Archive for June, 2011

June 20, 2011

SCOTUS Sides with Business Again

I know we probably shouldn’t expect much more from the Roberts court, but they just ruled on a case that will have far-ranging ramifications for class-action lawsuits.  Alternet has the deets.

June 20, 2011

385%

385%.  That’s how much the incomes of the top 1% has grown since the 1970’s.   Compare that to the 1% decline in the average income for everyone in the bottom 90%.

June 14, 2011

The Shadow Congress

Talking Points Memo has put up a handy map detailing the ‘revolving door’ between public office and corporate lobbying.  Check it out.

June 13, 2011

Obama Taking a Walk Down Financial Street

Obama is beginning to reach out to our nation’s most affluent recipients of federal welfare, according to this NYT article.  I guess that this makes sense, considering the fact that his new Chief-of-Staff is a former Chase executive.

Problem is, many don’t seem too keen on continuing their support.  This is despite the fact that the financial industry made over a record $61 billion in 2009 and nearly $20 billion in 2010.

Behold, the mechanism behind the ever-increasing corporate influence on our elected officials.  Money speaks with a voice that drowns out popular protests and votes.

June 10, 2011

Surprise, Surprise: Our Economy Still Sucks!

Gas prices are up because of questionable speculation practices and Wall Street is still deregulated. The national debt is up because of huge tax cuts to corporations and the rich, and unemployment is up because the middle class and its purchasing power are being eliminated. Yet, government seemed surprised when recent job numbers were released.

Well, of course.

We no longer have a capitalist economy. The US economy is now controlled by centralized corporate monopolies. These conglomerates have been slowly reducing the rights of workers by funding politicians, and have over time reduced our purchasing power. At first, husband and wife solved this problem by both getting a job. But wages kept decreasing. Next, families started borrowing money: credit cards, loans and mortgages. But, wages kept going down. Now, corporate-funded government wants to reduce social safety nets, teachers, researchers, and students, while banks and health insurance companies continue to make record profits.

Trickle-down economic theory is clearly not very predictive of reality. Even though profit margins have been through the roof, jobs continue to be slashed. If we don’t increase purchasing power and strengthen the middle class, the economy will not get better. Period. However, government refuses to introduce legislation that would empower the middle class.

These huge and powerful corporations have a legal duty to make profit for their shareholders. That’s it. They will continue to make a profit until American workers are treated like those in China. Let’s return to 12-hour workdays for a few cents a day. Maybe we should allow child labor again so that we can stay competitive!

Until we stop the downward spiral of corporate power and control, our economy will not get better. It just won’t. Our job numbers will remain low, unemployment high, and education underfunded. Yet, politicians keep pretending that everything will just magically get better with time. We the people need to take back control of our government and cut the many corporate strings that are destroying our economy.

June 8, 2011

Regulations Needed: Businesses Too Short-Sighted to Make Good Decisions for USA.

Elizabeth Warren’s work on consumer credit has inspired the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which aims to protect citizens from financial scams by better informing them. Not only does the CFPB aim to protect the consumer, but it also intends to help business. However, like a child with little long-term thinking, businesses don’t appear to understand what is needed for their own success.

History shows that consumer protections have vastly increased business revenue, even when those businesses unsuccessfully tried to fight the legislation in fear that it would decrease their profits. For example, the meatpacking industry hated the Meat Inspection Act of 1906, and tried to get in the way of its passage. However, the Act ended up rescuing the industry from destruction after “The Jungle” exposed its corruption. In addition, the SEC was originally thought to destroy Wall Street, but instead made the US stock market the strongest and most trusted stock market in the world.

Given our current extreme partisan political landscape, you can bet that businesses are again predicting doom as a result of Warren’s suggested changes – and are demonizing her and painting her as a liberal radical. But to the contrary, her ideas are time-tested, sensible, and pragmatic.  Luckily, the people have been standing strong behind Warren. Over the last few weeks around 250,000 people have signed an online petition asking President Obama to nominate Warren as leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We need to keep up this fight!

Warren’s principles center around the economic theory that well-informed consumers create more competition and more efficient markets. Currently, mortgage and credit-card agreements are filled with legalese and important numbers are obscured by irrelevant information. As a result, borrowers don’t understand how much they are actually paying, and so competition is unable to provide a better deal to the consumer. Let me say that again: because the true information has been made so confusing and hidden, competing companies cannot offer better deals because we wouldn’t understand that they ARE better deals – as we don’t even understand the deal we currently have. This then pushes competitors to only offer the same type of horrible deals since they are more easily advertised (such as teaser APRs or no money down). However, both consumer and banking institutions would actually benefit from credit cards that had higher up-front costs but lower penalties. If people were provided with clear and simple information about what they were signing up for, they would understand this and be able to make more sensible choices. This is exactly what Warren’s mission is.

Read more here.

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