatively about the failure of capitalism.

... ... ...

The consequence of this has been that the social, political and cultural influence of the working class has also diminished. Working-class people are now barely represented outside of low-paid, low-skilled work centered in the limited space of the service sector, healthcare, retail and distribution centers.

Even the government's own appointed Social Mobility Commission acknowledges that class inequality and class prejudice is entrenched in our society. But it has no real solutions, and simply trots out the usual unimaginative tropes of raising aspiration for young working-class people.

ALSO ON RT.COM I don't want to return to normal when this is all over... Normal is s**t

So I'll help it out. Working-class people need their own 'New Deal', which not only recognises the even greater inequalities caused by Covid-19 and the economic disaster that is on its way, but acknowledges the economic, social, political and cultural attack they have sustained for over 40 years.

The New Deal for working-class people would recognise that access to good, safe and affordable housing is needed immediately.

It would recognise that the welfare-benefits system that's supposed to catch those who need support is cruel, humiliating and keeps people in poverty, rather than lifting them out.

... ... ...

--

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa .

[Jun 23, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple. ..."
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
"... Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Jun 21, 2020] How Workers Can Win the Class War Being Waged Against Them by Richard D. Wolff

Notable quotes:
"... Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States. ..."
"... In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable. ..."
"... Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). ..."
"... Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. ..."
"... Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Organized labor led no mass opposition to Trump's presidency or the December 2017 tax cut or the failed U.S. preparation for and management of COVID-19. Nor do we yet see a labor-led national protest against the worst mass firing since the 1930s Great Depression. All of these events, but especially the unemployment, mark an employers' class war against employees. The U.S. government directs it, but the employers as a class inspire and benefit the most from it.

Before the 2020 crash, class war had been redistributing wealth for decades from middle-income people and the poor to the top 1 percent. That upward redistribution was U.S. employers' response to the legacy of the New Deal. During the Great Depression and afterward, wealth had been redistributed downward. By the 1970s, that was reversed. The 2020 crash will accelerate upward wealth redistribution sharply.

With tens of millions now a "reserve army" of the unemployed, nearly every U.S. employer can cut wages, benefits, etc. Employees dissatisfied with these cuts are easily replaced. Vast numbers of unemployed, stressed by uncertain job prospects and unemployment benefits, disappearing savings, and rising household tensions, will take jobs despite reduced wages, benefits, and working conditions. As the unemployed return to work, most employees' standards of consumption and living will drop.

Germany, France, and other European nations could not fire workers as the United States did. Strong labor movements and socialist parties with deep social influences preclude governments risking comparable mass unemployment; it would risk deposing them from office. Thus their antiviral lockdowns keep most at work with governments paying 70 percent or more of pre-virus wages and salaries.

Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States.

Only if workers understand and mobilize to fight this class war can the trends sketched above be stopped or reversed. U.S. workers did exactly that in the 1930s. They fought -- in highly organized ways -- the class war waged against them then. Millions joined labor unions, and many tens of thousands joined two socialist parties and one communist party. All four organizations worked together, in coalition, to mobilize and activate the U.S. working class.

Weekly, and sometimes daily, workers marched across the United States. They criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies and capitalism itself by intermingling reformist and revolutionary demands. The coalition's size and political reach forced politicians, including FDR, to listen and respond, often positively. An initially "centrist" FDR adapted to become a champion of Social Security, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and a huge federal jobs program. The coalition achieved those moderate socialist reforms -- the New Deal -- and paid for them by setting aside revolutionary change.

It proved to be a good deal, but only in the short run. Its benefits to workers included a downward redistribution of income and wealth (especially via homeownership), and thereby the emergence of a new "middle class." Relatively well-paid employees were sufficient in number to sustain widespread notions of American exceptionalism, beliefs in ever-rising standards of working-class living across generations, and celebrations of capitalism as guaranteeing these social benefits. The reality was quite different. Not capitalists but rather their critics and victims had forced the New Deal against capitalists' resistance. And those middle-class benefits bypassed most African Americans.

The good deal did not last because U.S. capitalists largely resented the New Deal and sought to undo it. With World War II's end and FDR's death in 1945, the undoing accelerated. An anti-Soviet Cold War plus anti-communist/socialist crusades at home gave patriotic cover for destroying the New Deal coalition. The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act targeted organized labor. Senate and House committees spearheaded a unified effort (government, mass media, and academia) to demonize, silence, and socially exclude communists, socialists, leftists, etc. For decades after 1945 -- and still now in parts of the United States -- a sustained hysteria defined all left-wing thought, policy, or movement as always and necessarily the worst imaginable social evil.

Over time, the New Deal coalition was destroyed and left-wing thinking was labeled "disloyal." Even barely left-of-center labor and political organizations repeatedly denounced and distanced themselves from any sort of anti-capitalist impulse, any connection to socialism. Many New Deal reforms were evaded, amended, or repealed. Some simply vanished from politicians' knowledge and vocabulary and then journalists' too. Having witnessed the purges of leftist colleagues from 1945 through the 1950s, a largely docile academic community celebrated capitalism in general and U.S. capitalism in particular. The good in U.S. society was capitalism's gift. The rest resulted from government or foreign or ideological interferences in capitalism's wonderful invisible hand. Any person or group excluded from this American Dream had only themselves to blame for inadequate ability, insufficient effort, or ideological deviancy.

In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable.

Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). Unprepared economically, politically, and ideologically for any of them, the Federal Reserve responded by creating vast sums of new money that it threw at/lent to (at historically low interest rates) banks, large corporations, etc. Three successive exercises in trickle-down economic policy saw little trickle down. No underlying economic problems (inequality, excess systemic debts, cyclical instability, etc.) have been solved. On the contrary, all worsened. In other words, class war has been intensified.

What then is to be done? First, we need to recognize the class war that is underway and commit to fighting it. On that basis, we must organize a mass base to put real political force behind social democratic policies, parties, and politicians. We need something like the New Deal coalition. The pandemic, economic crash, and gross official policy failures (including violent official scapegoating) draw many toward classical social democracy. The successes of the Democratic Socialists of America show this.

Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. Strategic decisions made by both the U.S. New Deal and European social democracy contributed to their defeats. Both always left and still leave employers exclusively in positions to (1) receive and dispense their enterprises' profits and (2) decide and direct what, how, and where their enterprises produce. Those positions gave capitalists the financial resources and power -- politically, economically, and culturally -- repeatedly to outmaneuver and repress labor and the left.

Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. The new element is thus the demand to change enterprises producing goods and services. From hierarchical, capitalist organizations (where owners, boards of directors, etc., occupy the employer position) we need to transition to the altogether different democratic, worker co-op organizations. In the latter, no employer/employee split occurs. All workers have equal voice in deciding what gets produced, how, and where and how any profits get used. The collective of all employees is their own employer. As such an employer, the employees will finally protect and thus secure the reforms associated with the New Deal and social democracy.

We could describe the transition from capitalist to worker co-op enterprise organizations as a revolution. That would resolve the old debate of reform versus revolution. Revolution becomes the only way finally to secure progressive reforms. Capitalism's reforms were generated by the system's impacts on people and their resulting demands for change. Capitalism's resistances to those reforms -- and undoing them after they happened -- spawned the revolution needed to secure them. In that revolution, society moves beyond capitalism itself. So it was in the French Revolution: demands for reform within feudal society could only finally be realized by a social transition from feudalism to capitalism.

This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Richard D. Wolff

Richard Wolff is the author of Capitalism Hits the Fan and Capitalism's Crisis Deepens . He is founder of Democracy at Work .

[Jun 19, 2020] The Police Weren t Created to Protect and Serve. They Were Created to Maintain Order. A Brief Look at the History of Police

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story. ..."
"... Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism. ..."
"... What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets. ..."
"... In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police. ..."
"... Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. ..."
"... I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905. ..."
"... Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like.. ..."
"... Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.* ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Tom mentions in passing the role of Pinkertons as goons for hire to crush early labor activists. Some employers like Ford went as far as forming private armies for that purpose. Establishing police forces were a way to socialize this cost.

By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

One version of the "thin blue line" flag, a symbol used in a variety of ways by American police departments , their most fervent supporters , and other right-wing fellow travelers . The thin blue line represents the wall of protection that separates the orderly "us" from the disorderly, uncivilized "them" .

[In the 1800s] the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class.
-- Sam Mitrani here

It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story.

To understand the true purpose of police, we have to ask, "What's being protected?" and "Who's being served?"

Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism.

What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets.

Looking Behind Us

The following comes from an essay published at the blog of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, an academic group for teachers of labor studies, by Sam Mitrani, Associate Professor of History at the College of DuPage and author of The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 .

According to Mitrani, "The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system's offspring, the working class."

Keep in mind that there were no police departments anywhere in Europe or the U.S. prior to the 19th century -- in fact, "anywhere in the world" according to Mitrani. In the U.S., the North had constables, many part-time, and elected sheriffs, while the South had slave patrols. But nascent capitalism soon created a large working class, and a mass of European immigrants, "yearning to be free," ended up working in capitalism's northern factories and living in its cities.

"[A]s Northern cities grew and filled with mostly immigrant wage workers who were physically and socially separated from the ruling class, the wealthy elite who ran the various municipal governments hired hundreds and then thousands of armed men to impose order on the new working class neighborhoods ." [emphasis added]

America of the early and mid 1800s was still a world without organized police departments. What the Pinkertons were to strikes , these "thousands of armed men" were to the unruly working poor in those cities.

Imagine this situation from two angles. First, from the standpoint of the workers, picture the oppression these armed men must have represented, lawless themselves yet tasked with imposing "order" and violence on the poor and miserable, who were frequently and understandably both angry and drunk. (Pre-Depression drunkenness, under this interpretation, is not just a social phenomenon, but a political one as well.)

Second, consider this situation from the standpoint of the wealthy who hired these men. Given the rapid growth of capitalism during this period, "maintaining order" was a costly undertaking, and likely to become costlier. Pinkertons, for example, were hired at private expense, as were the "thousands of armed men" Mitrani mentions above.

The solution was to offload this burden onto municipal budgets. Thus, between 1840 and 1880, every major northern city in America had created a substantial police force, tasked with a single job, the one originally performed by the armed men paid by the business elites -- to keep the workers in line, to "maintain order" as factory owners and the moneyed class understood it.

"Class conflict roiled late nineteenth century American cities like Chicago, which experienced major strikes and riots in 1867, 1877, 1886, and 1894. In each of these upheavals, the police attacked strikers with extreme violence, even if in 1877 and 1894 the U.S. Army played a bigger role in ultimately repressing the working class. In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization , by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. This ideology of order that developed in the late nineteenth century echoes down to today – except that today, poor black and Latino people are the main threat, rather than immigrant workers."

That "thin blue line protecting civilization" is the same blue line we're witnessing today. Yes, big-city police are culturally racist as a group; but they're not just racist. They dislike all the "unwashed." A recent study that reviewed "all the data available on police shootings for the year 2017, and analyze[d] it based on geography, income, and poverty levels, as well as race" revealed the following remarkable pattern:

" Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder : in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

As they have always been, the police departments in the U.S. are a violent force for maintaining an order that separates and protects society's predator class from its victims -- a racist order to be sure, but a class-based order as well.

Looking Ahead

We've seen the violence of the police as visited on society's urban poor (and anyone else, poor or not, who happens to be the same race and color as the poor too often are), and we've witnessed the violent reactions of police to mass protests challenging the racism of that violence.

But we've also seen the violence of police during the mainly white-led Occupy movement (one instance here ; note that while the officer involved was fired, he was also compensated $38,000 for "suffering he experienced after the incident").

So what could we expect from police if there were, say, a national, angry, multiracial rent strike with demonstrations? Or a student debt s trike? None of these possibilities are off the table, given the economic damage -- most of it still unrealized -- caused by the current Covid crisis.

Will police "protect and serve" the protesters, victims of the latest massive transfer of wealth to the already massively wealthy? Or will they, with violence, "maintain order" by maintaining elite control of the current predatory system?

If Mitrani is right, the latter is almost certain.


MK , June 19, 2020 at 12:31 am

Possible solutions? One, universal public works system for everyone 18-20. [Avoiding armed service because that will never happen, nor peace corp.] Not allow the rich to buy then or their children an out. Let the billionaires children work along side those who never had a single family house or car growing up.

Two, eliminate suburban school districts and simply have one per state, broken down into regional areas. No rich [or white] flight to avoid poor systems. Children of differing means growing up side by side. Of course the upper class would simply send their children to private schools, much as the elite do now anyway.

Class and privilege is the real underlying issue and has been since capital began to be concentrated and hoarded as the article points out. It has to begin with the children if the future is to really change in a meaningful way.

timbers , June 19, 2020 at 8:06 am

I would add items targeted as what is causing inequality. Some of these might be:

1). Abolish the Federal Reserve. It's current action since 2008 are a huge transfer of wealth from us to the wealthy. No more Quantitative Easing, no Fed buying of stocks or bonds.

2). Make the only retirement and medical program allowed Congress and the President, Social Security and Medicare. That will cause it to be improved for all of us.

3). No stock ownership allowed for Congress folk while serving terms. Also, rules against joining those leaving Congress acting as lobbyists.

4). Something that makes it an iron rule that any law passed by Congress and the President, must equally apply to Congress and the President. For example, no separate retirement or healthcare access, but have this more broadly applied to all aspects of legislation and all aspects of life.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:11 am

Abolish the Fed and/or abolish the police?

Inbetween, there is

Defund Wall Street
Abolish banking
Abolish lending
Abolish cash
Defund fossil fuel subsidies

Etc.

Broader, more on the economic side, and perhaps more fundamental???

TiPs , June 19, 2020 at 8:34 am

I think you'd also have to legalize drugs and any other thing that leads creation of "organized ciminal groups." Take away the sources that lead to the creation of the well-armed gangs that control illegal activities.

David , June 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

Unfortunately, legalising drugs in itself, whatever the abstract merits, wouldn't solve the problem. Organised crime would still have a major market selling cut-price, tax-free or imitation drugs, as well, of course, as controlled drugs which are not allowed to be sold to just anybody now. Organised crime doesn't arise as a result of prohibitions, it expands into new areas thanks to them, and often these areas involve smuggling and evading customs duties. Tobacco products are legal virtually everywhere, but there's a massive criminal trade in smuggling them from the Balkans into Italy, where taxes are much higher. Any time you create a border, in effect, you create crime: there is even alcohol smuggling between Sweden and Norway. Even when activities are completely legal (such as prostitution in many European countries) organised crime is still largely in control through protection rackets and the provision of "security."

In effect, you'd need to abolish all borders, all import and customs duties and all health and safety and other controls which create price differentials between states. And OC is not fussy, it moves from one racket to another, as the Mafia did in the 1930s with the end of prohibition. To really tackle OC you'd need to legalise, oh, child pornography, human trafficking, sex slavery, the trade in rare wild animals, the trade in stolen gems and conflict diamonds, internet fraud and cyberattacks, and the illicit trade in rare metals, to name, as they say, but a few. As Monty Python well observed, the only way to reduce the crime rate (and hence the need for the police) is to reduce the number of criminal offences. Mind you, if you defund the police you effectively legalise all these things anyway.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:48 am

I dunno, ending Prohibition sure cut down on the market for bootleg liquor. It's still out there, but the market is nothing like what it once was.

Most people, even hardcore alcoholics, aren't going to go through the hassle of buying rotgut of dubious origin just to save a few dimes, when you can go to the corner liquor store and get a known product, no issues with supply 'cause your dealer's supplier just got arrested.

For that matter, OC is still definitely out there, but it isn't the force that it was during Prohibition, or when gambling was illegal.

As an aside, years ago, I knew a guy whose father had worked for Meyer Lansky's outfit, until Prohibition put him and others out of a job. As a token of his loyal service, the outfit gave him a (legal) liquor store to own and run.

David , June 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Yes, but in Norway, for example, you'd pay perhaps $30 for a six-pack of beer in a supermarket, whereas you'd pay half that to somebody selling beers out of the back of a car. In general people make too much of the Prohibition case, which was geographically and politically very special, and a a stage in history when OC was much less sophisticated. The Mob diversified into gambling and similar industries (higher profits, fewer risks). These days OC as a whole is much more powerful and dangerous, as well as sophisticated, than it was then, helped by globalisation and the Internet.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I think ending prohibitions on substances, would take quite a bite out of OC's pocketbook. and having someone move trailers of ciggarettes of bottles of beer big deal. That isn't really paying for the lifestyle.and it doesn't buy political protection. An old number I saw @ 2000 . the UN figured(guess) that illegal drugs were @ 600 billion dollars/year industry and most of that was being laundered though banks. Which to the banking industry is 600 billion in cash going into it's house of mirrors. Taking something like that out of the equation EVERY YEAR is no small thing. And the lobby from the OC who wants drugs kept illegal, coupled with the bankers who want the cash inputs equals a community of interest against legalization
and if the local police forces and the interstate/internationals were actually looking to use their smaller budgets and non-bill of rights infringing tactics, on helping the victim side of crimes then they could have a real mission/ Instead of just abusing otherwise innocent people who victimize no one.
so if we are looking for "low hanging fruit" . ending the war on drugs is a no brainer.

flora , June 19, 2020 at 1:36 am

Thanks for this post.

"What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. " – Neuberger

In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. – Mitrani

I think this ties in, if only indirectly, with the way so many peaceful recent protests seemed to turn violent after the police showed up. It's possible I suppose the police want to create disorder to frighten not only the protestors with immediate harm but also frighten the bourgeois about the threate of a "dangerous mob". Historically violent protests created a political backlash that usually benefited political conservatives and the wealthy owners. (The current protests may be different in this regard. The violence seems to have created a political backlash against conservatives and overzealous police departments' violence. ) My 2 cents.

John Anthony La Pietra , June 19, 2020 at 2:20 am

Sorry, but the title sent my mind back to the days of old -- of old Daley, that is, and his immortal quote from 1968: "Gentlemen, let's get the thing straight, once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder."

Adam1 , June 19, 2020 at 7:39 am

LOL!!! great quote. Talk about saying it the way it is.

It kind of goes along with, "Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder: in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

I bang my head on the table sometimes because poor white men and poor men of color are so often placed at odds when they increasingly face (mostly) the same problems. God forbid someone tried to unite them, there might really be some pearl clutching then.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 8:07 am

yeah, like Martin Luther King's "poor people's campaign". the thought of including the poor ,of all colors .. just too much for the status quo to stomach.
The "mechanism" that keeps masses in line . is one of those "invisible hands" too.

run75441 , June 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

Great response! I am sure you have more to add to this. A while back, I was researching the issues you state in your last paragraph. Was about ten pages into it and had to stop as I was drawn out of state and country. From my research.

While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system. This distraction of a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US. For the lower class, an allowed luxury, a place in the hierarchy and a sure form of self esteem insurance.

Sennett and Cobb (1972) observed that class distinction sets up a contest between upper and lower class with the lower social class always losing and promulgating a perception amongst themselves the educated and upper classes are in a position to judge and draw a conclusion of them being less than equal. The hidden injury is in the regard to the person perceiving himself as a piece of the woodwork or seen as a function such as "George the Porter." It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame. The answer for many was violence.

James Gilligan wrote "Violence; Reflections on A National Epidemic." He worked as a prison psychiatrist and talked with many of the inmates of the issues of inequality and feeling less than those around them. His finding are in his book which is not a long read and adds to the discussion.

A little John Adams for you.

" The poor man's conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded.

In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar.

He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable ."

likbez, June 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

That's a very important observation.

Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with "identity wedge," is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism.

In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network.

This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, "Floydgate" can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.

This is another way to explain "What's the matter with Kansas" effect.

John Anthony La Pietra, June 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

I like that one! - and I have to admit it's not familiar to me, though I've been a fan since before I got to play him in a neighboring community theater. Now I'm having some difficulty finding it. Where is it from, may I ask?

run75441, June 20, 2020 at 7:56 am

JAL:

Page 239, "The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States."

Read the book "Violence: Reflections of A National Epidemic" . Not a long read and well documented.

Carla , June 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm

MLK Jr. tried, and look what happened to him once he really got some traction. If the Rev. William Barber's Poor People's Campaign picks up steam, I'm afraid the same thing will happen to him.

I wish it were only pearl-clutching that the money power would resort to, but that's not the way it works.

JacobiteInTraining , June 19, 2020 at 9:20 am

Yeah – that quote struck me too, never seen it before. At times when they feel so liberated to 'say the quiet part out loud', then as now, you know the glove is coming off and the vicious mailed fist is free to roam for victims.

Those times are where you know you need to resist or .well, die in many cases.

That's something that really gets me in public response to many of these things. The normal instinct of the populace to wake from their somnambulant slumber just long enough to ascribe to buffoonery and idiocy ala Keystone Cops the things so much better understood as fully consciously and purposefully repressive, reactionary, and indicating a desire to take that next step to crush fully. To obliterate.

Many responses to this – https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1273809160128389120 – are like, 'the police are dumb', 'out of touch', 'a lot of dumb gomer pyles in that room, yuk yuk yuk'. Or, 'cops/FBI are so dumb to pursue this antifa thing, its just a boogieman' thinking that somehow once the authorities realize 'antifa' is a boogieman, their attitudes towards other protesters will somehow be different 'now that they realize the silliness of the claims'.

No, not remotely the case – to a terrifyingly large percentage of those in command, and in rank & file they know exactly where it came from, exactly how the tactics work, and have every intention of classifying all protesters (peaceful or not) into that worldview. The peaceful protesters *are* antifa in their eyes, to be dealt with in the fully approved manner of violence and repression.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police.

This is why in the Third World, the only job of lower social standing than "policeman" is "police informer".

cripes , June 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

The anti-rascist identity of the recent protests rests on a much larger base of class warfare waged over the past 40 years against the entire population led by a determined oligarchy and enforced by their political, media and militarized police retainers. This same oligarchy, with a despicable zeal and revolting media-orchestrated campaign–co-branding the movement with it's usual corporate perpetrators– distorts escalating carceral and economic violence solely through a lens of racial conflict and their time-tested toothless reforms. A few unlucky "peace officers" may have to TOFTT until the furor recedes, can't be helped.

Crowding out debt relief, single payer health, living wages, affordable housing and actual justice reform from the debate that would benefit African Americans more than any other demographic is the goal.

The handful of Emperors far prefer kabuki theater and random ritual Seppuku than facing the rage of millions of staring down the barrel of zero income, debt, bankruptcy, evictions and dispossession. The Praetorians will follow the money as always.

I suppose we'll get some boulevards re-named and a paid Juneteenth holiday to compensate for the destruction 100+ years of labor rights struggle, so there's that..

Boatwright , June 19, 2020 at 7:51 am

Homestead, Ludlow, Haymarket, Matewan -- the list is long

Working men and women asking for justice gunned down by the cops. There will always be men ready to murder on command as long as the orders come from the rich and powerful. We are at a moment in history folks were some of us, today mostly people of color, are willing to put their lives on the line. It's an ongoing struggle.

MichaelSF , June 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould

rob , June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am

So how can a tier of society(the police) . be what a society needs ? When as this story and many others show how and why the police were formed. To break heads. When they have been "the tool" of the elite forever. When so many of them are such dishonest, immoral, wanna be fascists. And the main direction of the US is towards a police state and fascists running the show . both republican and democrat. With technology being the boot on the neck of the people and the police are there to take it to the streets.

Can those elusive "good apples" turn the whole rotten barrel into sweet smelling apple pie? That is a big ask.

Or should the structure be liquidated, sell their army toys. fill the ranks with people who are not pathological liars and abusers and /or racists; of one sort or another. Get rid of the mentality of overcompensation by uber machismo. and make them watch the andy griffith show. They ought to learn that they can be respected if they are good people, and that they are not respected because they seek respect through fear and intimidation.

Is that idiot cry of theirs, .. the whole yelling at you; demanding absolute obedience to arbitrary ,assinine orders, really working to get them respect or is it just something they get off on?

When the police are shown to be bad, they strike by work slowdown, or letting a little chaos loose themselves. So the people know they need them So any reform of the police will go through the police not doing their jobs . but then something like better communities may result. less people being busted and harassed , or pulled over for the sake of a quota . may just show we don't need so much policing anyway. And then if the new social workers brigade starts intervening in peoples with issues when they are young and in school maybe fewer will be in the system. Couple that with the police not throwing their family in jail for nothing, and forcing them to pay fines for breaking stupid laws. The system will have less of a load, and the new , better cops without attitudes will be able to handle their communities in a way that works for everyone. Making them a net positive, as opposed to now where they are a net negative.
Also,

The drug war is over. The cops have only done the bidding of the organized criminal elements who make their bread and butter because of prohibition.

Our representatives can legally smoke pot , and grow it in their windowboxes in the capital dc., but people in many places are still living in fear of police using possession of some substance,as a pretext to take all their stuff,throw them in jail. But besides the cops, there are the prosecutors . they earn their salaries by stealing it from poor people through fines for things that ought to be legal. This is one way to drain money from poor communities, causing people to go steal from others in society to pay their court costs.

And who is gonna come and bust down your door when you can't pay a fine and choose to pay rent and buy your kids food instead . the cops. just doing their jobs. Evil is the banality of business as usual

Tom Stone , June 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

The late Kevin R C O'Brien noted that in every case where the Police had been ordered to "Round up the usual suspects" they have done so, and delivered them where ordered. It did not matter who the "Usual suspects" were, or to what fate they were to be delivered. They are the King's men and they do the King's bidding.

The Rev Kev , June 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

To have a reasonable discussion, I think that it should be recognized that modern police are but one leg of a triad. The first of course is the police who appear to seem themselves as not part of a community but as enforcers in that community. To swipe an idea from Mao, the police should move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. Not be a patrolling shark that attacks who they want at will knowing that there will be no repercussions against them. When you get to the point that you have police arresting children in school for infractions of school discipline – giving them a police record – you know that things have gotten out of hand.

The next leg is the courts which of course includes prosecutors. It is my understanding that prosecutors are elected to office in the US and so have incentives to appear to be tough on crime"" . They seem to operate more like 'Let's Make a Deal' from what I have read. When they tell some kid that he has a choice of 1,000 years in prison on trumped up charges or pleads guilty to a smaller offence, you know that that is not justice at work. Judges too operate in their own world and will always take the word of a policeman as a witness.

And the third leg is the prisons which operate as sweatshops for corporate America. It is in the interest of the police and the courts to fill up the prisons to overflowing. Anybody remember the Pennsylvania "kids for cash" scandal where kids lives were being ruined with criminal records that were bogus so that some people could make a profit? And what sort of prison system is it where a private contractor can build a prison without a contract at all , knowing that the government (California in this case) will nonetheless fill it up for a good profit.

In short, in sorting out police doctrine and methods like is happening now, it should be recognized that they are actually only the face of a set of problems.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

How did ancient states police? Perhaps Wiki is a starting point of this journey. Per Its entry, Police, in ancient Greece, policing was done by public owned slaves. In Rome, the army, initially. In China, prefects leading to a level of government called prefectures .

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 10:54 am

I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905.

Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like..

rob , June 19, 2020 at 11:58 am

Yeah, labor unrest does get swept under the rug. Howard zinn had examples in his works "the peoples history of the United States" The pictched battles in upstate new york with the Van Rennselear's in the 1840's breaking up rennselearwyk . the million acre estate of theirs . it was a rent strike.

People remembering , we have been here before doesn't help the case of the establishment so they try to not let it happen.

We get experts telling us . well, this is all new we need experts to tell you what to think. It is like watching the footage from the past 100 years on film of blacks marching for their rights and being told.. reform is coming.. the more things change, the more things stay the same. Decade after decade. Century after century. Time to start figuring this out people. So, the enemy is us. Now what?

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 11:01 am

Doubtless the facts presented above are correct, but shouldn't one point out that the 21st century is quite different from the 19th and therefore analogizing the current situation to what went on before is quite facile? For example it's no longer necessary for the police to put down strikes because strike actions barely still exist. In our current US the working class has diminished greatly while the middle class has expanded. We are a much richer country overall with a lot more people–not just those one percenters–concerned about crime. Whatever one thinks of the police, politically an attempt to go back to the 18th century isn't going to fly.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

Perhaps we are more likely to argue among ourselves, when genetic fallacy is possibly in play.

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

" the 21st century is quite different from the 19th "

From the Guardian: "How Starbucks, Target, Google and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations"

More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says.

These foundations receive millions of dollars a year from private and corporate donors, according to the report, and are able to use the funds to purchase equipment and weapons with little public input. The analysis notes, for example, how the Los Angeles police department in 2007 used foundation funding to purchase surveillance software from controversial technology firm Palantir. Buying the technology with private foundation funding rather than its public budget allowed the department to bypass requirements to hold public meetings and gain approval from the city council.

The Houston police foundation has purchased for the local police department a variety of equipment, including Swat equipment, sound equipment and dogs for the K-9 unit, according to the report. The Philadelphia police foundation purchased for its police force long guns, drones and ballistic helmets, and the Atlanta police foundation helped fund a major surveillance network of over 12,000 cameras.

In addition to weaponry, foundation funding can also go toward specialized training and support programs that complement the department's policing strategies, according to one police foundation.

"Not a lot of people are aware of this public-private partnership where corporations and wealthy donors are able to siphon money into police forces with little to no oversight," said Gin Armstrong, a senior research analyst at LittleSis.

Maybe it is just me, but things don't seem to be all that different.

Bob , June 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

If we made America Great Again we could go back to the 18th century.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm

While it is true, this is a new century. Knowing how the present came to be, is entirely necessary to be able to attempt any move forward.
The likelihood of making the same old mistakes is almost certain, if one doesn't try to use the past as a reference.
And considering the effect of propaganda and revisionism in the formation of peoples opinions, we do need " learning against learning" to borrow a Jesuit strategy against the reformation, but this time it should embrace reality, rather than sow falsehoods.
But I do agree,
We have never been here before, and now is a great time to reset everything. With all due respect to "getting it right" or at least "better".
and knowing the false fables of righteousness, is what people need to know, before they go about "burning down the house".

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm

You know it's not as though white people aren't also afraid of the police. Alfred Hitchcock said he was deathly afraid of police and that paranoia informed many of his movies. Woody Allen has a funny scene in Annie Hall where he is pulled over by a cop and is comically flustered. White people also get shot and killed by the police as the rightwingers are constantly pointing out.

And thousands of people in the streets tell us that police reform is necessary. But the country is not going to get rid of them and replace police with social workers so why even talk about it? I'd say the above is interesting .not terribly relevant.

Mattski , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.*

And the question that arises from this: Are we willing to the subjects in a police state? Are we willing to continue to let our Black and brown brothers and sisters be subjected BY such a police state, and to half-wittingly be party TO it?

Or do we want to exercise AGENCY over "our" government(s), and decide–anew–how we go out our vast, vast array of social ills.

Obviously, armed police officers with an average of six months training–almost all from the white underclass–are a pretty f*cking blunt instrument to bring to bear.

On our own heads. On those who we and history have consigned to second-class citizenship.
Warning: this is a revolutionary situation. We should embrace it.

*Acceding to white supremacy, becoming "white" and often joining that police order, if you were poor, was the road out of such subjectivity. My grandfather's father, for example, was said to have fled a failed revolution in Bohemia to come here. Look back through history, you will find plenty of reason to feel solidarity, too. Race alone cannot divide us if we are intent on the lessons of that history.

[Jun 16, 2020] How Woke Politics Keeps Class Solidarity Down by GREGOR BASZAK

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted. ..."
"... Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time. ..."
"... Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going. ..."
"... Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.) ..."
"... But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all. ..."
"... Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss. ..."
"... Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay. ..."
"... We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different. ..."
"... It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor. ..."
"... At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. ..."
"... I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. ..."
"... Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism. ..."
"... Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. ..."
"... They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called " Blue Collar ." ..."
"... "That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place." ..."
"... The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted.

Former injured Amazon employees join labor organizers and community activists to demonstrate and hold a press conference outside of an Amazon Go store to express concerns about what they claim is the company's "alarming injury rate" among warehouse workers on December 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On April 2, 1865, in the dying days of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wandered the streets of burnt out Richmond, the former Confederate capital. All of a sudden, Lincoln found himself surrounded by scores of emancipated men and women. Here's how the historian James McPherson describes the moving episode in his magisterial book Battle Cry of Freedom :

Several freed slaves touched Lincoln to make sure he was real. "I know I am free," shouted an old woman, "for I have seen Father Abraham and felt him." Overwhelmed by rare emotions, Lincoln said to one black man who fell on his knees in front of him: "Don't kneel to me. That is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank Him for the liberty you will enjoy hereafter."

Lincoln's legacy as the Great Emancipator has survived the century and a half since then largely intact. But there have been cracks in this image, mostly caused by questioning academics who decried him as an overt white supremacist. This view eventually entered the mainstream when Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote misleadingly in her lead essay to the "1619 Project" that Lincoln "opposed black equality."

Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time.

Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going.

***

The main idea driving the "1619 Project" and so much of recent scholarship is that the United States of America originated in slavery and white supremacy. These were its true founding ideals. Racism, Hannah-Jones writes, is in our DNA.

Such arguments don't make any sense, as the historian Barbara Fields clairvoyantly argued in a groundbreaking essay from 1990. Why would Virginia planters in the 17th century import black people purely out of hate? No, Fields countered, the planters were driven by a real need for dependable workers who would toil on their cotton, rice, and tobacco fields for little to no pay. Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.)

After 1776 everything changed. Suddenly the new republic claimed that "all men are created equal" -- and yet there were millions of slaves who still couldn't enjoy this equality. Racism helped to square our founding ideals with the brute reality of continued chattel slavery: Black people simply weren't men.

But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all.

Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss.

The true cause of the Civil War -- and it bears constant repeating for all the doubters -- was whether slavery would expand its reach or whether "free labor" would reign supreme. The latter was the dominant ideology of the North: Free laborers are independent, self-reliant, and eventually achieve economic security and independence by the sweat of their brow. It's the American Dream. But if that is so, then the Civil War ended in a tie -- and its underlying conflict was never really settled.

***

Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay.

America's wealth rests on this mutual competition between workers -- some nominally "free," others basically indentured -- whether it be through unjust visa schemes or other unfair managerial practices.

Remember that the next time you read a public announcement by the Amazons of this world that they remain committed to "black lives matter" and similar identitarian causes.

Fortunately, very few Americans hold the same racial resentments in their hearts as their ancestors did even just half a century ago. Rarely did we agree as much than when the nation near unanimously condemned the death of George Floyd at the hands of a few Minneapolis police officers. This is in keeping with another fortunate trend: Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent .

But anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for our corporations, even despite the evidence that people in this country have grown much less bigotted than they once were: As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do.

We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different.

And so, through a surprising back door, the true cause for which Robert E. Lee chose to betray his country might still be coming out on top, whether we remove his statues or not -- namely, the steady supply to our ruling corporations of unfree workers willing to hustle for scraps.

It's time to follow Abraham Lincoln's urging and get off our knees again. We should assert our rights as American citizens to live free from economic insecurity and mutual resentment. The vast majority of us harbor no white supremacist views, period. Instead, we have so many more things in common, and we know it.

Another anecdote from the last days of the Civil War, also taken from Battle Cry of Freedom, might prove instructive here: The surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 essentially ended the Civil War. The ceremony was held with solemn respect for Lee, though one of Grant's adjutants couldn't help himself but have a subtle dig at Lee's expense:

After signing the papers, Grant introduced Lee to his staff. As he shook hands with Grant's military secretary Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian, Lee stared a moment at Parker's dark features and said, "I am glad to see one real American here." Parker responded, "We are all Americans."

Gregor Baszak is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a writer. His articles have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Spectator USA, Spiked, and elsewhere. Follow Gregor on Twitter at @gregorbas1.


Megan S 15 hours ago

It's a bit off-topic but this is a big reason I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary this year, he was the only candidate talking about how businesses demand that cheap labor, illegal labor, replace American labor. For this, the corporate media called him a racist, an anti-semite, a dangerous radical. None of his opponents aside from Elizabeth Warren had anything to run on aside from pseudo-woke touchy-feely bs. And somehow, with the media insisting that Joe Biden was the only one who could beat Trump, we ended up with the one candidate who was neither good on economics, good for American workers, or offering platitudes about wokeness.

It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor.

JonF311 Victor_the_thinker 8 hours ago

Racism is very real. If it weren't it couldn't be used to "divide and conquer" the working calss. we can walk and chew gum and the same time: oppose racism, and also oppose exploitive labor practices.

Bureaucrat Victor_the_thinker an hour ago • edited

What kind of polemic, unsupported statement is "black fast food workers are the ones who gave us the fight for $15"? How about it was a broad coalition of progressives (of all colors)? Moreover, $15 minimum wage is a poor, one-size-fits-all band-aid that I doubt even fits ONE scenario. Tackling the broader shareholder capitalism model of labor arbitrage (free trade/mass immigration), deunionization, and monopolistic hurdles drafted by corporations is where it actually matters. And on that, we are seeing the inklings of a populist left-right coalition -- if corporate-funded race hustlers could only get out of the way.

Bureaucrat JonF311 2 hours ago • edited

That's the problem. We CAN'T chew gum and walk at the same time. Every minute focusing on racial friction is a minute NOT talking about neoliberal economics. What's the ratio of air time, social media discussion, or newspaper inches are devoted to race vis-a-vis the economic system that has starved the working class -- which is disproportionately black and brown? 10 to 1? 100 to 1? 1000 to 1? If there are no decent working class jobs for young black and brown men, then it makes it nearly impossible to raise families. Let's be clear: Systemic racism is real, but it is far less impactful than economic injustices and family dissolution.

Selvar Victor_the_thinker 33 minutes ago • edited

Class really isn't the primary issue for black people.

That's a frankly ridiculous statement. At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. No one--except a few neurotic, high-strung corporate HR PMC types--cares about "microaggressions". Even unjust police shootings of blacks are likely down to class and not race--despite the politically correct narrative saying otherwise.

Putting racial identity politics as an equal (or even greater) priority than class-based solidarity creates an absurd system where an upper-middle class black woman attending Yale can act as if a working class white man is oppressing her by not acknowledging his "white privilege", and not bowing to her every demand. It's utterly delusional to think that sort of culture is going to create a more just or equal world.

joeo Megan S 9 hours ago shiva

Biden is a Rorschach test, people see whatever they want in a party apparatchik. Trump has been Shiva, the destroyer of the traditional Republican party. How else do you explain the support among Multi-Billionaires for the Democratic party. Truly ironic.

Jessica Ramer Megan S 8 hours ago

I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. I understand that he still wants to divide Iraq into three separate countries--a decision for Iraqis to make and not us. If we try to implement that policy, it would doubtless lead to more American deaths--to say nothing of Iraqi deaths.

So not only is he not good for American workers, he is not good for the American soldier who is disproportionately likely not to be from the elite classes but rather from the working and lower-middle class.

The only other Democratic candidate who opposed war-mongering besides Sanders was Tulsi Gabbard. I watched CNN commentary after a debate in which she participated. While the other participants received lots of commentary from CNN talking heads. she got almost nothing. She was featured in a video montage of candidates saying "Trump"; other than that, she was invisible in the post-debate analysis.

Megan S Jessica Ramer 7 hours ago

I don't know how far it travelled outside of Democratic primary voters, but I recall Biden's campaign saying that they were planning to be sort of a placeholder that would pass the torch to the next generation. He's insinuated that he only wants to serve one term and saw jumping into the race as the only way to beat Trump. Not the most exciting platform for the Democrats to run on.

As depressing as this primary was, it's good to see that the rising generation of Democrats was resistant to platitudes and demanded actual policy proposals.

Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again. I just hope that once there are more of us, we can have a serious policy debate in both major parties about free trade, immigration, inequality. The parties' voters aren't all that far apart on economics, yet neither of us is being given what we want. Whichever party sincerely takes a stand for the American working class stands to dominate American politics for a generation.

kouroi Megan S 5 hours ago

"Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again."

Oops, they tripped, poor oldies, not good in keeping their balance, eh?!

Bureaucrat Megan S 2 hours ago • edited

The problem with Biden's "placeholder" comments is that he specifically mentioned it for Pete Buttigeig, the McKinsey-trained career opportunist who believes in his bones the same neoliberal economics and interventionist foreign policies as the last generation. Same bad ideas, new woke packaging.

Megan S Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

On the bright side, young people despise Buttigieg and his attempt to cast us all as homophobic didn't really catch on outside of corporate media.

Bureaucrat Megan S an hour ago

Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, both tops on the VP list, will do just fine in place of Buttigieg - he's slated to revive TPP as the new USTR cabinet lead.

kouroi 14 hours ago

And just like that Mr. Baszak has become the second favorite writer here at TAC, after Mr. Larison...

stephen pickard 9 hours ago

Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism.

To me, I have always thought that America's original sin was slavery. Its stain can not be completely wiped out.

And I further believe that if Native Americans would have enslaved the newly arrived Europeans, and remained the ruling majority, white people would be discriminated against today.

So the problem is not that white people are inherently evil, or other races are inherently good. It is that because of slavery black people are bad, white people are good.

As a nation we have never been able to wash out the stain completely. Never will. Getting closer to the promised land is the best we are going to do. Probably take another 400 years.

In everyday encounters no one cares how discrimination began, just treat me like you want to be treated. Pretty simple.

Randolph Bourne 2 hours ago

"As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do."

The author does not offer one smidgen of proof that any company uses antiracism to divide workers. It might be plausible that it's happened, but Baszak has no data at all.

Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent.

You think this is an accident? It came about through intense pressure on the police to stop killing Black people -- exactly the sort of racial emphasis the author seems to be decrying. Important to note that the non-fatal mistreatment has remained high.

The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss

Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. The psychological draw of racism, its cultural strength, are obviated by Barszak. And I bet Barbara Fields does not consider racism an epiphenomenon of economics.

Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called "Blue Collar."

"That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place."

Bureaucrat an hour ago

The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models -- a system that actually has greater deleterious impact on black communities.

This video is one recent example of what you'll rarely see in mainstream media:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chq_VxzDsSc

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has:

The result? before COVID hit the average American worker saw the first inflation adjusted wage increase in over 30 years!

This is why the fake news and hollywood continue to propagandize the masses into hating Trump.

Trump is implementing economic policies good for the people and bad for the elites

Sound Author , 3 days ago

The dream was never alive in the first place. It was always bullshit.

Julia Galaudet , 4 days ago

Maybe it's time for a maximum wage.

Scott Clark , 4 days ago

Private equity strips the country for years! It's the AMERICAN DREAM!!!

Siri Erieott , 4 days ago

A dream for 1%, a nightmare for 99%.

andrew kubiak , 4 days ago

Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money.

[Jun 16, 2020] Krystal Ball: The American dream is dead, good riddance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Debt-free is the new American dream ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Krystal Ball exposes the delusion of the American dream.

About Rising: Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen.

It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.

Owen Cousino , 4 days ago

Debt-free is the new American dream

poppaDehorn , 4 days ago

Got my degree just as the great recession hit. Couldn't find real work for 3 years, not using my degree... But it was work. now after 8 years, im laid off. I did everything "right". do good in school, go to college, get a job...

I've never been fired in my life. its always, "Your contract is up" "Sorry we cant afford to keep you", "You can make more money collecting! but we'll give a recommendation if you find anything."

Now I'm back where i started... only now I have new house and a family to support... no pressure.

[Jun 02, 2020] Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge

Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

  1. anne , May 31, 2020 4:48 pm

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

    May 30, 2020

    Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge
    By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR – Los Angeles Times

    What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck while Floyd croaked, "I can't breathe"?

    If you're white, you probably muttered a horrified, "Oh, my God" while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, "Not @#$%! again!" Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn't for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store's video showed he wasn't. And how the cop on Floyd's neck wasn't an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity: the banality of evil incarnate.

    Maybe you also are thinking about the Karen in Central Park who called 911 claiming the black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog was threatening her. Or the black Yale University grad student napping in the common room of her dorm who was reported by a white student. Because you realize it's not just a supposed "black criminal" who is targeted, it's the whole spectrum of black faces from Yonkers to Yale.

    You start to wonder if it should be all black people who wear body cams, not the cops.

    What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you're white, you may be thinking, "They certainly aren't social distancing." Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, "Well, that just hurts their cause." Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, "That's putting the cause backward."

    You're not wrong -- but you're not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness -- write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change -- the needle hardly budges.

    But COVID-19 has been slamming the consequences of all that home as we die at a significantly higher rate than whites, are the first to lose our jobs, and watch helplessly as Republicans try to keep us from voting .

Bert Schlitz , May 31, 2020 7:14 pm

The protests are self centered crap blacks do year after year. Considering 370 whites over 100 Latinos were killed by cops, many as bad as that guy in minnie. Blacks have a Trumptard mentality. We have a ecological disaster, a economic disaster and pandemic(when th they are spreading). Yet let's whine about one bad cop related homicide.

This may begin the breakup of the Democratic party and the blacks. The differences are just to large.

Kaleberg , May 31, 2020 9:40 pm

It's rather sad that it takes a massive civil disturbance to get the authorities to arrest a man videotaped killing another. You'd think that would just happen as a matter of course, but that's how it works in this country.

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

THE WAY BACK -- THE ONLY WAY BACK -- BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY (pardon me if I take up a lot of space -- almost everyone else has said most of what they want to say)

EITC shifts only 2% of income while 40% of American workers earn less that what we think the minimum wage should be -- $15/hr.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/

The minimum wage itself should only mark the highest wage that we presume firms with highest labor costs can pay* -- like fast food with 25% labor costs. Lower labor cost businesses -- e.g., retail like Walgreens and Target with 10-15% labor costs can potentially pay north of $20/hr; Walmart with 7% labor costs, $25/hr!

That kind of income can only be squeezed out of the consumer market (meaning out of the consumer) by labor union bargaining.

Raise fast food wages from $10/hr to $15/hr and prices go up only a doable 12.5%. Raise Walgreens, Target from $10/hr to $20/hr and prices there only go up a piddling 6.25%. Keeping the math easy here -- I know that Walgreens and Target pay more to start but that only reinforces my argument about how much labor income is being left on the (missing) bargaining table.

Hook up Walmart with 7% labor costs with the Teamsters Union and the wage and benefit sky might be the limit! Don't forget (everybody seems to) that as more income shifts to lower wage workers, more demand starts to come from lower wage workers -- reinforcing their job security as they spend more proportionately at lower wage firms (does not work for low wage employees of high end restaurants -- the exception that actually proves the rule).

Add in sector wide labor agreements and watch Germany appear on this side of the Atlantic overnight.
* * * * * *

If Republicans held the House in the last (115th) Congress they would have passed HR2723-Employee Rights Act -- mandating new union recertification/decertification paper ballots in any bargaining unit that has had experienced "turnover, expansion, or alteration by merger of unit represented employees exceeding 50 percent of the bargaining unit" by the date of the enactment -- and for all time from thereafter. Trump would have signed it and virtually every union in the country would have experienced mandated recert/decert votes in every bargaining unit.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text

Democrats can make the most obvious point about what was lacking in the Republican bill by pretending to be for a cert/recert bill that mandates union ballots only at places where there is no union now. Republicans jumping up and down can scream the point for us that there is no reason to have ballots in non union places and not in unionized workplaces -- and vice versa.
* * * * * *

Biggest problem advocating the vastly attractive and all healing proposal of federally mandated cert/recert/decert elections seems to be that nobody will discuss it as long as nobody else discusses it -- some kind of innate social behavior I think, from deep in our (pea sized) midbrains. How else can you explain the perfect pitch's neglect. I suspect that if I waved a $100 bill in front of a bunch of progressives and offered it to the first one would say the words out loud: "Regularly scheduled union elections are the only way to restore shared prosperity and political fairness to America", that I might not get one taker. FWIW.

Another big problem when I try to talk to workers about this on the street -- just to get a reaction -- is that more than half have no idea in the world what unions are all about. Those who do understand, think the idea so sensible they often think action must be pending.

Here is Andrew Strom's take:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

[see just below for last link -- can't lay more than three at a time :-)]

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

*1968 federal minimum was $12/hr – indicating that consumer support was there at half today's per capita income.
https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1.60&year1=196801&year2=202001

rick shapiro , June 1, 2020 10:46 am

econ101 should tell you that the eitc is a subsidy to the corporations that hire droves of low-paid workers, with meagre spillover to the workers themselves. More effective and persistent improvements to social justice would come from significant increases to the minimum wage, societal support to unionization, and other efforts to increase the threshold of what is considered by society to be the bare minimum of compensation for work.
The concomitant decline in the value of the dollar and the terms of trade would be small compared to the reduction in inequality.

Bernard , June 1, 2020 5:21 pm

such a third world country as America , riots are the only way to get heard for some. the Elite have been looting us blind for decades, the Covid bail outs to Corporations by the Elites in DC as the latest installment of Capitalist theft know as Business as Usual.
it's all about the money.
sick,sick country praising capitalism over everything else.
the comfortable white people are afraid of losing what they have. Divide and Conquer is the Republican and now Democratic way they run America.

to the rich go the spoils. the rest, well. screw them .

the Lee Atwater idea to use coded language when St. Reagan implemented the destruction of America society, coincided with St. Thatcher's destruction of England.

the White elites post Civil War in the South knew how to divide the poor whites and the poor blacks.

that is how we got to where we are now.

Did you see any of the bankers go to jail for the 2008 ripoff?
not one and they got bonuses for their "deeds."

America, such a nation of Grifters, Thieves and Scam artist. like Pelosi , McConnel and all the people in DC and the Business men who sold out our country and the American people for "small change".

God forbid Corporations should ever have to pay for the damage they have done to America and its" people. My RIGHT to Greed trumps your right to clean air, water, safe neighborhoods, says Capitalism!

the Rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Everybody Knows!!!

But let's not focus on things lest some uncomfortable truths.

and wonder why riots happen, Not at All!

[Jun 02, 2020] It didn t happen overnight by Ken Melvin

Under neoliberalism (and generally under any form of capitalism without countervailing force) the wages tend to deteriorate to the starvation level
Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Sound too familiar? Sometime in the late 80s (??) Americans began to see day labors line up at Home Depot and Lowe's lots in numbers not seen since The Great Depression. Manufacturing Corporations began subbing out their work to sub-contractors, otherwise known as employees without benefits; Construction Contractors subbed out construction work to these employees without benefits; Engineering Firms subbed out engineering to these employees without benefits; Landscapers' workers were now sub-contractors/independent contractors; Here, in the SF Bay Area, time and again, we saw vans loads of undocumented Hispanics under a 'Labor Contractor' come in from the Central Valley to build condos; the white Contractor for the project didn't have a single employee; none of the workers got a W-2. Recall watching, sometime in the 90s (??), a familiar, well dressed, rotund guest from Wall Street, on the PBS News Hour, forcefully proclaiming to the TV audience:

American workers are going to have to learn to compete with the Chinese; Civil Service employees, factory employees, are all going to have to work for less

All this subcontracting, independent contractors, was a scam, a scam meant to circumvent paying going wages and benefits, to enhance profit margins; a scam that transferred more wealth to the top. Meanwhile back at The Ranch, after the H1B Immigration Act of 1990, Microsoft could hire programmers from India for one-half the cost of a citizen programmer. Half of Bill Gates' fortune was resultant these labor savings; the other half was made off those not US Citizens. Taking a cue, Banks, Bio-Techs, some City and State Governments began subcontracting out their programming to H1Bs. Often, the subcontractors/labor contractors (often themselves immigrants) providing the programmers, held the programmers' passports/visas for security.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, friends of Bush/Cheney made fortunes on clean up contracts they subbed out for next to nothing; the independent/subcontractor scam was now officially governmentally sanctioned.

By about 2000 we began to hear the term gig-workers applied to these employees without benefits. Uber appeared in 2007 to be followed by Lift. Both are scams based on paying less than prevailing wages, on not providing worker benefits,

These days, the nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in America, shows footage of Food Banks in California with lines 2! miles long. Many of those waiting in these lines didn't have a real job before; they were gig-workers; they can't apply for Unemployment Benefits. It is estimated that 1.6 million American workers (1% of the workforce) are gig-workers; they don't have a real job. That 1% is in addition to the 16 million American workers (10% of the workforce) that are independent contractors. Of the more than 40 million currently unemployed Americans, some 17 million are either gig-workers or subcontractors/independent contractors. All of these are scams meant to transfer more wealth to the top. All of these are scams with American Workers the victims; scams, in a race to the bottom.


Denis Drew , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

Ken,

Read this by the SEIU counsel Andrew Strom -- and tell me what you think:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Democrats in the so called battle ground states would clean up at the polls with this. Why do you think those states strayed? It was because Obama and Hillary had no idea what they really needed. Voters had no idea what they SPECIFICALLY needed either -- UNIONS! They had been deunionized so thoroughly for so long that they THEMSELVES no long knew what they were missing (frogs in the slowly boiling pot).

In 1988 Jesse Jackson took the Democratic primary in Michigan with 54% against Dukakis and Gephardt. Obama beat Wall Street Romney and red-white-and-blue McCain in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. But nobody told these voters -- because nobody seems to remember -- what they really needed. These voter just knew by 2016 that Democrats had not what they needed and looked elsewhere -- anywhere else!

Strom presents an easy as can be, on-step-back treatment that should go down oh, so smoothly and sweetly. What do you think?

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:04 pm

Denis

Thanks for your comment and the link. Wow! Where to start, huh?

SEIU was a player from the get go, but I don't want to go there just now.

Before Reagan, there was the first rust belt move to the non-union south. Why was the south so anti-union? I think this stuff is engendered from infancy and most of us are incapable of thinking anew when it comes to stuff our parents 'taught' us. MLK was the best thing that ever happened to the dirt-road poor south, yet they hated him and they hated the very unions that might have lifted them up. They did seem to take pleasure in the yanks' loss of jobs.

I think the Reagan era was prelude to what is going on now, i.e., going backward while yelling whee look at me go. No doubt, Reagan turned union members against their own unions. But, the genesis of demise probably lay with automation and the early offshoring to Mexico. By Reagan, the car plants were losing jobs to Toyota and Honda and automation. By 1990, car plants that had previously employed 5,000, now automated, produced more cars employing only 1200. At the time, much of the nation's wealth was still derived from car production.

Skipping forward a bit, the democrats blew it for years with all their talk about the 'middle-class' without realizing it was the 'disappearing middle-class'. They ignored the poor working-class vote and lost election after election.

I've come to not like the term labor, think it affords capital an undeserved status, though much diminished, I think thought all workers would be better off in a union. Otherwise, as we are witnessing, there is no parity between workers and wealth; we are in a race to the bottom with the wealth increasingly go to the top.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:15 pm

Matthew – thanks for your comment

I think that we are into a transition (about 45 yrs into) as great as the industrial revolution. We, as probably those poor souls of the 18th and 19th centuries did, are floundering, unable to come to terms with what is going on.

I also think that those such as the Kochs have a good grasp of what is going on and are moving to protect themselves and their class.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:21 pm

EMichael, thanks for the comment

Are you implying that the politicians are way behind the curve? If so, I think that you are right.

Let me share what I was thinking last night about thinking:

Descartes' problem was that he desperately wanted to make philosophy work within the framework of his religion, Catholicism. Paul Krugman desperately wants to make economics all work within the Holy Duality of Capitalism and Free Markets. Even Joe Stiglitz can't step out of this text. All things being possible, it is possible that either could come up with a solution to today's economic problems that would fit within the Two; but the odds are not good. Better to think anew.

We see politicians try and try to find solutions for today's problems from within their own dogmas/ideologies. Even if they can't, they persist, they still try to impose these dogmas/ideologies in the desperate hope they might work if only applied to a greater degree. How else explain any belief that markets could anticipate and respond to pandemics? That markets could best respond to housing demand?

  1. Interesting and fine writing.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:49 pm

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1267060950026326018

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

Glad to see Noah Smith highlighting this all-too-relevant work by the late Alberto Alesina 1/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-30/racism-is-the-biggest-reason-u-s-safety-net-is-so-weak

Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak
Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods.

7:50 AM · May 31, 2020

The Alesina/Glaeser/Sacerdote paper on why America doesn't have a European-style welfare state -- racism -- had a big impact on my own thinking 2/

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

For a long time anyone who pointed out that the modern GOP is basically a party that serves plutocratic ends by weaponizing white racism was treated as "shrill" and partisan. Can we now admit the obvious? 3/

  1. a long, long time. Possibly forever.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:56 pm

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

September, 2001

Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?
By Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:07 pm

This dynamic is not limited to low-skill jobs. I have seen it at work in electronics engineering. When I was a sprat, job shoppers got an hourly wage nearly twice that of their company peers, because they had no benefits or long-term employment. Today, job shoppers are actually paid less than company engineers; and the companies are outsourcing ever more of their staffing to the brokers.
Without labor market frictions, the iron law of wages drives wages to starvation levels. As sophisticated uberization software eliminates the frictions that have protected middle class wages in the recent past, we will all need to enlist unionization and government wage standards to protect us.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:29 pm

Rick

The big engineering offices of the 70s were decimated and worse by the mid-90s; mostly by the advent of computers w/ software. One engineer could now do the work of 10 and didn't need any draftsman.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:40 pm

I was speaking of engineers with equal skill in the same office. Many at GE Avionics were laid off, and came back as lower paid contract employees.

[Jun 01, 2020] It's all true simultaneously...

Jun 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

by lizard

hauled from a comment

I think this relevant to how fractured the discourse is. it's a repost from my litter watering hole.

I know it's going to be difficult to accept what I'm about to say because people get very invested in their chosen narratives, but it's important that you at least be exposed to the notion that it's all true.

It's true that now is the time to realize what's at stake, but instead of acting collectively for our mutual benefit, the cognitive challenge of accepting that all these things can be true at the same time will keep us tied to one of these things to the exclusion of all the others.

It's hard work, I know. But I have faith in you.

Posted by b on June 1, 2020 at 16:08 UTC | Permalink

[Jun 01, 2020] While the murder of George Floyd was both unjust and tragic, his death was the catalyst that lit a powder keg of dissension, which has simmered beneath the headlines for over a decade

Notable quotes:
"... As we detailed last night, what's happening to America right now : rioting, looting, pillaging, Americans fighting other Americans and while the media is spinning self-serving narratives that frame the bad guy as Trump, or China, or Russia, or this political party, or that, or some social movement , hides the truth that the culprit behind the upcoming collapse of the US is just one thing, the same one that Thomas Jefferson warned the brand new nation about more than two centuries ago : ..."
"... "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power of currency shall be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. ..."
"... While we focus on events that fill our media streams, it is worth remembering Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Manuel Diez, Kimini Gray, and Michael Brown. These events, and many others throughout history, show civil unrest has deeper roots. Pew Research made a note of this in 2017: ..."
"... "The U.S. economy is in much better shape now than it was in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It cost millions of Americans, their homes, and jobs. It led him to push through a roughly $800 billion stimulus package as one of his first business orders. Since then, unemployment has plummeted from 10% in late 2009 to below 5% today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled. ..."
"... "The one lesson that we have clearly learned since the 2008 "Great Financial Crisis," is that monetary and fiscal policy interventions do not lead to increased levels of economic wealth or prosperity. What these programs have done, is act as a wealth transfer system from the bottom 90% to the top 10%. ..."
"... "The rise in debt, which in the last decade was used primarily to fill the gap between incomes and the cost of living, has contributed to the retardation of economic growth." ..."
"... 50% of American workers did not have the ability to tap additional "savings" to offset financial hardships during the pandemic. ..."
"... It's no wonder they are in the streets rioting. ..."
"... The lack of economic improvement is clearly evident across all demographic classes. However, it has been the very policies of the Federal Reserve which created a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor to the rich. The ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve propelled asset prices higher, but left the majority of American families behind. ..."
Jun 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As we detailed last night, what's happening to America right now : rioting, looting, pillaging, Americans fighting other Americans and while the media is spinning self-serving narratives that frame the bad guy as Trump, or China, or Russia, or this political party, or that, or some social movement , hides the truth that the culprit behind the upcoming collapse of the US is just one thing, the same one that Thomas Jefferson warned the brand new nation about more than two centuries ago :

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power of currency shall be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."

And as RealInvestmentAdvice.com's Lance Roberts notes, while the murder of George Floyd was both unjust and tragic, his death was the catalyst that lit a powder keg of dissension, which has simmered beneath the headlines for over a decade.

While we focus on events that fill our media streams, it is worth remembering Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Manuel Diez, Kimini Gray, and Michael Brown. These events, and many others throughout history, show civil unrest has deeper roots. Pew Research made a note of this in 2017:

"The U.S. economy is in much better shape now than it was in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It cost millions of Americans, their homes, and jobs. It led him to push through a roughly $800 billion stimulus package as one of his first business orders. Since then, unemployment has plummeted from 10% in late 2009 to below 5% today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled.

But by some measures, the country faces serious economic challenges: A steady hollowing of the middle class and income inequality reached its highest point since 1928."

Look at the faces of those rioting. They are of every race, religion, and creed. What they all have in common is they are of the demographic most impacted by the current economic recession. Job losses, income destruction, financial pressures, and debt create tension in the system until it explodes.

It has been the same in every economy throughout history. While the rich eat cake, the rest beg on street corners for scraps. Eventually, those most disenfranchised and oppressed storm the castle walls with "pitchforks and torches."

The Root Of The Problem

A recent article by MagnifyMoney hit on this issue.

"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the economy, many Americans are decreasing their retirement contributions, but some are raiding their retirement accounts to pay for essentials. A new survey found 3-in-10 Americans dipped into the funds meant for their golden years -- and the majority of those who have done so spent their nest egg on groceries."

America was not prepared financially for the downturn caused by the pandemic. They are angry, financially stressed, and the visible face of their ire has become Wall Street and the Fed.

Since the "Financial Crisis," the role of the Federal Reserve shifted from its dual mandate of "full employment" and "price stability" to a seeming inclusion of a "third mandate" supporting consumer confidence via the inflation of asset prices. As Ben Bernanke stated in 2010:

"This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose, and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action.

Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending."

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

Unintended Consequences

As with all things, there are always the unintended consequences which follow. For the vast majority of Americans:

Instead, as discussed previously, the Fed's policies led to a growing divergence between the stock market and the economy. To wit:

"The one lesson that we have clearly learned since the 2008 "Great Financial Crisis," is that monetary and fiscal policy interventions do not lead to increased levels of economic wealth or prosperity. What these programs have done, is act as a wealth transfer system from the bottom 90% to the top 10%.

Since 2008 there have been rising calls for socialistic policies such as universal basic incomes, increased social welfare, and even a two-time candidate for President who was a self-admitted socialist.

Such things would not occur if "prosperity" was flourishing within the economy. "

This is simply because the stock market is not the economy.

Stocks Are Not The Economy

The Fed's interventions and suppressed interest rates have continued to have the opposite effect of which was intended. I have shown the following chart below previously to illustrate this point.

From Jan 1st, 2009 through the end of March, the stock market rose by an astounding 159%, or roughly 14% annualized. With such a large gain in the financial markets, one would expect a commensurate growth rate in the economy.

After 3-massive Federal Reserve driven "Quantitative Easing" programs, a maturity extension program, bailouts of TARP, TGLP, TGLF, etc., HAMP, HARP, direct bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, GM, bank supports, etc., all of which totaled more than $33 Trillion, cumulative real economic growth was just 5.48%.

While monetary interventions are supposed to be supporting economic growth through increases in consumer confidence, the outcome has been quite different.

Low, to zero, interest rates have incentivized non-productive debt, and exacerbated the wealth gap. The massive increases in debt has actually harmed growth by diverting consumptive spending to debt service.

"The rise in debt, which in the last decade was used primarily to fill the gap between incomes and the cost of living, has contributed to the retardation of economic growth."

Financial Shortcomings

The recent economic downtown caused by the pandemic has once again exposed the financial weakness that plagues the broader economy. The report by MagnifyMoney shows nearly 50% of Americans made changes to their plans within the first month of the pandemic for basic necessities.

What this tells you is that individuals could not survive more than ONE MONTH before tapping retirement savings. But what about the 50-60% of individuals that didn't have a plan to start with?

"A 2018 report from the non-profit National Institute on Retirement Security which found that nearly 60% of all working-age Americans do not own assets in a retirement account."

Here are some findings from that report:

Read those finding again.

If we use a more optimistic number of 50%, then 50% of American workers did not have the ability to tap additional "savings" to offset financial hardships during the pandemic.

It's no wonder they are in the streets rioting.

Only The Few

While the "savings rate" suggests that individuals are "hoarding money" due to the downturn, the reality is quite different. If American's had savings they would not be tapping into 401k plans and begging for checks. However, Deutsche Bank recently showed the savings rate for 90% of Americans is negative.

This is far different than the Governmental statistics suggesting the average American is saving 33% of their income.

In actuality, if you aren't in the "Top 20%" of income earners, you probably aren't saving much, if any, money.

The problem for the Fed is their own policies are what created the "wealth gap" to begin with. As noted by the WSJ.

"As of December 2019 -- before the shutdowns -- households in the bottom 20% of incomes had seen their financial assets, such as money in the bank, stock and bond investments or retirement funds, fall by 34% since the end of the 2007-09 recession , according to Fed data adjusted for inflation. Those in the middle of the income distribution have seen just 4% growth." – WSJ

This isn't surprising. A recent research report by BCA confirms one of the causes of the rising wealth gap in the U.S. The top-10% of income earners owns 88% of the stock market, while the bottom-90% owns just 12%.

The Fed Did It

The lack of economic improvement is clearly evident across all demographic classes. However, it has been the very policies of the Federal Reserve which created a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor to the rich. The ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve propelled asset prices higher, but left the majority of American families behind.

The problem is the Fed has become trapped by its policies, and consequently, started taking direction from Wall Street. Such has led the Federal Reserve to become a "hostage" of its own making.

If the Fed removes any monetary accommodation, the market declines. The Fed is forced to subsequently increase support for the financial markets, which exacerbates the wealth gap.

It's a virtual spiral from which the Fed can not extricate itself. It's a great system if you are rich and have money invested. Not so much if you are any one else.

As we are witnessing, the United States is not immune to social disruptions. The source of these problems is compounding due to the public's failure to appreciate "why" it is happening. Eventually, as has repeatedly occurred throughout history, the riots will turn their focus toward those in power.

That, as they say, is when "s*** gets real."

[Jun 01, 2020] Class struggle and the reaction of the neoliberal society to riots in the USA

Notable quotes:
"... It's also true that the oligarchy will continue to preserve the system it's created in the U.S. through all available means, using its militarized police forces as its loyal street level enforcers. Change would happen very quickly if enough police turned and join with the "mobs". ..."
Jun 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

by lizard

hauled from a comment

I think this relevant to how fractured the discourse is. it's a repost from my litter watering hole.

I know it's going to be difficult to accept what I'm about to say because people get very invested in their chosen narratives, but it's important that you at least be exposed to the notion that it's all true.

It's true that now is the time to realize what's at stake, but instead of acting collectively for our mutual benefit, the cognitive challenge of accepting that all these things can be true at the same time will keep us tied to one of these things to the exclusion of all the others.

It's hard work, I know. But I have faith in you.

Posted by b on June 1, 2020 at 16:08 UTC | Permalink

this analysis sees and describes what's occurring within the Outlaw US Empire, more than validating Cornel West's assessment, except it misses the major component--Class--while seeing lizard's list:

"As the world watches the US being confronted with massive riots, looting, chaos and heightened violence, US officials, instead of reflecting on the systematic problems in their society that led to such a crisis, have returned to their old 'blame game' against left-wingers, 'fake news' media and 'external forces....'

"[O]bservers see a weak, irresponsible and incompetent leadership navigating the country into a completely opposite direction, with all-out efforts to deflect public attention from its own failure.

"Mass protests erupted in a growing numbers of cities in the US over the weekend, and at least 40 cities have imposed curfews, while the National Guard has been activated in 14 states and Washington DC, according to US media reports ... [P]rotests across the country continued into a sixth straight night.

"More Americans have slammed the US president for inciting hatred and racism, and US officials, who turn a blind eye to the deep-seated issues in American society, including racial injustice, economic woes and the coronavirus pandemic, began shifting the blame to the former US president, extremists, and China for inflaming the social unrests."

Blaming Chinese, Russians and/or Martians isn't going to help Trump. Without doing a thing, Biden has risen to a lead of 8-10% in the most recent polling. Trumps many mistakes have dug him a hole that now seems to be collapsing in upon him. He's cursed worse than Midas as everything he attempts turns out a big negative and only worsens the situation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2020 17:14 utc | 15

It's also true that the oligarchy will continue to preserve the system it's created in the U.S. through all available means, using its militarized police forces as its loyal street level enforcers. Change would happen very quickly if enough police turned and join with the "mobs". Otherwise any positive change in the prevailing structure will be extremely incremental if at all, and will be resisted at every level until it collapses because there is nothing left worth to exploit.

Posted by: krypton | Jun 1 2020 17:24 utc | 18


Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1 2020 17:26 utc | 19

Imho the present protests, social 'unrest,' in the USA will just die out as usual, nothing will be accomplished - what are the politcal demands? zero.. - on to the next chapter of misery and oppression.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1 2020 17:26 utc | 19

Indeed, and there was no other goal by stirring up these protest to the public murder of Floyd in plain daylight, after decades of deideologization of the US masses by brainwashing through US education system, TV, Hollywood, and so on.

Provocate the poor masses to find no way than to emotionally revolt through a brute action broadcasted to the four corners of the US through the media, to then show the rightful protesters as disorganized anarchist riotters without any vison or idea ( with unestimable help by white supremacists and cops infiltrated, and even by rich blonde boys stealing surf boards as if there was no tomorrow...)so as to show the middle and upper classes that this will be the aspect of the country in case socialist policies would be put in practice. This is to appeal once again, and possibly the last one, to the greedy individualist allegevd "winner" to once more vote against its own interest, as after the elections all what would not be looted by the poor would be looted by the state. Then it will come the gnashing of teeth and regrets on not having suppoorted those poor people when they were being murdered in the streets.

But, may be, some would even be grateful of being quirurgically robed by the state ( thorugh their bank accounts and propieties value going down the hole...) instead of by these obviously majority of needed people....needed at least of respect....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 1 2020 17:42 utc | 20

"Antifa" only shows up and exists when it is needed, then magically disappears; same as Ali Queada and ISIS ...

This!

<> <> <> <> <>

Reposting my earlier comment on the Open Thread:

ZH reports that 6 people have died in the protests. Dozens of protesters and police have been injured. Tens of millions of dollars in property damage, police overtime, and cost of the likely spread of coronavirus ('second wave' now being blamed on the protesters).

All because the authorities will not appropriately charge the killers of George Floyd.

Instead, Trump and MSM turn the focus to "antifa". How convenient. MSM says nothing of the killing of 26-year old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia weeks before and the attempted cover-up of his killing.

How many more have to die before the authorities act appropriately? How much more destruction and silent spread of coronavirus?

<> <> <> <> <>

The protesters say that a manslaughter charge against Chauvin is an injustice. Chauvin was a veteran officer who KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING when he remained on Floyd for more than 3 minutes after he had become non-responsive.

The protesters say that the other officers are accessories to murder because they did nothing to stop it.

Every reasonable person understands that the protesters have valid points. I would say that there's a consensus that Chauvin should be charged with Second-degree murder and the other officers charged as accessories. But the authorities drag their feet - while America burns.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 1 2020 17:44 utc | 21

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 1 2020 17:49 utc | 22

a)refrain from looting and that specifically the the small properties is a stupidity that will backfire quickly!
b) the demonstrations leaders must organize their own security
squads to prevent provocateurs from outside.
Fm these tasks the 1st one is rather difficult to reach, yes.The second one is much easier.

Posted by: augusto | Jun 1 2020 16:43 utc | 6

[May 29, 2020] It s not a civil war until the *other* civilians start shooting at the rioters

May 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 29 2020 13:54 utc | 18

It's not a civil war until the *other* civilians start shooting at the rioters. At this point, it's just the usual police repression.

Now given that thousands of people who previously never owned a firearm have now acquired them - although it is unclear how many of them will be concealed carriers, given the variance in state laws - it's only a matter of time before some people start shooting. Like the Korean shop owners in LA notably did during the Rodney King riots IIRC.

But it won't be a civil war until a significant number of people on both sides are actually shooting.

There's a guy named Selco Begovic who survived the civil war in Bosnia. He writes articles for prepper Web sites and he has book out. He has vividly described conditions of life in a civil war. Most people in the US are not going to handle that sort of thing well. Try this one as it pertains to b's post.

How the SHTF in Bosnia: Selco Asks Americans, "Does this sound familiar?"

Trisha , May 29 2020 15:02 utc | 32

The true enemies of humanity are corporations, so the violence is not a "civil war", but revolt. Along those lines, it's not "looting" but sabotage. And the "police" are not peace-keepers but militarized enforcers.

It's a complete waste of time engaging in electoral "politics." Politicians are corporate whores doing their master's bidding, as are the "police."

Thanks b, for another incisive post.

Nemesiscalling , May 29 2020 16:07 utc | 44
Blacks occupy a disproportionate piece of those in poverty.

Poverty breeds a lot of different evils and many of them are self-defeating cycles.

... ... ...

karlof1 , May 29 2020 21:26 utc | 90
Just finished listening to the latest interview given by Michael Hudson , "Defining a Tyrant," whose focus is on the necessity of applying debt forgiveness to those residing within the Outlaw US Empire as the economic affects of COVID-19 will be much worse than we've already seen. Those who want to get to the current moment can begin listening at the 40 minute mark (yes, it's just audio). You'll need to note that the unemployment numbers as I've been writing for awhile now are greatly understated, although the host Gary Null does allude to that reality as NYC itself is emptying out--imagine Wall Street sitting in the middle of a ghost metropolis. As you'll learn, Trump's MAGA Mantra is 100% hollow without enacting a wide ranging debt write-off--even if factories could be put back into business, the Outlaw US Empire's economy would still remain very uncompetitive because of the issue of debt service and privatized health care--issues I've written about before.

And so the main topic: Civil War. Or, is it? Reality demands it be named Class War, for that's what it is in reality. Hudson maps out how its done and by whom while naming the abettors. The Popular Forces number 280 million, not including those too young/old/infirm to bear arms. The Forces of Reaction minus the paid forces of coercion number well under 100,000. Even adding in police and military, it's still 280 million to perhaps 10 million. And even if only half of the 280 million stand up, that's 140 million. The rallying cry ought to be It's better to die standing up for your rights versus groveling on your knees. Too bad all of the above's too large for one Tweet.

willie , May 29 2020 21:31 utc | 91
The way they provoked the violence on smashing shop windows with forehammer is exactly what was witnessed inParis when apparent "black block" types did the same and then got back in their policevan.
I note that in France Riot police is clad in robocop armour and that this armour is a weapon in itself,it deshumanizes the man inside to himself,and to others.A strike of his arm is much more powerful than if he were dressed as your american cop on patrol,probably they give them steroid or something to be able to move rapidly with all the weight.They must feel like the Hulk!

Now it would be a sign of peaceful government if just any political party would make a ban on those outfits.

vinnieoh , May 29 2020 21:51 utc | 93
So the medical examiner concluded that there was no evidence of choking or suffocation, and instead was the result of his "restraint" exacerbating underlying conditions, and suggesting there was the possibility of intoxication or drugs, which is the basis for the pre-determination that Chauvin will only be charged with 3rd degree murder, which of course they'll try to whittle down to manslaughter (the coincidental charge.)

Let me see if I've got this straight: a man that is being restrained by the neck, who eventually dies from no other action, who repeatedly pleads that "I can't breath," who onlookers see and record that the man can not in fact breath, and the medical examiner finds no evidence of choking or strangulation.

Further, Officer Chauvin, in close physical contact with the eventual corpse of his victim, must surely have felt the life ebbing from George Floyd. No way no how this mother fucker gets charged with anything other than 1st degree murder. His accomplices get charged with accessory to 1st degree murder.

Dr Wellington Yueh , May 29 2020 21:59 utc | 97
Note to peaceful protestors: CAPTURE THE PROVOCATEUR!!!!!

If you see somebody doing this shit, don't wag your finger at him, get that fucker and firmly-but-peacefully eject him from the crowd.

CitizenX , May 29 2020 22:10 utc | 102
Do yourself a favor and read-

"War is a Racket" -Smedley Butler 1933
"Beyond Vietnam - Time to Break the Silence" -MLK 1967
"Art Truth and Politics" -Harold Pinter 2005

What has changed in 100 yrs of uSSa Empire? Foreign policy? Domestic policy?
Economic policy? All have become worse.

The u$$a Regime lies, cheats, steals, rapes, murders, tortures, overthrows, bombs,
invades, destroys, and loots with impunity Global wide.
How a citizen of this Rogue nation can feel good about that is beyond hypocrisy.

This Regime and the humans behind this sickening system must be replaced.
The Military Surveilance Police state must end. The Humans behind this system must be replaced
by any means necessary. Both the safety of the world and domestically rely on their removal.

When finished "Entertaining Ourselves to Death" and coming to terms with the truly Evil nature of the human beings operating and supporting this system- perhaps you will becomea full human being. Get Up Stand Up.

The difference between ignorance and delusions are substantial.
Ignorance being the lack of knowledge. Delusion being the presence of false
knowledge. Where do you stand?

I don't need protection from the police.
But We ALL need protection FROM the police state.
Will you fight to defend yourself, your family, your neighbor or fellow human being
against a cruel vile corrupt system? Selfishness and greed are no excuse for complacency.
What is worth defending- your property or your virtues?

I have long been disgusted by the u$$a regimes domestic and foreign policies. Which means I have long been disgusted by my fellow citizens (human beings) which support and operate this vile system.

Revolution-
Complacency and passive complicit citizens Or values, humaneness and justice?

Where do you stand? When do you stand for a meaningful life of society?

lysias , May 29 2020 22:24 utc | 106
The white working and lower middle classes will not support violent rioting by blacks over a black issue. This is not a way to start a revolution.

What's more, the latest reporting I read in the Washington Post is that Floyd initially resisted arrest. The early reporting that he did not resist arrest was apparently incorrect.

Moreover, the medical evidence suggests that he died not from asphyxiation or a broken neck, but because of comorbidities.

Floyd had a lengthy criminal record.

If you want a revolution in the U.S., wait a month or two until there are mass evictions.

H.Schmatz , May 29 2020 22:30 utc | 108
It seems that the revolution will not happen after all, just has been declared curfew...

This is a warning to anybody who would dare to revolt against the coming misery conditions of life while the oligarchs continue enriching themselves and looting every penny available.

This is a secondary gain from the pandemic, as we were accustomed to multiple declared state of alarm throughout the world, they thinks that going a step further would not cause any shock....

There have been equally violent revolts in France and Chile continuously during the past year, and in France again in the banlieus, and then curfew was not declared...

This is the land of the free....There you have your fascist state turning on yourselves...
When they came for the Venezuelans, seized their assets and embassies, I did nothing; when they came for the Iranians and murdered Soleimani, I said nothing; when they came for the communists in the Odessa House of Unions, I did not move a finger; when they slaughtered people at the four cardinal points of the world, I did continue living my "American Dream" as if the thing would not go with me...until I did awaken to find myself in the same nightmare....

https://twitter.com/edukabak/status/1266055032883023872/photo/1

Do you think that were not for the riots of the last nights, Chauvin would had been detained and charged?

Richard Steven Hack , May 29 2020 22:50 utc | 112
I've suggested in the past that civil war was unlikely in the US because that would requires a significant percentage of the electorate to actually take sides and shoot someone - and most of the population is so anti-gun these days that such a scenario was unlikely, especially over political issues that aren't usually considered as *directly* adversely affecting most of the population, at least in their minds. It would also require some direct organization on both sides and I don't see anyone capable of that on the national scene.

What I can easily see happening, however, is the sort of multi-city, large-scale rioting that occurred in the Sixties and in other parts of the world, leading to a declaration of martial law in at least some, possibly many, larger cities, if not nation-wide (a lot of rural areas would likely not be affected.) Economic issues and issues of social repression are usually the causes of large-scale violence historically in most countries. Most "political" issues usually boil down to either ethnic or economic or repression issues.

The US doesn't have really that much ethnic issues, except in the Southwest over Latino immigration. The US has racial, economic and repression issues, however. Most of the time they just simmer, with local limited outbreaks of violence. But in cases of blatant repression, or under severe economic pressure, they can explode into wider-scale violence.

And we've got both on the horizon. The impact of the pandemic (and the government's clueless response, thanks to Trump and previous Presidents) on the economy is likely to produce extreme economic pressure, especially on the middle class and the poor. Adding the extreme militarization of the US police over the last several decades, and this is a recipe for large-scale violence that continues for more than a few days or a week. Once police over-reaction and the appearance of the National Guard to control rioting results in the sort of deaths like in the well-known Kent State incident, then like in Ukraine we could start to see cops and National Guard fatalities from snipers. Next we could see things like the 1985 Philadelphia police bombing of the MOVE headquarters and the use of armed drones (Connecticut has a law banning armed drones - but not for police.) The next step beyond that is curfew, and the next step beyond that is martial law.

The next step beyond that is not civil war - it's explicit fascism. And that ends in revolution - which then usually recycles into either more fascism or "modified: fascism (see France in the 1800's.)

Bottom line: It's not going to get better. One of the many things preppers have been warning against is national repression. They warned against natural disasters like hurricanes and no one listened until Katrina. They warned against pandemics and no one listened - until today. They've been warning against national repression - like the Selco article I linked to. Better listen this time.

The US government has been preparing for some time:
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

Maybe you should: How To Prepare for Civil Unrest: 30 Steps You Can Take Now

[May 23, 2020] Who are serfs

Money quote: ""Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd." -- that's definition of a serf -- a neoliberal serf
I feel a lot of people just use the term neoliberalism as a term of a specific abuse of labor via debt slavery. .
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

TenTribesofTexas , 11 Apr 2019 01:15

2 simple points that epitomize neo liberalism.

1. Hayek's book 'The Road to Serfdom' uses an erroneous metaphor. He argues that if we allow gov regulation, services and spending to continue then we will end up serfs. However, serfs are basically the indentured or slave labourers of private citizens and landowners not of the state. Only in a system of private capital can there be serfs. Neo liberalism creates serfs not a public system.

2. According to Hayek all regulation on business should be eliminated and only labour should be regulated to make it cheap and contain it so that private investors can have their returns guaranteed. Hence the purpose of the state is to pass laws to suppress workers.

These two things illustrate neo-liberalism. Deception and repression of labour.

marshwren , 10 Apr 2019 22:29
As a matter of semantics, neo-liberalism delivered on the promise of freedom...for capitalists to be free of ethical accountability, social responsibility, and government regulation and taxes. And people can't understand why i'm a socialist.

[May 10, 2020] Lockdowns May Aggravate America's Next Health Crisis An Explosion Of Deaths Of Despair, Study Finds

Notable quotes:
"... Polls of life satisfaction taken since the outbreak began have reflected a rapid erosion as 33 million Americans have joined the unemployment rolls over the last months. NY Gov Andrew Cuomo said during a recent daily briefing that NY is seeing a spike in drug and alcohol abuse as people sit around all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go. ..."
"... But of course the tremendous levels of financial uncertainty coupled with the unique characteristics of this crisis make it pretty much impossible to model - any research is really an educated guess, at best. ..."
"... "Unemployment is going to have a very important impact on deaths of despair." ..."
"... His proposed strategies including investing more resources in helping unemployed people find meaningful work, and/or training the armies of contact tracers that de Blasio has now promised to hire to spot people at risk of self-harm. ..."
May 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Doctors , scientists policymakers and even 'non-experts' posting on social media have argued that shuttering the health-care system to all non-emergency care risks sparking other public health crises from a spike in heart attacks and advanced cancer diagnoses, to so-called "deaths of despair."

In some areas, a spike in suicides has already been recorded since the start of the outbreak. And now, a newly published paper released Friday has attempted to quantify deaths that might occur because of the mental-health ramifications of widespread economic chaos caused by the crisis. The research - which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed - found the isolation, grief and economic hardship related to COVID-19 are conspiring to supercharge America's already-burgeoning mental-health crisis, likely setting the stage for tens of thousands of suicides down the line.

Specifically, the researchers tabulated that as many as 75k additional "deaths of despair" could be caused by the outbreak and the economy-crushing measures implemented to stop the spreads. "Deaths of despair" typically refer to suicides and substance-abuse-related deaths, according to Bloomberg .

The research was carried out by the Well Being Trust and researchers affiliated with the American Academy of Family Physicians. One of the report's authors said he hopes the research is eventually proven to be incorrect.

"I hope in 10 years people look back and say, 'Wow, they way overestimated it,'" said John Westfall, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, who co-wrote the report.

But the sizable spike in suicides, overdoses etc since the last major crisis (the financial crisis) is reason to be concerned.

Even as the American economy rebounded after the last recession, suicides and overdoses cut into Americans' life expectancy. Mental health experts worry that the economic uncertainty and social isolation of the pandemic will make things worse at a time when the health care system is already overwhelmed. The suicide rate in the US has already been rising for two decades, and in 2018 hit its highest level since 1941, Bloomberg reported, citing a piece published by JAMA Psychiatry (a prestigious medical journal) back in April.

"There's a paradox," said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of a Long Island-based nonprofit social services agency, the Family and Children's Association. " Social isolation protects us from a contagious, life-threatening virus, but at the same time it puts people at risk for things that are the biggest killers in the United States: suicide, overdose and diseases related to alcohol abuse."

Polls of life satisfaction taken since the outbreak began have reflected a rapid erosion as 33 million Americans have joined the unemployment rolls over the last months. NY Gov Andrew Cuomo said during a recent daily briefing that NY is seeing a spike in drug and alcohol abuse as people sit around all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

"One of the main things people should take away from this paper is that employment matters," said Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer at the Well Being Trust and a clinical psychologist who worked on the paper. "It matters for our economic livelihood, and for our mental and emotional health."

But of course the tremendous levels of financial uncertainty coupled with the unique characteristics of this crisis make it pretty much impossible to model - any research is really an educated guess, at best.

Still, the researchers believe it's a useful warning, and something important for policy makers to keep in mind.

"It's useful to have a wake-up call," said Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. "Unemployment is going to have a very important impact on deaths of despair."

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer at the Well Being Trust and a clinical psychologist who worked on the paper, proposed several solutions that could be enacted to, uh, depress the number of suicides.

His proposed strategies including investing more resources in helping unemployed people find meaningful work, and/or training the armies of contact tracers that de Blasio has now promised to hire to spot people at risk of self-harm.

[May 06, 2020] Deaths of Despair

May 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , May 6 2020 15:54 utc | 86

I'm sure this has been mentioned, but Angus Deaton talking about his "Deaths of Despair" work Boston review article

JC: In the book you focus on these deaths of despair: 158,000 in 2018, about 100,000 of which are above and beyond what we would normally expect, an excess that is almost entirely among white non-Hispanic men and women without a college degree. The category covers three different causes of death: alcohol, opioids, and suicide. Could you talk about why you group them together?

AD: Initially, "deaths of despair" was a label of convenience. It helped express the sense that these deaths were sort of caused by your own hand -- unlike COVID-19, say.

...

these previous drug epidemics -- in the United States after the Civil War, or in China when the empire was disintegrating -- tended to arise during periods of social disintegration. The simplified story is that some bad Big Pharma manufacturers started pushing opioids on all of us. But in reality, Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other companies went to places where there was already lots of despair. They were looking for despair. They were looking for regions where you could harass doctors into prescribing these drugs.

Our claim in the book is that without this underlying despair -- pain, morbidity, people not going to church, people's lives coming apart -- there wouldn't have been this open field for opioids. On the other hand, if the FDA had not been so much in the hands of the industry, and if we were not operating a rent-seeking, capitalistic health care system, then we wouldn't have got those efforts to capitalize on the despair. Other countries didn't get them to anything like the same extent.

...

JC: One of the issues that you emphasize in the book is the generational aspect of deaths of despair: how it keeps getting worse for younger generations. The idea that this is a process that is worsening over time resonates strongly with Raj Chetty's account of the fading American dream. I am thinking of the study by Chetty and colleagues about absolute mobility, guided by the question: Are you going to do better than your parents? When I was born in 1951, there was a 90 percent chance of doing better than your parents. If you were born in 1980, chances had fallen to 50 percent.

...

The Democrats largely decided to abandon the working class and build a coalition of educated elites and minorities (including working-class minorities), and the Republicans basically followed business and religious organizations.

And the health care crises make things worse. Health care costs were 5 percent of GDP back in 1970, and now they're 18 percent of GDP. Everything is heaping up on these people.

...

The pillars that structured working-class life seem to have gone, or at least been eroded. And we see the fundamental force of that in the labor market. Decent wages and jobs help to bring respectability and meaning into life. We're not against some of the explanations that focus more on social norms. I think the birth control pill was very important, changing the norms about when and whether you could have children, whether you'd live together without being married. We write about how the pill was very socially divisive. For women who could get educated, it enormously enhanced opportunities to have relationship fulfilment and children as well as really good jobs. But for many working-class women for whom college was not an option, it did the opposite.

But declining wages were an incredibly important part of the loss.

...

But there's a much more negative scenario, too, which economic historian Robert Allen writes about. In the early nineteenth century in Britain, real wages stagnated for fifty years. Handloom weavers were being replaced by machines in factories in the Industrial Revolution, and wages could only rise when they were all gone, and the way of life and around handloom weaving had been destroyed.

[c1ue note: the putting out system was a major cause of the above]

...

A lot of evidence suggests that in recessions, mortality rates typically go down. The Great Depression was a very good time for life expectancy. But suicides do go up. It's not a simple story. They say in New York that what would normally be filling hospital beds would normally be filling with traffic and construction accidents, and there aren't any.

[Apr 11, 2020] NY's Cuomo pleases crowds with 'Hero Compensation Fund' for healthcare workers - after 9 years of hospital cuts by Helen Buyniski

Notable quotes:
"... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a fund to support sick healthcare workers and their families, but some blame him for the dire working conditions facing the state's caregivers after nine years of hospital budget cuts. Cuomo announced the state is working on a "Covid-19 Heroes Compensation Fund" to support healthcare workers and their families who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus during his daily briefing on Friday. It was heralded by his growing Democratic fan club as a generous, thoughtful move from a politician who cares about the "frontline workers." ..."
Apr 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a fund to support sick healthcare workers and their families, but some blame him for the dire working conditions facing the state's caregivers after nine years of hospital budget cuts. Cuomo announced the state is working on a "Covid-19 Heroes Compensation Fund" to support healthcare workers and their families who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus during his daily briefing on Friday. It was heralded by his growing Democratic fan club as a generous, thoughtful move from a politician who cares about the "frontline workers."

Absent from the lovefest was any mention of how the governor had - just the previous day - deferred 2 percent pay raises to some 80,000 state workers for 90 days, and potentially for longer. Many of those affected are healthcare workers in the state's prisons and mental health facilities.

Union leaders were outraged. "It's inexcusable to require our workers to literally face death to ensure the state keeps running and then turn around and deny those very workers their much-deserved raise in this time of crisis, " Civil Service Employees Association president Mary Sullivan told the Times Union, while NY Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association chief Michael Powers called the postponement a "slap in the face" to workers facing "some of the most dangerous conditions in the state."

While Cuomo is being praised for his leadership amid the coronavirus outbreak, the problems he is scrambling to solve are largely of his own making. Although aware of a 2015 report highlighting the desperately-depleted state stockpile of ventilators, he didn't take any actions on it, and has spent his tenure shuttering and downsizing hospitals across the state, mostly those serving low-income clients. The state has eliminated 20,000 hospital beds in the last two decades, at least half under his leadership.

The New York state budget passed at the beginning of the month included deep cuts to Medicaid and may have rendered the state ineligible for $6 billion in federal aid, infuriating liberal lawmakers who were less enchanted with the new #Resistance hero. State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) told the New York Daily News that Cuomo's latest budget "only offered harsh austerity for the poorest and most vulnerable" New Yorkers.

The state's Democrat-controlled senate called on Cuomo to tax the wealthy - New York has the highest economic inequality in the country, and a tax on the richest .01 percent has upwards of 90 percent approval among voters - only to be turned down by the politician who has earned the nickname "Governor One Percent."

The latest cost-cutting moves resulted in New York City deprived on $200 million in sales tax revenue when the big apple is at the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic has hospitals so understaffed that NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation has apparently been reduced to contracting dodgy medical-temp agencies - one, Kansas-based disaster-staffing group Krucial Staffing, was sued earlier this week for luring out-of-state medical professionals to work in city hospitals under false pretenses, promising them cushy posts with ample protective equipment and no Covid-19 exposure - to fill vacancies. The suit alleges Krucial's misrepresentation of working conditions placed healthcare workers' medical licenses and lives in danger.

It's unclear how many medical workers have contracted and died of the disease in the state, as New York, along with several other states, does not tract infections among medical staff. According to a BuzzFeed News review of the reports by 12 states, which made their data public, at least 5,400 nurses and doctors tested positive nationwide, while dozens have succumbed to the lethal illness. Among them, Kious Kelly, an assistant nurse manager at Mount Sinai West, whose death from the coronavirus on March 24 sparked protests among the personnel and led to the hospital eventually allowing workers to receive tests – but only those already showing symptoms.

Some 7,887 New Yorkers have died with coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, the majority of them - 5,820 - in New York City.

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[Mar 24, 2020] Welcome to Sweatshop Amerika! by Mike Whitney

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

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Imagine if the congress approved a measure to form a public-private partnership between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Can you imagine that?

Now imagine if a panicky and ill-informed Congress gave the Fed a blank check to bail out all of its crooked crony corporate and Wall Street friends, allowing the Fed to provide more than $4.5 trillion to underwater corporations that ripped off Mom and Pop investors by selling them bonds that were used to goose their stock prices so fatcat CEOs could make off like bandits. Imagine if all that red ink from private actors was piled onto the national debt pushing long-term interest rates into the stratosphere while crushing small businesses, households and ordinary working people.

Now try to imagine the impact this would have on the nation's future. Imagine if the Central Bank was given the green-light to devour the Treasury, control the country's "purse strings", and use nation's taxing authority to shore up its trillions in ultra-risky leveraged bets, its opaque financially-engineered ponzi-instruments, and its massive speculative debts that have gone pear-shaped leaving a gaping black hole on its balance sheet?

Well, you won't have to imagine this scenario for much longer, because the reality is nearly at hand. You see, the traitorous, dumbshit nincompoops in Congress are just a hairs-breadth away from abdicating congress's crucial power of the purse, which is not only their greatest strength, but also allows the congress to reign in abuses of executive power by controlling the flow of funding. The power of the purse is the supreme power of government which is why the founders entrusted it to the people's elected representatives in congress. Now these imbeciles are deciding whether to hand over that authority to a privately-owned banking cartel that has greatly expanded the chasm between rich and poor, incentivized destructive speculation on an industrial scale, and repeatedly inflated behemoth asset-price bubbles that have inevitably blown up sending stocks and the real economy into freefall. The idea of merging the Fed and the Treasury first appeared in its raw form in an article by former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen in the Financial Times. Here's a short excerpt from the piece:

"The Fed could ask Congress for the authority to buy limited amounts of investment-grade corporate debt The Fed's intervention could help restart that part of the corporate debt market, which is under significant stress. Such a programme would have to be carefully calibrated to minimize the credit risk taken by the Fed while still providing needed liquidity to an essential market." ( Financial Times )

The Fed is not allowed to buy corporate debt, because it is not within its mandate of "price stability and full employment". It's also not allowed to arbitrarily intervene in the markets to pick winners and losers, nor is it allowed to bailout poorly-managed crybaby corporations who were gaming the system to their own advantage when the whole deal blew up in their faces. That's their problem, not the Fed's and not the American taxpayer's.

But notice how Bernanke emphasizes how "Such a programme would have to be carefully calibrated to minimize the credit risk taken by the Fed". Why do you think he said that?

He said it because he anticipates an arrangement where the new Treasury-Fed combo could buy up to "$4.5 trillion of corporate debt" (according to Marketwatch and BofA). And the way this will work, is the Fed will select the bonds that will be purchased and the credit risk will be heaped onto the US Treasury. Apparently Bernanke and Yellen think this is a "fair" arrangement, but others might differ on that point.

Keep in mind, that in the last week alone, investors pulled a record $107 billion out of corporate bonds which is a market which has been in a deep-freeze for nearly a month. The only activity is the steady surge of redemptions by frantic investors who want to get their money back before the listing ship heads for Davey Jones locker. This is the market that Bernanke wants the American people to bail out mainly because he doesn't want to submerge the Fed's balance sheet in red ink. He wants to find a sucker who will take the loss instead. That's where Uncle Sam comes in, he's the target of this subterfuge. This same theme pops up in a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Check it out:

"At least Treasury has come around to realizing it needs a facility to provide liquidity for companies. But as we write this, Mr. Mnuchin was still insisting that Treasury have control of most of the money to be able to ladle out directly to companies it wants to help. This is a recipe for picking winners and losers, and thus for bitter political fights and months of ugly headlines charging favoritism. The far better answer is for Treasury to use money from Congress to replenish the Exchange Stabilization Fund to back the Fed in creating a facility or special-purpose vehicles under Section 13(3) to lend the money to all comers. "( "Leaderless on the Econom" , Wall Street Journal)

I can hardly believe the author is bold enough to say this right to our faces. Read it carefully: They are saying "We want your money, but not your advice. The Fed will choose who gets the cash and who doesn't. Just put your trillions on the counter and get the hell out."

Isn't that what they're saying? Of course it is. And the rest of the article is even more arrogant:

"The Fed can charge a non-concessionary rate, but the vehicles should be open to those who think they need the money, not merely to those Treasury decides are worthy." (Huh? So the Treasury should have no say so in who gets taxpayer money??) The looming liquidity crisis is simply too great for that kind of bureaucratic, politicized decision-making. (Wall Street Journal)

Get it? In other words, the folks at Treasury are just too stupid or too prejudiced to understand the subtleties of a bigass bailout like this. Is that arrogance or what?

This is the contempt these people have for you and me and everyone else who isn't a part of their elitist gaggle of reprobates. Here's a clip from another article at the WSJ that helps to show how the financial media is pushing this gigantic handout to corporate America:.

"The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and banking regulators deserve congratulations for their bold, necessary actions to provide liquidity to the U.S. financial system amid the coronavirus crisis. But more remains to be done. We thus recommend: (1) immediate congressional action . to authorize the Treasury to use the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee prime money-market funds, (2) regulatory action to effect temporary reductions in bank capital and liquidity requirements (NOTE–So now the banks don't need to hold capital against their loans?) .. additional Fed lending to banks and nonbanks .(Note -by "nonbanks", does the author mean underwater hedge funds?)

We recommend that the Fed take further actions as lender of last resort. First, it should re-establish the Term Auction Facility, used in the 2008 crisis, allowing depository institutions to borrow against a broad range of collateral at an auction price (Note–They want to drop the requirement for good Triple A collateral.) Second, it should consider further exercising its Section 13(3) authority to provide additional liquidity to nonbanks, potentially including purchases of corporate debt through a special-purpose vehicle" ( "Do More to Avert a Liquidity Crisis" , Wall Street Journal )

This isn't a bailout, it's a joke, and there's no way Congress should approve these measures, particularly the merging of the US Treasury with the cutthroat Fed. That's a prescription for disaster! The Fed needs to be abolished not embraced as a state institution. It's madness!

And look how the author wants to set up an special-purpose vehicle (SPV) so the accounting chicanery can be kept off the books which means the public won't know how much money is being flushed down the toilet trying to resuscitate these insolvent corporations whose executives are still living high on the hog on the money they stole from credulous investors. This whole scam stinks to high heaven!

Meanwhile America's working people will get a whopping $1,000 bucks to tide them over until the debts pile up to the rafters and they're forced to rob the neighborhood 7-11 to feed the kids. How fair is that?

And don't kid yourself: This isn't a bailout, it's the elitist's political agenda aimed at creating a permanent underclass who'll work for peanuts just to eek out a living.

Welcome to Sweatshop Amerika!


anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:03 am GMT

In 2008-2009, the Federal Reserve bailed out the global banking system to the tune of $16 Trillion. But American citizens were left to pay usurious rates of interest on $1 Trillion of credit card debt. And American students had lost years of economic opportunity but their $1 Trillion dollars of debt could not be discharged through bankruptcy.

This time the banks should stand behind the debtors at the government troth.

anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:06 am GMT
It's hard to understand how holiday cruise shipping can be regarded as an essential business.

It is almost as hard to understand why a "Globalist Enterprise" should be spared its fate through the generosity of of one country. Even harder to understand, why would that one country should bail out a business, which had employed both tax-avoidance schemes as well as strategy import substitution and foreign investment to improve its profits at the expense of that country.

Nationalism is better that globalism. The current crisis was not caused by globalism; but globalism has drained from our country the means to respond to the crisis with the medicines and equipment that would reduce its severity.

Not a single cent of government aid should go toward a person or an entity outside the United States and it territories. Conditions should be placed upon such aid, so that the companies receiving it, must domesticate their supply chains, and must produce and develop their products within the United States.

Kim , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:38 am GMT
@anachronism Make the universities discharge the student debt. It was their scam all along. They can begin by retrenching their schools of the humanities and at least halving their administrative staff. And end building and sports programs. The fat hangs heavy on that particular pig.
anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 7:19 am GMT
@Kim I agree with you up to a point.

The student and the university should share responsibility equally. In the future, the institution should be made a co-signor on any student loan; and the obligation to repay the loan should be joint and several for both the institution and the student.

Bankruptcy provides the ex-student with the chance to start over and to escape the burden; but not without consequences. This will discourage the ex-student, who is doing well financially and has the means to service the debt, from just walking away.

[Mar 15, 2020] The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

Mar 14, 2020 | www.nytimes.com

As the coronavirus spreads, the public interest requires employers to abandon their longstanding resistance to paid sick leave.

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

Most American restaurants do not offer paid sick leave. Workers who fall sick face a simple choice: Work and get paid or stay home and get stiffed. Not surprisingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2014 that fully 20 percent of food service workers had come to work at least once in the previous year " while sick with vomiting or diarrhea ."

As the new coronavirus spreads across the United States, the time has come for restaurants, retailers and other industries that rely on low-wage labor to abandon their parsimonious resistance to paid sick leave. Companies that do not pay sick workers to stay home are endangering their workers, their customers and the health of the broader public. Studies show that paying for sick employees to stay home significantly reduces the spread of the seasonal flu. There's every reason to think it would help to check the new coronavirus, too.

[Feb 19, 2020] On Michael Lind's "The New Class War" by Gregor Baszak

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. ..."
"... Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt. ..."
"... Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists." ..."
"... To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration. ..."
"... Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages. ..."
"... This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up. ..."
"... But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself. ..."
"... American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises. ..."
"... In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism." ..."
"... A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes. ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | lareviewofbooks.org

A FEW DAYS AFTER Donald Trump's electoral upset in 2016, Club for Growth co-founder Stephen Moore told an audience of Republican House members that the GOP was "now officially a Trump working class party." No longer the party of traditional Reaganite conservatism, the GOP had been converted instead "into a populist America First party." As he uttered these words, Moore says, "the shock was palpable" in the room.

The Club for Growth had long dominated Republican orthodoxy by promoting low tax rates and limited government. Any conservative candidate for political office wanting to reap the benefits of the Club's massive fundraising arm had to pay homage to this doctrine. For one of its formerly leading voices to pronounce the transformation of this orthodoxy toward a more populist nationalism showed just how much the ground had shifted on election night.

To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. The title of Lind's new book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite , leaves no doubt as to where his sympathies lie, though he's adamant that he's not some sort of guru for a " smarter Trumpism ," as some have labeled him.

Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt.

The New Class War is a breath of fresh air. Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists."

To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration.

The strategy has since been successfully repeated in the United Kingdom by Boris Johnson, and it looks, for now, like a foolproof way for conservative parties in the West to capture or defend their majorities against center-left parties that are too beholden to wealthy, metropolitan interests to seriously attract working-class support. Berating the latter as irredeemably racist certainly doesn't help either.

What happened in the preceding decades to produce this divide in Western democracies? Lind's narrative begins with the New Deal, which had brought to an end what he calls "the first class war" in favor of a class compromise between management and labor. This first class war is the one we are the most familiar with: originating in the Industrial Revolution, which had produced the wretchedly poor proletariat, it soon led to the rise of competing parties of organized workers on the one hand and the liberal bourgeoisie on the other, a clash that came to a head in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages.

This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up.

But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself.

Likewise, only it can contain this backlash by returning to the bargaining table and reestablishing the tripartite system it had walked away from. According to Lind, the new class peace can only come about on the level of the individual nation-state because transnational