Saturday, December 10, 2005

30 Years of Supply-Side/Neo-Liberal Economic Policies Have Created a Disaster and We Will "Reap the Whirlwind"

30 Years of Supply-Side/Neo-Liberal Economic Policies Have Created A Disaster and We Will “Reap the Whirlwind”

Years ago, when sitting in various classes on Economics (I was an economics major) the recurrent theme in all of them was simply this: “What’s good for business is good for America”. I disputed that then—I dispute it now! That which is good for business does not equate to being good for us, the people of the nation.
Profits over people is the current mantra, and that is in no way good for us in this country or any other country for that matter.

The following three reports—“Most Wanted” Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005; Comments on Employment Data; and Misplaced Priorities: Cutting Services to Finance Tax Breaks—are in my opinion, absolute must reads.

Together (and separately) they help to point out the depth of the “illusion” that has, and is being perpetrated on us all. We are most definitely in the grips of a “plutocracy-oligarchy”. Our congress has sold itself to the highest bidder and then tell us what they are doing is for us and our good. Every time I hear any of them say, “The American people want…” I just go ballistic.


Republican and Democrat alike have led us to exactly where we are right now as a nation—a rogue state that is corporate run for the benefit of the corporate structure/model and the investor class (the Bush “Ownership Society”), on an endless war economy (that’s where the rise in GDP is coming from, at least to a large extent) which, along with the tax breaks for the upper 10% of the population, have created deficits that are breaking the piggy bank—Think, “Starve the Beast”. See my article – “When Criminals Rule…” for more info on this.

Now on to three important reports--These can be used to counter most of the economic “good news” coming from the Cheney/Bush Cabal and their cheerleaders in congress, among others. Two things I believe we have got to do: first, all 435 members of the House of Representatives must NOT be sent back to congress next year, as well as those in the Senate coming up for “de-election”. If we can manage to even come close, then somewhere along the line we MUST revisit the “Personhood of Corporations” Unless that is done away with, in the end, nothing will change because the corporate money will rule. See
“The Political Money Line” for more information on the buying and selling of congress -- Jack

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"Most Wanted" Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005

Take Action for International Human Rights Day!
By
Global Exchange(Click here to read about our definition of human rights.)

INTRODUCTION

Corporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times, but it is increasingly difficult to hold them to account. Economic globalization and the rise of transnational corporate power have created a favorable climate for corporate human rights abusers, which are governed principally by the codes of supply and demand and show genuine loyalty only to their stockholders.

Though it isn't easy, we can check the power of corporations—and citizens around the world are stepping up to do it. Global Exchange developed this list of some of the world's worst corporate abusers to illustrate that on issues as diverse as assassination, torture, kidnapping, environmental degradation, abusing public funds, violently repressing political rights, releasing toxins into pristine environments, destroying homes, discrimination, and causing widespread health problems, familiar companies like Dow Chemical, Coca Cola, Caterpillar, Lockheed, Philip Morris, and Wal-Mart play a big role. Now we need you to take action!

Several of the companies below are being sued under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a law that allows citizens of any nationality to sue in US federal courts for violations of international rights or treaties. When corporations act like criminals, we have the right and the power to stop them, holding leaders and multinational corporations alike to the accords they have signed. Around the world—in Venezuela, Argentina, India, and right here in the United States—citizens are stepping up to create democracy and hold corporations accountable to international law.

This list of "MOST WANTED" corporate criminals gives you information about the abusive behavior of this year's top fourteen worst corporations, tells you who is responsible, and how to connect with and support people who are doing something about it. The more you know, the less these corporations can continue their abuses out of public eyesight: so share this information with your friends, get on the phone with the CEOs themselves, and exercise your rights as a citizen and consumer today.

This Is A Must Read Report—Full Report Here: http://www.globalexchange.org/getInvolved/corporateHRviolators.html.pf

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Comment on Employment Data

by Christian E. Weller, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress
December 2, 2005
http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=1234933

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that total employment grew by 215,000 jobs in November. At the same time, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. New jobs are certainly welcome, but it is crucial to keep this employment growth in perspective. For this business cycle, i.e. since March 2001, the labor market performance is still too weak to allow middle-class families to escape the debt trap.

Total employment growth has been the lowest of any business cycle. On average, employment has grown by 0.02 percent per month since March 2001. The business cycle with the next slowest employment growth ended in August 1957 and had average employment growth that was more than four times as fast. Only seven months in this business cycle, out of 56, have seen above average employment growth. That is, for 87 percent of this business cycle, employment growth has been below average. November 2005 had employment growth of 0.16 percent, which remained still below the long-term average of 0.18 percent before this business cycle.

A silver lining on the employment horizon is the fact that jobs have expanded across a rather broad spectrum. Construction, manufacturing, and many service sectors, such as health care, added jobs in November. Also, jobs related to the construction and housing boom - construction, architects, real estate agents, mortgage bankers, and sales personnel in building supply stores - accounted for 24.1 percent of November's employment gains. For the time being, this signals good news since three-quarters of the employment gains are not directly dependent on the performance of the real estate market, which many observers expect to weaken in the coming months.

However, families need more jobs and higher wages to make ends meet. Inflation-adjusted hourly wages were about as high in October 2005, the last month for which data are available, as in March 2001. Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings in October were 0.7 percent lower than in March 2001. Today's figures from the BLS show wages continued to be flat or even lower than at the start of the business cycle in November. Hourly wages for production, non-supervisory workers, the vast majority of workers, rose by 0.2 percent, while weekly earnings actually fell by 0.1 percent, before the effects of inflation are even taken into account.

Importantly, without stronger, prolonged, broad based employment growth and a clear turn around in wages, middle-class families will continue to struggle under a mountain of debt amassed over the past few years. In the second quarter of 2005, the last period for which data are available, households had to spend a record 13.6 percent of their disposable income to service their outstanding debt. In the third quarter of 2005, all banks reported that the ratio of consumer loans, including credit card debt and other consumer loans, that were in default rose to over 3 percent for the first time in more than two years.

Christian E. Weller is Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress.
www.americanprogress.org
© Center for American Progress
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Misplaced Priorities: Cutting Services to Finance Tax Breaks
by John S. Irons and Bracken Hendricks

November 29, 2005
Read the full report (PDF)

Overview

A budget document reflects priorities, and whether it is your family budget or the federal budget, you get what you pay for. Being a sound fiscal steward means making wise choices: setting a financial course that invests in a better future for our children, anticipating potential risks like long-term illness or job loss, and taking care of critical needs as they arise to reduce harms and keep costs low. That is good leadership, whether in our homes or in our nation's capitol.

Many Americans today are struggling to find affordable health care, pay for college, support their families, and put food on the table. Unfortunately, Congress is using the budget process to play games with America's finances. It is rolling back vital services that protect the middle class, and dismantling the social safety net that has protected all Americans for generations. The budget reconciliation package currently under consideration in Congress contains billions in cuts to health care for low-income families, student loans, child support enforcement, food stamps, and many other areas.

Why? In order to offer permanent tax cuts for those least in need. Reversing just one-seventh of the tax cuts for the top 1 percent of taxpayers - those making more than $300,000 a year - would be enough to avoid these costly cuts cited below.

Yes, a budget document reflects priorities - sadly, Congress is not looking out for mainstream families. It is time for a budget that reflects America's real priorities. We must do better.

The Congressional budgets, among other cuts, include:

Medicaid - new costs for more than 7 million poor and near-poor Americans, including 3.5 million children; an estimated 70,000 would lose coverage completely; low-income Americans just above the poverty line will be subject to substantial co-pays and charges;

Student Loans - $8 billion in new charges to students and their families: an average student borrower with $17,500 in loans would pay an estimated $5,800 in additional interest payments;

Child Support - cuts would lead to $24 billion in uncollected child support payments over the next decade; other changes would create large unfunded mandates for child care, leaving states with billions less to pay for education and health care;

Food Stamps - an estimated 225,000 people would lose food stamps, most of them in working families.

Read the full report (PDF )
http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=1213613

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