Sunday, October 31, 2010

Middle Class Collapse: Economic Disaster Warning **Stop Outsourcing Now**No Jobs in America?** Troubling Questions for Electorate - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Another youngster enjoying the Halloween decorations in the public library. (Click on the photo for the full effect - sorry about the lighting!) So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid. - Paul Krugman

The Existentialist Cowboy warns us: Don't Believe the Pundits: It's Not Over 'Til It's Over!"

And the mail-in ballots are running heavily in favor of the Democrats!

Preemptive Strikes?

Like that new NBC (where Leno's revival fell flat on its face recently) TV show, "Outsourced?" Funny, eh? They hope you'll like it, but wait'll it happens to you (if it hasn't already). You'll have lots of time then to watch stoopid TV shows that make light of your futureless lives.

I know of which I speak as I was outsourced in the 90's move by major engineering and manufacturing businesses to bring the cheap H-1B's (who couldn't demand benefits or health care coverage) over here and move the good jobs over there.

Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.

Not a single news organization reported this data when it was released October 15, searches of Google and the Nexis databases show. Nor did any blog, so the citizen journalists and professional economists did no better than the newsroom pros in reporting this basic information about our economy.

The new data hold important lessons for economic growth and tax policy and take on added meaning when examined in light of tax return data back to 1950.

The story the numbers tell is one of a strengthening economic base with income growing fastest at the bottom until, in 1981, we made an abrupt change in tax and economic policy. Since then the base has fared poorly while huge economic gains piled up at the very top, along with much lower tax burdens.

A weak foundation cannot properly support a massive superstructure, as the leaning Tower of Pisa shows. The latest wage data show the disastrous results some of us warned about, although like the famous tower, the economy only lists badly and has not collapsed.

Talk about scary Halloween creatures. The latest wage data will knock your socks off. And long-term prospects for good jobs or being able to pay your bills on time in order not to be foreclosed upon soon?


Scary New Wage Data

October 25, 2010 As Bernie Sanders travels around Vermont, he hears from working people and those struggling to find jobs. The real life stories are reflected in a new report by Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston. Total wages fell 5 percent from when the economy peaked, he reported. Wages fell in 2009 for all Americans except those at the very top, who saw a five-fold leap in income. Analyzing government data virtually ignored by mainstream media, Johnston blamed the recession, of course. Another culprit he identified is so-called "free trade," which he called "nothing more than tax-subsidized mechanisms that encourage American manufacturers to close factories, fire workers, and use cheap labor in China." Stop Outsourcing Now Millions of manufacturing jobs were lost and 42,000 American factories closed since 2001. When Congress reconvenes, Bernie plans to introduce legislation to stop American companies that outsource jobs overseas from receiving corporate welfare.

Reversing the Slide in Manufacturing

. . . "During the Bush years, Vermont lost more than 14,000 manufacturing jobs, about one-third of all manufacturing jobs in the state. These were jobs that paid people a living wage often with health care and other benefits," Sanders said Tuesday.

Creating Jobs Again

“As most Americans know, our rail lines, roads, bridges, culverts, water systems, wastewater plants, airports and schools need an enormous amount of work,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “In my view, it is far more important to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of jobs than give tax breaks to people who just don’t need it.”

When Congress reconvenes, Sanders said he plans to introduce legislation to use the $700 billion that would otherwise be used to extend tax cuts for the wealthy “in a much more sensible way.” The tax cuts on households that earn more than $250,000 a year are set to expire on Dec. 31.

“Instead of continuing the tax breaks for the rich, my legislation will require that we use roughly half of that revenue to reduce our national debt and roughly half of that money to rebuild our deteriorating infrastructure,” he said. Sanders would keep in place the tax relief for 98 percent of American households that earn less than $250,000 each year.

My favorite thinker and very fine political reporter par excellence (Russ Baker) over at WhoWhatWhy? has a few pertinent questions for us before the next election (and I'm not questioning a vote for the Democratic candidates by publishing this thoughtful essay as the first step in any winning strategy is to defeat the forces of outright thuggery, just saying that we should think carefully about who/what the candidates are and what they have brought us/will bring to us in the future). Beware of Blue Dogs (from all directions)!

The fine folks at Swiftspeech have the ultimate election issue to consider before you vote.

Who Is Working Hardest To Destroy Democracy?

Al Qaeda Brotherhood or

Koch Brothers?

Seems like an easy question from here.

How many Al Qaeda operatives have you seen . . . really?

The Earth-Bound Misfit (who knew she was French?) has the ultimate " J'accuse!" at her blog.

The English one appears below.


October 28, 2010

It is impossible to overestimate the significance of leaks from the military to the media, particularly to Bob Woodward and his paper, the Washington Post. Quite a few of these have dogged President Obama and forced his hand since he took office (for more on the subject, see this, this and this.)

Now comes yet another leak to the Post, this time en masse, that should not be taken at face value. That is, it is not the purported news being conveyed, but the very fact that it is being conveyed, the nature of the sources conveying it, and the intended result. The article begins like this:

An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan . . . . Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Few will stop to wonder that most basic of things: Why would these officials be telling the Post this? Would they really just, on their own, talk about such things, despite the inherent danger in doing so, were it truly unauthorized internally?

A few paragraphs later, if we’re still paying careful attention, we get the meat:

The Obama administration’s plan to conduct a strategic review of the war in December has touched off maneuvering between U.S. military leaders seeking support for extending the American troop buildup and skeptics looking for arguments to wind down the nation’s role.

Thus, the story is not necessarily what was in the lead paragraph, namely the purported news that the offensive is not immediately bearing fruit. It is that there is a power struggle going on at high levels in Washington that will determine whether or not the U.S. stays in Afghanistan indefinitely.

. . . Among the troubling findings is that Taliban commanders who are captured or killed are often replaced in a matter of days. Insurgent groups that have ceded territory in Kandahar and elsewhere seem content to melt away temporarily, leaving behind operatives to carry out assassinations or to intimidate villagers while waiting for an opportunity to return.

U.S. officials said Taliban operatives have adopted a refrain that reflects their focus on President Obama’s intent to start withdrawing troops in the middle of next year. Attributing the words to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, officials said, operatives tell one another, “The end is near.”

The chilling implication, similar to that in Vietnam so many years ago, is that the US simply must commit to the long haul or risk the worst. It is a preemptive strike against Obama’s upcoming strategic review. Namely, why bother to hear what Obama has to say, when it has already been said? And it raises this question: if an elected president is truly in control, then why are “US military and intelligence officials” going around doing their own thing?

Happy Halloween!

Suzan _______________

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