Sep 15, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on What could a democratized economy look like?

What could a democratized economy look like?

Econ4’s Gar Alperovitz describes a pluralist commonwealth – an alternative to the concentration of wealth and power:

Source: The Democracy Collaborative.

Sep 13, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Plutocracy vs. democracy

Plutocracy vs. democracy

Bill Moyers on the need for a level playing field and real democracy:

In May, President Obama and I both spoke at the Rutgers University commencement ceremony.  He was at his inspirational best as 50,000 people leaned into every word.  He lifted the hearts of those young men and women heading out into our troubled world, but I cringed when he said, “Contrary to what we hear sometimes from both the left as well as the right, the system isn’t as rigged as you think…”

Wrong, Mr. President, just plain wrong. The people are way ahead of you on this.  In a recent poll, 71% of Americans across lines of ethnicity, class, age, and gender said they believe the U.S. economy is rigged.  People reported that they are working harder for financial security.  One quarter of the respondents had not taken a vacation in more than five years.  Seventy-one percent said that they are afraid of unexpected medical bills; 53% feared not being able to make a mortgage payment; and, among renters, 60% worried that they might not make the monthly rent.

Millions of Americans, in other words, are living on the edge.  Yet the country has not confronted the question of how we will continue to prosper without a workforce that can pay for its goods and services….

The religion of inequality — of money and power — has failed us; its gods are false gods.  There is something more essential — more profound — in the American experience than the hyena’s appetite.  Once we recognize and nurture this, once we honor it, we can reboot democracy and get on with the work of liberating the country we carry in our hearts.

Read his powerful essay, “We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People,” here.

Sep 7, 2016
boyce

Selling the free market

A “Grassroots Leadership Academy” bankrolled by the Koch brothers seeks to spread the free-market gospel:

One of the sessions, called the “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” teaches attendees to argue that “a turn away from fossil fuel use would ultimately be disastrous to humanity — especially the poorest of the poor.”

Read more here.

Jul 13, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Wasted: The high cost of laissez-screw finance

Wasted: The high cost of laissez-screw finance

What has the flawed financial system cost the U.S. economy? Here’s your receipt:

Overcharged-Promo-Graphic-1

Read the accounting by Econ4’s Jerry Epstein together with Juan Montecino here. Excerpt follows:

A healthy financial system is one that channels finance to productive investment, helps families save for and finance big expenses such as higher education and retirement, provides products such as insurance to help reduce risk, creates sufficient amounts of useful liquidity, runs an efficient payments mechanism, and generates financial innovations to do all these useful things more cheaply and effectively. All of these functions are crucial to a stable and productive market economy. But after decades of deregulation, the current U.S. financial system has evolved into a highly speculative system that has failed rather spectacularly at performing these critical tasks.

What has this flawed financial system cost the U.S. economy? How much have American families, taxpayers, and businesses been “overcharged” as a result of these questionable financial activities? In this report, we estimate these costs by analyzing three components: (1) rents, or excess profits; (2) misallocation costs, or the price of diverting resources away from non-financial activities; and (3) crisis costs, meaning the cost of the 2008 financial crisis.

 

Jul 6, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Inflation: whose bogeyman?

Inflation: whose bogeyman?

Why has fighting inflation so often trumped other economic objectives? Econ4’s Jerry Epstein breaks it down:

Source: The Real News Network.

Read an interview with Jerry Epstein on inflation here.

Read second thoughts at the IMF here.

Jun 22, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Labor markets: why “flexibility” is not all it’s cracked up to be

Labor markets: why “flexibility” is not all it’s cracked up to be

For years lamestream economics has touted “labor market flexibility” – a euphemism for making it easier for employers to dismiss workers – as the best recipe for job creation. Guess what? It turns out that countries whose policies make labor markets more supportive for workers – including better wages, better benefits and better job security – are doing better at job creation. The evidence prompts a New York Times reporter to ask:

What if the very thing that is often viewed as one of the United States’ sources of dynamism — flexible labor markets — is the driving force behind the economy’s greatest weakness: millions of people who are neither working nor looking for a job?

Read more here.

Jun 16, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on The Unequal States of America

The Unequal States of America

A new interactive website from the Economic Policy Institute compares the one percent and everyone else in the U.S. – by state and by county:

EPI

Check out the numbers for your state here.

May 10, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Funny numbers: counting unemployment

Funny numbers: counting unemployment

In this “Economics for the Rest of Us” podcast, Diptherio breaks down the peculiar ways “unemployment” is measured by the U.S. government. Check it out here.

Diptherio visual

Apr 22, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Economic orthodoxy: where vision goes to die

Economic orthodoxy: where vision goes to die

Econ4’s Gerald Friedman laments the blindness of orthodox economics:

When I conducted an assessment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals and found that they could produce robust growth, the negative reaction among powerful liberal economists was swift and vehement. How much, I wondered, did this reflect personal disappointment being rationalized into a political economy of despair? Professional economists tend to embrace an economic theory that government can do little more than fuss around the edges. From that stance, what do they have to offer ordinary people for whom the economy is not working? Not a whole lot.

Read Friedman’s full piece here.

PS: The debate on the Sanders proposals between Friedman and his critics is recapped here and here.

Apr 9, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Funny business

Funny business

Brought to you by Citizens for Tax Justice:

Read more here.

CTJ

 

 

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