Links 12/22/16

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

The CFPB has recently become “one of Washington’s most powerful and pugnacious regulators,” as The New York Times reported last month:

The bureau has overhauled mortgage lending rules, reined in abusive debt collectors, prosecuted hundreds of companies and extracted nearly $12 billion from businesses in the form of canceled debts and consumer refunds. In September, it exposed the extent of Wells Fargo’s creation of two million fraudulent customer accounts, igniting a scandal that provoked widespread outrage and toppled the company’s chief executive.

Minimum Wage:

Childhood Poverty:

Inequality:

The wealthy didn’t always take such a big share of the proverbial “pie.” In the 1970s, a decade generally seen as fairly prosperous, the top 1% of Americans earned just over 10% of all U.S. income (i.e. the “pie”).
Over time, the rich became more lucky — or more greedy. Today the top 1% take home more than 20% of all U.S. income.
As the wealthy earned more, someone else in America had to get less. The bottom 50% went from capturing over 20% of national income for much of the 1970s to earning barely 12% today.
The turning point started around 1980, as seen in the graph below. By the mid-1990s, the fortunes of the top 1% were clearly on the rise and those of the bottom half were declining rapidly.

It’s time for the bottom 50% to take back their fair share.

White Collar Crime:

Trade:

Labor:

Policy:

Healthcare:

Links 12/21/16

Preventing Offshoring:

     Congress requires the federal government to favor American-made products when it buys things. But in recent decades, the U.S. has exempted goods produced in countries with which the U.S. has trade agreements from so-called Buy America provisions. As a result, rather than using its purchasing power to give preferential treatment to goods produced domestically, the federal government treats goods manufactured in countries like Mexico and China the same as if they were American-made products.

       Because those elements of trade agreements are enacted through regulatory waivers, Trump can simply scrap the waivers, according to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

     “Trump, were he so inclined, could guarantee a lot more purchase of U.S. manufactured goods ― steel, glass, but also cars, computers, phone systems et cetera ― by getting rid of that waiver. And Congress does not really have anything to do about it,” Wallach said.

Childcare:

Recovery:

2016 Election:

Poverty:

Healthcare:

Democratic Socialism?:

 

 

 

 

Links 12/20/16

The Rigged System for the 1%:

Infrastructure Jobs:

Trade:

Social Security:

Trump explicitly said that he would not cut Social Security benefits if elected. “I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that,” he told a Wisconsin radio station during the primary.

Transition:

Overtime Pay:

Deregulation:

Poverty:

Wages:

2016 Election:

Just three counties – Macomb County, MI; York County, PA and Waukesha County, WI – elected Donald Trump. If those three counties had cast zero votes, Trump would have lost all three states and the election. By the same logic, just three counties re-elected President Obama in 2012: Miami-Dade County, FL; Cuyahoga County, OH and Philadelphia, PA.

White Collar Crimes:

Links 12/18/16

White Collar Crime:

Jobs from Unlikely Industries:

  • Marijuana Industry a Homegrown Source of Job Growth Legalize it in every state. It’s significantly less dangerous than alcohol. The alcohol industry contributes billions to the economy, pays billions in wages, and employs millions. Imagine what a marijuana industry could do.

    The potential growth behind marijuana is incredible. Investment firm Cowen & Co. believes that legal marijuana sales could soar from $6 billion today to $50 billion by 2026. That’s a compound annual growth rate of nearly 24 percent over the next decade. But, the most phenomenal growth can be seen in pot industry employment.

    According to CNBC, the marijuana industry currently employs about 150,000 people nationwide. This figure is, by itself, outstanding. Back in 1994, Dale Gieringer, a doctor working with California NORML, extrapolated the job-creating capacity of the weed industry and settled on a figure of 100,000 jobs if the drug were legalized nationally. We’ve only seen recreational pot legalized in a handful of states, and medical cannabis was only legal in half of all U.S. states heading into the November elections, yet we’re already 50 percent above Gieringer’s forecast with full legalization from a little over two decades ago.

Energy:

Labor Violations:

  • Apple Owes $2 Million for Not Giving Meal Breaks I used to work at a company in CT where they would give you a paid half hour “break” during an eight hour shift where you weren’t allowed to eat or leave your desk. When I asked if this was legal since CT requires a 30 minute meal period for any shift over 7 1/2 hours, it turns out it technically was. If an employer provided a paid 30 minute “break,” they didn’t need to provide a meal period. I’m assuming whoever drafted this exception didn’t think you would be forbidden from eating on a “break.” The company was “generous” enough to waive this policy for a diabetic coworker. The rest of us were just required to not eat for eight hours.

Poverty:

Affordable Housing:

Misinformed Citizens:

Inequality:

Quality of Life:

Worker Cooperatives:

Better Manufacturing Jobs in the US:

  • CNN Host’s Attempt to Explain the U.S. Economy Was So Bad that I Started Yelling at the TV Germany would be a great example to look to for manufacturing jobs.

    Ever Hear of Germany?

    Instead of regurgitating meaningless economic platitudes, newscasters and pundits should confront some facts about Germany’s extensive manufacturing sector.

    Fact #1: Germany uses the most advanced technologies in the world.

    Fact #2: Manufacturing workers in Germany earn much more than their U.S. counterparts: 44.7% more in textiles, 44.6% more in chemicals, 34.2% more in machine tools, and 66.9% more in the automobile industry.

    Fact #3: Manufacturing jobs make up 22% of the German workforce and account for 21% of the GDP. U.S. manufacturing jobs make up only 11% of our workforce and only 13% of our GDP.

    Fact #4: The economic gods either speak German or the Germans are doing things differently from their U.S counterparts.

    Rather than divine intervention, German manufacturing depends on producing high-quality products that are so good people the world over are willing to pay a premium for them. The most sought-after, high-end motor vehicles (Mercedes, BMW, Audi) and kitchen appliances (Bosch, Miele) are produced by German companies using highly trained, well-paid workers and the most advanced technologies.

    The German manufacturing juggernaut depends on vast investments in innovation (by their government), in research and development (by their firms), and in worker education and training (by both the government and the firms).

Jobs:

Universal Basic Income:

Helping the Homeless:

Debtors’ Prisons:

Links 12/17/16

Fair Elections:

  • Time to Fire FBI Director James Comey If he’s not fired, future campaigns will convince public officials to improperly influence elections again. Since it worked, it will be copied. This was a blatant abuse of his power and a violation of the Hatch Act. Giuliani and everyone in the FBI who was in on it needs to be investigated.

National Security:

2016 Election:

Minimum Wage:

Retirement Insecurity:

Income Inequality:

Price Fixing:

Obamacare:

Women’s Voices Being Heard:

Jobs:

Transition Team:

Offshoring:

Poverty:

Wealth Gap:

Links 12/15/16

2016 Election:

  • Bernie Sanders: Donald Trump Won Because People are Tired of the Same Old Politically Correct Rhetoric Sander’s definition of politically correct rhetoric in this case is definitely different than the most common usage of the term (which is more specifically about language that avoids putting marginalized groups at a disadvantage.) If he wants to contribute to changing that term, great. I’d rather that term evolve into a pejorative to describe inauthentic, poll-tested talking points than be a pejorative for language that avoids further marginalizing the less powerful.However, it would really be more accurate to say that many voters, rightly or wrongly, viewed Trump as more “authentic” and that contributed to his win.

    What is traditionally considered PC rhetoric is fine with the American people if they think someone actually means what they’re saying. Sanders is a prime example. He is much more popular than the politically incorrect Trump, yet Sanders’ statements about minority groups and women could be considered very politically correct.

    In my opinion, Trump won for three primary reasons: his ability to resonate with Rust Belt voters on the economy, James Comey’s violation of the Hatch Act, and failures on the part of the Clinton campaign. You could also throw in the fact that Trump’s more charismatic than Clinton, although he’s considered extremely unlikeable by the majority of the American public.

Inequality:

Minimum Wage:

Wealth Inequality:

  • Black Wealth in the Age of Trump Lots of interesting perspectives. Race played a role in this election, but I don’t think identity politics gave Trump his win. He eked out those electoral college victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by turning voters who had voted for Obama in the previous election.

The Forgotten Rural Poor:

The Failure of the Democratic Party to Speak for the Working and Middle Classes:

White Collar Crime:

Unjustified Executive Compensation:

  • Obscene Pay Inequality Bad for Workers and Economy “Obscene CEO pay has been a major part of the story. In the 1960s, the typical CEO of a big corporation made 20 times what the average worker made. Now, it’s hundreds of times… The tax code is often used to encourage behavior we want to see….If shareholders realize that inequitable pay scales are reducing their after-tax profits, they will pay their CEO’s less and their regular workers a little more.” Good luck!

Links 12/14/16

Jobs:

  • When Trump Meets Tech Leaders, Jobs will be on the Agenda
  • Ahead of Trump’s Tech Summit, CEO Says IBM Will Add 25,000 Jobs in the U.S.
  • IBM’S Rometty to Urge Trump to Support Worker Retraining New collar jobs are important. Too many jobs in recent years have been temporary jobs with no future. Permanent jobs in thriving industries are imperative.

    IBM plans to invest $1 billion in retraining and developing its U.S. workers over the next four years, Rometty says. To improve the situation nationwide, she will tout the benefits of reauthorizing the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. That legislation, currently held up in the Senate, funnels funding for technical and vocation education and could help with worker retraining for “new collar” jobs.

  • Pending Legislation Would Unite Schools and Employers
  • White Collar Crime:

  • Elizabeth Warren Investigating Sales of Prudential Insurance Policies by Wells Fargo
  • Good for her and Rep. Cummings.

  • The Psychology of White Collar Criminals
  • Offshoring:

  • Trump’s Threat Damps Companies’ Plans to Move U.S. Jobs Abroad
  • Infrastructure Jobs:

  • Trump, Carrier, and Corporate Welfare
  • The Carrier deal, though, provides an opening to press for policies that truly would generate well-paying jobs. The billions spent on subsidies would be far more wisely devoted to schools, roads, and mass transit. Such expenditures would create work immediately, and in the process build the environment that businesses, large and small, require to thrive. In your state and your hometown, take a good look at what constitutes “economic development,” and demand that these dollars be spent for the public good.

    On the national scale Trump says he wants infrastructure spending. Let’s hold him to that, but fight for government investments that strengthen communities, rather than phony “public-private partnerships.”

    We can curb corporate greed rather than reward it. Bernie Sanders called for penalizing those corporations that outsource jobs by ending their subsidies, cancelling their government contracts, and increasing their taxes. Trump has pledged “retribution”against American companies that move jobs elsewhere; if he means that, he should sign on to Sanders’ legislation. All Democrats should too.

  • Reviving America’s Infrastructure is a Job our Nation Can Accomplish
  • Corporate Media:

  • Bernie Sanders’ New Book Takes Corporate Media to Task
  • “Over 90 percent of media coverage [during the 2016 presidential race] was not about the issues that impact your lives,” he said, citing “a variety of studies.”

    Instead, he continued, the stories “were about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. They were about political gossip. They were about polls. They were about fundraising. They were about stupid things that people said 20 years ago. What we must demand of a media is that they start covering the issues that impact our lives. Not just the candidates’ lives.”

    Poverty:

  • Digital Redlining: How Internet Service Providers Promote Poverty
  • Unjustified CEO Compensation:

  • Why Portland’s Tax on CEO Pay Matters
  • Education:

  • The American Dream is Under Threat. Can Higher Education Save It?
  • 2016 Election:

  • Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t
  • Bernie on Why Trump Won: There’s a Lot of Pain in This Country
  • Healthcare:

  • Warren Says Democrats Didn’t Go Far Enough with Obamacare