October 27 2011
by: Bill Bonner
Little by little, one step at a time, the mainstream press is beginning to understand. There was no ordinary recession. There will be no ordinary recovery. And something is very wrong.
A Great Depression? We should be so lucky, writes David Leonhardt in The New York Times:
UNDERNEATH the misery of the Great Depression, the United States economy was quietly making enormous strides during the 1930s. Television and nylon stockings were invented. Refrigerators and washing machines turned into mass-market products. Railroads became faster and roads smoother and wider. As the economic historian Alexander J. Field has said, the 1930s constituted “the most technologically progressive decade of the century.”
The 1930s was a tough time to earn a living. But great things were happening. Much of the technology that would later become ubiquitous…and which would power the post-WWII consumer boom…was developed in the ’30s. But what new technology is coming along now? Do you see anything that will later cause a boom? We don’t. Leonhardt continues:
It would clearly be nice if we could take some comfort from this bit of history. If anything, though, the lesson of the 1930s may be the opposite one. The most worrisome aspect about our current slump is that it combines obvious short-term problems — from the financial crisis — with less obvious long-term problems. Those long-term problems include a decade-long slowdown in new-business formation, the stagnation of educational gains and the rapid growth of industries with mixed blessings, including finance and health care.
October 24 2011
For some reason we lack the ability to do what seems to be simple. If something doesn’t work, fix it. If it can’t be fixed, replace it.
The award winning article below is our long running tribute to what we call “The Great Awakening”. Take a look and tell us what you think.
Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution
by: Michael Pirsch
Our country is in tatters. While more and more of us plunge into official poverty status, our elected leaders, who are in service to the wealthy elite, argue about how much to cut from programs that "promote the general welfare." They squander our exhaustible resources on illegal wars. The rich have stolen so much from us that they comprise the wealthiest 1 percent in well over 100 years, and they are supported in all this by their pet pundits, who dominate the corporate media. And none of our elected leaders from either of the two parties question the morality of shredding the most basic programs "to promote the general welfare."
To imagine that the Democratic Party would provide any leadership to end the "long train of abuses and usurpations" brought upon us is akin to reaffirming our belief in Santa Claus. The time has come to break the chains that bind us and to establish a new government based on true, not humbug, democratic principles.
Therefore, we are very fortunate in the USA to have not only the right, but also the duty to throw off the current form of government. According to the Declaration of Independence, our nation's most revered document, our responsibility to overthrow, or not, is contingent on government protections of the "... unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In other words, it is up to us, the governed, to determine the mechanisms necessary to secure these rights. It goes on to state "that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it ..." More...
October 24 2011
by: Dave Murphy
The recent carnage to the American people's way of life began more than 30 years ago when the Reagan administration crafted deliberate policies that stopped enforcement of antitrust laws at the Department of Justice, encouraged an orgy of corporate mergers and launched a three decade assault on common sense government oversight. Since that time, politicians of both parties have embraced the radical notion of "free" markets that decoupled risk from accountability.
Occupy Wall Street was born out of a legitimate frustration with the collusion between Big Business and elected officials of the U.S. government. And nowhere is that collusion so great as in food and agricultural production where four firms control 84 percent of beef packing, 66 percent of pork production and one company, Monsanto, controls patents on more than 93 percent of soybeans and 80 percent of corn grown in the U.S.
Ironically, on the day that Occupy Wall Street launched, I was in San Francisco at a conference appropriately named "Justice Begins with Seeds" to discuss the problems of excessive corporate control over our food supply. The incredible growth in the use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds and the excessive corporate influence of biotech seed companies have in Washington was high on the agenda. Much like the ubiquitous credit default swaps of the mortgage crisis, which became toxic assets for the global economy, this new technology of GMO seeds is less than two decades old, but already appears in an estimated 75 to 80 percent of processed food that Americans eat everyday.
October 24 2011
by: Lila Shapiro
As news emerged Friday of Walmart's decision to eliminate health benefits for new part-time workers and substantially increase premiums on existing plans, the retail goliath appears to be joining a larger, decade-long trend: the erosion of employer-provided health insurance.
The largest employer in the world attributed the decision for making the cuts to rising health care costs. Under the plan, new hires who work under 24 hours a week on average will not be eligible for company health coverage, while premiums for some existing plans may go up as much as 40 percent, along with other benefit reductions, The New York Times reported. Additionally, spouses of new hires who work less than 33 hours a week will no longer be covered.
"The current health care system is unsustainable for everyone and, like other businesses, we've had to make choices we wish we didn't have to make," said Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter. "Our country needs to find a way to reduce the cost of health care, particularly in this economy."
October 23 2011
by: Paul Krugman
Last month President Obama finally unveiled a serious economic stimulus plan — far short of what I’d like to see, but a step in the right direction. Republicans, predictably, have blocked it. But the new plan, combined with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, seems to have shifted the national conversation. We are, suddenly, focused on what we should have been talking about all along: jobs.
Now it would be wrong to say that all Republicans see increased pollution as the answer to unemployment. Herman Cain says that the unemployed are responsible for their own plight — a claim that, at Tuesday’s presidential debate, was met with wild applause.
Both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have, however, put weakened environmental protection at the core of their economic proposals, as have Senate Republicans. Mr. Perry has put out a specific number — 1.2 million jobs — that appears to be based on a study released by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association, claiming favorable employment effects from removing restrictions on oil and gas extraction. The same study lies behind the claims of Senate Republicans.