Category Archives: Economy

Microchip, macro impact, micro vision

Let’s say you’re looking to invest some savings in the expanding micro-chip industry and a friend hands you the 2021 Annual Report of the Delaware (chartered) Corporation, Microchip Technology, a firm based in Chandler, Arizona. You’re a studious type and want to know what the company is producing before deciding if becoming a shareholder-owner is for you. Continue reading

Inequality in the U.S. is much more than a moral disgrace

What happens economically when wealth tilts to the top? Most of us see immoral ugliness wherever wealth concentrates. Much more lurks that we need to see. Continue reading

In final speech, Trumka said labor’s fighting for democracy under siege

LAS VEGAS (PAI)—In what turned out to be his final address to a union crowd, the late AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka declared organized labor is fighting not just for itself, but for “democracy, which has been under siege.” Continue reading

The untimely tragic death of labor’s best friend

The first time I met Rich Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO who suddenly died this past Thursday, was in early 2008. I had only been president of the Writers Guild of America, East, an AFL-CIO union, for a short time, and he was then the labor federation’s secretary-treasurer. Continue reading

Foreign cash bought the White House for Trump

Projection sums up the entire four years of Donald Trump’s chaotic administration in that while he and his cohorts were trying to convince the world that Joe Biden was tied financially in some way to Ukraine and China, his administration was bought and paid for by foreign interests. In addition to cash outlays to Team Trump, Steve Bannon’s international bloc of fascist parties and individuals contributed in kind with social media gaslighting and other propaganda campaigns designed to perpetuate unfounded rumor on Biden, Covid-19, and other subjects. Continue reading

Canada is waging an all-front legal war against indigenous people

After mass graves full of Indigenous children have been found, how can Canada justify ongoing land theft?

Canada is developing a new image: one of burning churches, toppling statues, and mass graves. There are thousands more unmarked graves, thousands more Indigenous children killed at residential schools, remaining to be unearthed. There can be no denying that this is Canada, and it has to change. But can Canada transform itself for the better? If the revelation of the mass killing of Indigenous children is to lead to any actual soul-searching and any meaningful change, the first order of business is for Canada to stop its all-front war against First Nations. Much of that war is taking place through the legal system. Continue reading

Why America can’t have “nice things”

Some time back a woman living in Sweden, “Caroline” @SweResistance on Twitter, posted a thread that said: “I live in Sweden. We have social security, affordable health care, strict gun laws, 5 weeks paid annual leave, 1 year maternity leave, etc. And no, we’re not a communist country, and not even strictly socialistic but socio-democratic. And our freedom is not inhibited. Continue reading

The economic aftermath of the war against the pandemic: Inflation, recession, deflation, stagflation or secular stagnation?

After forty some years of disinflation and declining interest rates, there is some confusion about whether or not this long disinflationary decline is about to end, to be replaced with a creeping up of real wages, prices and interest rates. Continue reading

What happens economically when wealth tilts to the top?

Most of us see immoral ugliness wherever wealth concentrates. Much more lurks that we need to see.

Trickle-down is trickling away. The high priests of America’s trickle-down temple may still be preaching their gospel—the notion that enriching the rich will end up enriching us all—but fewer and fewer people are taking them seriously. The “facts on the ground” have simply become too compelling to ignore. Continue reading

Why so much wealth at the top threatens the US economy

Policymakers and the media are paying too much attention to how quickly the U.S. economy will emerge from the pandemic-induced recession, and not nearly enough to the nation’s deeper structural problem—the increasing imbalance of wealth that could enfeeble the economy for years. Continue reading

There is no labor shortage, only labor exploitation

Conservatives and corporate employers are weaving an insidious web of myths, lies and exaggerations to justify maintaining low-wage jobs.

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. Continue reading

There’s no ‘labor shortage.’ There’s a wage shortage.

To find workers, there’s a free-enterprise solution right at employers’ fingertips: raise pay, improve conditions, and show respect.

At a recent congressional hearing on America’s so-called “labor shortage,” megabanker Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, offered this insight: “People actually have a lot of money, and they don’t particularly feel like going back to work.” Continue reading

Biden faces backlash over ‘shameful’ capitulation to GOP governors as they end unemployment lifelines

"You only take back the lifeline when people aren't drowning," said Claire Guzdar of the Groundwork Collaborative.

Biden administration officials publicly signaled Friday that they have no intention of putting up a fight as the Republican governors of 25 states prematurely cut off emergency unemployment programs, yanking key lifelines from millions of jobless workers and depriving local economies of billions of dollars. Continue reading

Unregulated digital cryptocurrencies vs regulated national currencies: Is there a danger?

A few years ago, after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, some clever people, whose identity is hidden behind the appellation of ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, devised a decentralized electronic system of payments, which is independent of the existing traditional banking system. It is based on a new form of digital ‘currencies’ or ‘electronic currencies’, the ‘cryptocurrencies’. Some observers have called the cryptocurrency innovation a sort of a new 21st Century digital gold rush. Continue reading

Pay a living wage or ‘flip your own damn burgers’: Progressives blast right-wing narrative on jobs

"If one in four recipients are making more off unemployment than they did working, that's not an indictment of $300 a week in UI benefits. It's an indictment of corporations paying starvation wages."

Pushing back on the right-wing narrative about the reason for real or perceived labor shortages in some markets nationwide, progressives on Friday told corporations that if they want to hire more people, they’ll need to start paying better wages. Continue reading

Big biz answer to low April job numbers: End unemployment benefits!

The Chamber of Commerce and the Republicans are seizing on what they say is a poor April jobs report to call for ending unemployment benefits they say are too generous. Their idea is that by heaping more pain and suffering on U.S. workers they will be forced to go back to work even if only to jobs that pay sub-human wages. The logical conclusion that this would be a good time for corporations and businesses to finally increase pay to living wage levels is one they want to avoid coming to at all costs. Continue reading

Migrant women farmworkers: An invisible essential labor force

The Biden administration must address the industry’s long-standing gender discrimination and systemic inequalities, which have become even more severe during the pandemic.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an outpouring of public support for essential workers. But this national discourse has largely excluded migrant women farmworkers, despite their vital role in keeping food on American families’ tables. Continue reading

If Joe Biden is truly a ‘union guy’ he must strike dead the Taft-Hartley monster

The PRO Act alone is simply not going to get the job done for U.S. workers.

President Joe Biden likes to say, “I’m a union guy.” Unfortunately, as Vice President from 2009 to 2017, his boss, Barack Obama wouldn’t let him be a “union guy.” Even with large Democratic majorities in Congress and control of the White House, worker needs went unmet. Continue reading

Amazon union vote shows why we need the PRO Act

In the face of intimidation by one of the largest companies in the world, Alabama workers bravely spoke out about the need for greater labor protections.

Following one of the most high-profile union votes in history, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama—led by Black organizers—ultimately rejected efforts to form a union by 71 percent, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Continue reading

The end of trickle-down economics

The past year has laid waste to the arguments behind “trickle down” theory. Instead, let’s have wealth “percolate up.”

The past year proves that a lot of conventional economic wisdom is neither true nor wise. Continue reading

Will 2021 be public banking’s watershed moment?

Faced with the dire Covid-19 crisis, some lawmakers are starting to see publicly-owned banks as the key to ensuring an equitable economic recovery. Continue reading

How a guaranteed income can actually solve inequality

Poverty in America disproportionately affects women and people of color, and that is precisely what hinders political action to address it—even when solutions abound.

An ongoing study conducted in Stockton, California, examines how the lives of low-income Americans can improve if they are simply given money—a modest, but reliable source of income with no strings attached. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) randomly chose 125 participants from poverty-stricken residential areas and gave them $500 per month to simply use for whatever they wanted over the last two years. A majority of the participants were women (69 percent) and people of color (53 percent). Preliminary results from the first year are tantalizing for anyone interested in solutions to address rising inequality in the United States, especially as they manifest along racial and gender lines. Within the first year, the study’s participants obtained jobs at twice the rate of the control group. At the beginning of the study, 28 percent of the participants had full-time employment, and after the first year, that number rose to 40 percent. Continue reading

Ignoring the greatest US Great Depression

Instead of explaining the dire state of things in the US, West and elsewhere—Main Street economies in collapse—establishment media pretend otherwise. Continue reading

The gamers’ uprising against Wall Street has deep populist roots

Wall Street may own the country, as Kansas populist leader Mary Elizabeth Lease once declared, but a new generation of “retail” stock market traders is fighting back.

A short squeeze frenzy driven by a new generation of gamers captured financial headlines in recent weeks, centered on a struggling strip mall video game store called GameStop. The Internet and a year off in this shut down to study up have given a younger generation of investors the tools to compete in the market. Gerald Celente calls it the “Youth Revolution.” A group of New York Young Republicans who protested in the snow on January 31 called it “Re-occupy Wall Street.” Others have called it Occupy Wall Street 2.0. Continue reading

The relationship between income and wealth disparities and negative real interest rates

Has a forty-year trend reached an apex? Indeed, official measures of economic disparities are at an all-time high. Continue reading

Don’t be fooled: The official unemployment numbers are a lie

A dive into the murky waters of unemployment to see the designed failings of a system that purposefully miscounts, disaggregates and excludes millions of people

The official unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%. But that doesn’t feel right, does it? Unless you live in a gated community, the reality on the ground feels more dire and more destitute. Behind that cheery 6.7% stand millions of uncounted people—uncounted by design. Continue reading

Some corporate-suite context for the fun and games at GameStop

Amid a rising billionaire tide, could a blip help change our national economic conversation?

You’ve probably seen by now some of those new—and jaw-dropping—stats on billionaire wealth. Analysts at Inequality.org started the statistical ball rolling this past fall with riveting research on how much the fortunes of America’s super rich have climbed since Covid began crushing the U.S. economy. This week those same researchers have come back with an alarming update. Continue reading

Workers need paid sick leave ASAP

Congress let mandatory paid leave end on Dec. 31. Lawmakers—and employers—need to restore them immediately.

Late last year, Congress allowed federal mandatory emergency paid leave benefits to expire. That left millions of American workers more vulnerable to catching—and spreading—COVID-19. Continue reading

Trickle-down economics doesn’t work but build-up does—is Biden listening?

How should the huge financial costs of the pandemic be paid for, as well as the other deferred needs of society after this annus horribilis? Continue reading

Tackling the infrastructure and unemployment crises: The “American System” solution

A self-funding national infrastructure bank modeled on the “American System” of Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt would help solve not one but two of the country’s biggest problems.

Millions of Americans have joined the ranks of the unemployed, and government relief checks and savings are running out; meanwhile, the country still needs trillions of dollars in infrastructure. Putting the unemployed to work on those infrastructure projects seems an obvious solution, especially given that the $600 or $700 stimulus checks Congress is planning on issuing will do little to address the growing crisis. Various plans for solving the infrastructure crisis involving public-private partnerships have been proposed, but they’ll invariably result in private investors reaping the profits while the public bears the costs and liabilities. We have relied for too long on private, often global, capital, while the Chinese run circles around us building infrastructure with credit simply created on the books of their government-owned banks. Continue reading

Biden says he’ll take on inequality. Good! You need to hold him to it

“It’s time we address the structural inequalities in our economy that the pandemic has laid bare,” President-elect Joe Biden said last week, as he introduced his economic team. Continue reading

Why the Fed needs public banks

The Fed’s policy tools—interest rate manipulation, quantitative easing, and “Special Purpose Vehicles”—have all failed to revive local economies suffering from government-mandated shutdowns. The Fed must rely on private banks to inject credit into Main Street, and private banks are currently unable or unwilling to do it. The tools the Fed actually needs are public banks, which could and would do the job.

On November 20, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that he would not extend five of the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up last spring to bail out bondholders, and that he wanted the $455 billion in taxpayer money back that the Treasury had sent to the Fed to capitalize these SPVs. The next day, Powell replied that he thought it was too soon—the SPVs still served a purpose—but he agreed to return the funds. Both had good grounds for their moves, but as Wolf Richter wrote on WolfStreet.com, “You’d think something earth-shattering happened based on the media hullabaloo that ensued.” Continue reading