Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Long Look In The Mirror

Where Are The Jobs?

Walker may call special jobs session.

I thought he already knew how to create 250,000 jobs?


Jared Bernstein (with the help of Lawrence Mishel) dispels the right-wing talking-point of "uncertainty":
"Larry Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, has an extremely useful piece up collecting all the reasons -- with evidence -- why the conservatives' "uncertainty" talking point is shovel-ready nonsense.
First, "uncertainty" in this context refers to the Republicans argument that it's government and central bank actions -- taxes, regulation, fiscal/monetary policy, health care/financial regulation reforms -- that are holding back the economy, not any of that ill-begotten Keynesian stuff, like lack of customers, orders, investors.


So how might you test for something like that?
Well, what about actual investment?
Investment in the current recovery has increased more than in it had at the same time period in the prior two recoveries and roughly the same as it did during the 1980s recovery [see figure]. In other words, this recovery is far more investment-led than the recovery under the pro-deregulation George W. Bush administration.
Private sector jobs, you ask?
...private sector job growth in this recovery looks much like job growth in recent recoveries, suggesting that businesses are not reacting to a new threat of potential regulations and taxes (the difference with this recovery is actually the loss of public sector jobs.
And then, of course, there's what the business folks, as opposed to their DC reps, actually say about what's bugging them:
...the regular National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) surveys of small businesses found that the most common answer to the question, "what is the single most important problem your business faces?" was "poor sales." And while a number of businesses also cited regulation, the numbers were not substantially higher than under Presidents George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan and were lower than under Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.
None of this is to say "uncertainty" is not a problem. But while conservative politicians are busy jamming their perennial tax cut/deregulate agenda into the current context, the thing that businesses are truly uncertain about is when they're going to start seeing some customers again."

Grilling Season

When a news anchor actually asks pointed questions, or wants explanations for certain actions or policies, it's now considered "grilling".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Corporate Media Masking Reality...Again

Reality Hits You Hard, Bro

Death and Taxes

Warren Wisdom

As usual, Elizabeth Warren is making sense.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."
“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This is a point President Obama should have been making since day one in office.

Middle Class Extermination

Covert Campaign

Shouldn't those investigative watchdogs at the Journal Sentinel be doing a bit more in-depth analysis of the expanding scandal involving our duplicitous governor, Scott Walker?

Fed grants immunity to Walker's former spokesman in ongoing probe.


I don't consider blurbs in the online Newswatch section of the Journal to be "breaking the story". In a search for "Scott Walker" on the Journal Sentinel website, over the past 30 days, only nine "stories" reference the Cindy Archer debacle. I've seen more information (contextually) provided by Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, and Daily Kos.

I am focusing on the online coverage primarily because that is primarily where people get their news. I've seen a couple of the nine "stories" alongside the headline story on the front page of the print edition. But, isn't the possible headline of "Corruption in the governor's mansion" as important as "Brewer's clinch division"? Yes, I'm being somewhat picky and this is essentially a matter of scale. But maybe because our news focuses on sports and the sideshow more than the substantive stuff, this is why our democracy is in shambles and we no longer focus on shared prosperity, how we ought to live, and matters of quality of life.

Walker has a history of poor decisions and dubious tactics, especially as county executive. How is this not a daily front-page story of a political tool participating in questionable, and possibly illegal, behavior? This should be the lead story. Not the Brewers. Not Frontier airlines. Not Marquette's new boss. But, the story of our (Journal Sentinel-supported) possibly crooked governor. Which seems kind of important considering the massive agenda and changes he is trying to sweep across Wisconsin.

But that's just my (now, hopefully, explicated) opinion. And, my fault for being brief in my initial one-sentence posting.


It's also interesting to see the Journal Sentinel belittling recall elections. Proactively, it appears, trying to dissuade readers from giving any momentum to the efforts to recall Scott Walker.

News breakers? More like news manipulators and stiflers.

For Further Reading:
An Introduction to Walkergate
Walkergate: Tea-Parties, E-mails and Cronies! Oh My!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Low Tax Truth

One revealing graph which precisely and decisively dismantles the Republican myth of job creation and low taxes.

Lets get back to the good ole' days of higher marginal tax rates, productivity growth alongside wage growth, full employment, and broadly shared prosperity.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hop On The Bus, Gus

An Analysis of the Impact of Proposed 2012 Milwaukee County Transit Service Reductions on Access to Employment.

"The principal finding of this report is that implementation of the entire menu of service cuts proposed by MCTS would result in the loss of bus service to 997 of the 18,292 employers currently served by MCTS, a decline of 5.4 percent. The vast majority of these employers (all but 10 percent) are located in the suburbs. At a minimum, 13,553 jobs in locations currently served by MCTS would become inaccessible by transit."

The Bubble's Remains

According to Calculated Risk, "The value of household real estate has fallen $6.6 trillion from the peak - and is still falling in 2011."

We need more than $775- and $500-billion stimulus initiatives to get the economy back on track.

Privatization Loses Money

Great new study by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). More real-world, empirical evidence that privatization does not save money. We're simply shifting money from good-paying jobs (public sector) for services we need, to low-paying private sector companies that charge more, yet only a select few at the top of the organization share in the majority of the bounty. We're paying more to privatize public sector work based on the MYTH that it's costing us less to have it done by a private organization.

"This report proves otherwise: in fact, it shows that the government actually pays service contractors at rates far exceeding the cost of employing federal employees to perform comparable functions."

"POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services. Specifically, POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates—deemed fair and reasonable—that pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the total compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services."

Weekend Reading

Chile's Privatization Failures
Contracting Out Costs Government Lots Extra
Higher Fees Paid to U.S. Physicians
Historically Low Taxes
The Investor's Dilemma
The Keynes-Hayek Rematch
The Legend of Margaret Thatcher
The Magical World of Voodoo Economists
Painful Medicine
Republican Assault on Post Office and Postal Unions
Studies Cite CEO Pay Cause of Wealth Inequality
U.S. Healthcare Costs High Because Doctor Fees are High
Was Marx Right?
What Caused the Recession of 1937-38?
Why Do Mayors Love Sports Stadiums?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


"There has been a big rise in federal debt, but this has gone along with a collapse in private borrowing, so that overall debt growth has been lower than it was in the pre-crisis years," explains Paul Krugman.

Klein on Social Security

The boring truth about Social Security

There was a long and mostly confused conversation about Social Security during Wednesday night’s GOP debate. But rather than get sidetracked over whether the pension program is a “monstrous lie” (Perry), “a Ponzi scheme” (Perry again), “tyranny” (yep, Perry), “broken” (Cain), or a great system that Americans are being “defrauded out of” (Romney), let’s just go to the numbers.

Over the next 75 years, Social Security’s shortfall is equal to about 0.7 percent of GDP (pdf). If we increase its revenues by that amount -- which could be accomplished by lifting the cap on payroll taxes -- or reduce its benefits by that amount or do some combination of the two, Social Security is back in the black. Here are 30 policy tweaks that could get us there.

Why does Social Security show a shortfall? As Stephen C. Goss, the system’s chief actuary, has written, Social Security projects an imbalance “because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman.” That means there are relatively fewer young people paying for the old people. “Importantly,” Goss continues, “this shortfall is basically stable after 2035.” In other words, we only have to fix Social Security once. After we reform it to take account of modern demographics, the system is set for the foreseeable future.

And that’ That’s what’s needed to fix Social Security. All this talk about it being a “monstrous lie” or “a Ponzi scheme” or “broken” is meant to create a crisis to clear the way for radical changes in Social Security. But if folks want to make radical changes to Social Security, they should just make the argument for their proposed fixes. And good luck to them. But in reality, what’s going to happen is that sometime in the next decade or so, Republicans and Democrats are going to compromise on a package that adjusts Social Security by about 0.7 percent of GDP over the next 75 years.