Browsing articles in "Articles"
Oct 18, 2012

Time to pick the right winners

Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) writes on winners and losers in U.S. energy policy:

It is not about whether government is picking winners and losers, because clearly government has been doing just that for years, with the fossil fuel and nuclear industries being the big winners. What is necessary to reverse global warming and create jobs is that we pick the right winners – the technologies that will transform our energy system and protect the environment.

Read his take here.

Oct 11, 2012

Pick your favorite corporate tax loophole

Chris Parker writes in the Village Voice:

From 2008 to 2010, at least 30 Fortune 500 companies—including PepsiCo, Verizon, Wells Fargo, and DuPont—paid more for lobbyists than they did in taxes. They collectively spent $476 million sucking up to Congress, buying protection for tax breaks, loopholes, and special subsidies.

It didn’t matter that these same 30 firms brought home a staggering $164 billion in profit during that three-year period. They not only managed to avoid paying taxes, but they also actually received $10.6 billion in rebates.

Welcome to the U.S. tax code, where companies like General Electric and Boeing contribute less to the federal treasury than a retired machinist living in Florida.

Check out his top ten corporate tax loopholes here.

Oct 8, 2012

Talking sense on the nation’s balance sheet

Mattea Kramer of the National Priorities Project writes:

Ironically, those in Washington arguing for urgent deficit reduction claim that we’ve got to do it “for the kids,” that we must stop saddling our grandchildren with mountains of federal debt. But if your child turns 18 and finds her government running a balanced budget in an America that’s hollowed out, an America where she has no chance of paying for a college education, will she celebrate?

Read her guide to what’s missing from the presidential debates here.

Oct 7, 2012

The cancer lobby

Big Chem is worried about your health – excuse me, worried about you worrying about your health – writes Nicholas Kristof in today’s Times:

Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat.


Read about the cancer lobby’s effort to suppress the National Institutes of Health’s updated Report on Carcinogens here.

Oct 7, 2012

“One dollar, one vote”

Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz writes on revealed preference in our political system:

President George W. Bush claimed that we did not have enough money for health insurance for poor American children, costing a few billion dollars a year. But all of a sudden we had $150 billion to bail out AIG, the insurance company. That shows that something is wrong with our political system. It is more akin to “one dollar, one vote” than to “one person, one vote.”

Read the whole interview here.

Oct 6, 2012

One nation under Wall Street

Robert Scheer, writing in Truthdig, applauds Sheila Bair’s new book:

If you want a compelling-if-unintended reason to loathe the two-party choice, check out the new book “Bull by the Horns” by former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. Her principled but ultimately futile effort to check the overwhelming power of the Wall Street lobby under both Republican and Democratic administrations indelibly documents the hoax that now passes for our representative democracy.

Read his take on the first presidential debate here.

Aug 21, 2012

Justice for all who can pay for it

Reviewing Joe Stiglitz’s new book, The Price of Inequality, Thomas Edsall pulls this quote:

America has become a country not ‘with justice for all,’ but rather with favoritism for the rich and justice for those who can afford it — so evident in the foreclosure crisis.


Read his review here.

Aug 8, 2012

Time for real job creation

Econ4’s Juliet Schor calls for getting real to create jobs for youth:

It is not surprising to learn that last year’s class suffered the highest level of stress on record, according to an annual survey of college freshmen taken over the past quarter century.

One reason the situation is so bad in the US is that nearly all the burden of adjustment since 2008 has been to lay people off, rather than share hours, as was done in Europe.

Read more here.

Jul 31, 2012

Know your climate’s enemy

Bill McKibben breaks down the “new math” of global warming:

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn….

Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.

Read it here.

Jul 24, 2012


Does “Too Big To Fail” also mean Too Big To Regulate?

Gretchen Morgenson talks with Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general for TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program) about his new book, Bailout:

“So much of what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank is it trusts the regulators to be completely immune to the corrupting influences of the banks,” he said in the interview. “That’s so unrealistic. Congress has to take a meat cleaver to these banks and not trust regulators to do the job with a scalpel.”

Finally, Mr. Barofsky joins the ranks of those who believe that another crisis is likely because of the failed response to this one. “Incentives are baked into the system to take advantage of it for short-term profit,” he said. “The incentives are to cheat, and cheating is profitable because there are no consequences.”

Read her piece here.

Meanwhile Gar Alperovitz finds a surprising source of support for nationalization of banks that are TBTF and TBTR:

Most liberals in Washington — President Obama included — keep hoping the banks can be more tightly controlled but otherwise left as is. That’s the theory behind the two-year-old Dodd-Frank law, which Republicans and Wall Street are still working to eviscerate.

Some economists in and around the University of Chicago, who founded the modern conservative tradition, had a surprisingly different take: When it comes to the really big fish in the economic pond, some felt, the only way to preserve competition was to nationalize the largest ones, which defied regulation.

Read his column here.