By Staff of Popular Resistance – There’s a reason we ended up with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and we ALMOST ended up with a Labor Secretary in Andy Puzder who prefers robots to humans. The answer is simple: We, the taxpayer, have always subsidized the costs of corporations to slowly kill us while making the pockets of corporate CEOs fatter. A closer look at fast food production in this country shows exactly that. Animal agriculture industries, such as factory farming, that contribute to us eating those artery clogging cheeseburgers come at the added expense of increased water and air pollution. We are paying the price for this environmental destruction literally and figuratively.
By Charles Hugh Smith for Information Clearing House – February 15, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Our extraordinary misallocation of national treasure and political power has set a banquet of consequences that few are willing to face, much less address head-on. If we had to sum up this vast misallocation, we might start by characterizing it as the result of a multitude of elites playing Empire with money borrowed from future generations. We can start the list of extraordinary misallocations of national treasure with the Neocon’s endless wars of choice. Ten years ago, estimates of the total cost of the Iraq misadventure were $3 trillion: Cost of Iraq War: $3 Trillion; Cost of Solar Plants to Power all 105 million U.S Households: $500 Billion (April 10, 2008) (Yes, I know solar energy is not “the solution” due to intermittency, lack of storage, fossil fuels are needed to build and maintain the solar infrastructure, etc.–but the point is: would we be better off if we’d invested 20% of the money squandered on the Iraq misadventure on alternative energy, even with all its limitations?)
By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. During a CNN Town Hall, Democratic House Rep Nancy Pelosi was caught off guard when a young man told her that more than half of Millennials aren’t exactly fans of capitalism. He had the stats to back it up: A Spring 2016 Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 3,000 Millennials found that 51 percent of them held this view. It’s no surprise this many Millennials shun capitalism given their massive student loan debts and difficulty in finding high paying jobs and affordable housing, among other struggles. But when he asked her if Dems could go farther left of right-wing views on capitalism, Pelosi’s reply only proves that her party needs to acknowledge how capitalism is destroying the world and its future if they want any hope of appealing to what could become one of the largest voting blocs in America. Lee Camp digs into Pelosi’s faux pas and more on the latest episode of Redacted Tonight.
By Pete Dolack for Left Voice – Now that the new Trump administration has officially pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has announced an intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, it might appear as if the global neoliberal order has suffered a pair of blows. We nonetheless can be forgiven for harboring strong doubts that much, if anything, in the realm of global trade will change. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has faced strong popular opposition for years, thanks to the work of activists on both sides of the Pacific, North and South, who labored to drag this secret corporate power grab into the light of day.
By John Broich for The Conversation – A week after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, George Orwell’s “1984” is the best-selling book on Amazon.com. The hearts of a thousand English teachers must be warmed as people flock to a novel published in 1949 for ways to think about their present moment. Orwell set his story in Oceania, one of three blocs or mega-states fighting over the globe in 1984. There has been a nuclear exchange, and the blocs seem to have agreed to perpetual conventional war, probably because constant warfare serves their shared interests in domestic control.
By Naomi Klein for The Intercept – WE ALREADY KNOW that the Trump administration plans to deregulate markets, wage all-out war on “radical Islamic terrorism,” trash climate science and unleash a fossil-fuel frenzy. It’s a vision that can be counted on to generate a tsunami of crises and shocks: economic shocks, as market bubbles burst; security shocks, as blowback from foreign belligerence comes home; weather shocks, as our climate is further destabilized; and industrial shocks, as oil pipelines spill and rigs collapse, which they tend to do, especially when enjoying light-touch regulation. All this is dangerous enough. What’s even worse is the way the Trump administration can be counted on to exploit these shocks politically and economically.
By Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg for Navigating The Storm – On Inauguration Day, we note the considerable range of the opposition to Trump, from traditional activists to very mainstream folks. In many respects the opposition mounted was unprecedented, on a day where patriotic and jingoistic hyperbole is typically concentrated and loudly broadcast more than at any other time, and when, traditionally, new Presidents make appeals to the heart and to democratic unity while all who know how false the claims are, bite their lips, party, and hope for the best. The opposition struggling to find expression is broad and deep. But, nearly all expressions of opposition are resorting to traditional methods of reformist oriented protest while millions of people throughout the United States and the world are discussing and debating how they are going to survive and resist the emerging Presidential regime of Donald Trump
By Josh Hoxie for Inequality.org – At the end of Thomas Piketty’s 2013 blockbuster Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economist makes a compelling case for a global wealth tax. Levying a tax on wealth, Piketty explains, would be a preferable alternative to global war or economic calamity, the only other drivers for a significant redistribution of wealth he could find in the historical record. A global tax on wealth back in 2013 sounded quaint to many seasoned wealth researchers, a nice idea but something destined to go nowhere. The election of Donald J. Trump seemed to only confirm this political assessment.
By byLauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma accused the United States of spending too much money on foreign wars and risky financial speculation and not enough money “on your own people.” The founder of the world’s largest retailer, Alibaba, was addressing a question posed by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin about the U.S. economy in relation to China. In response, Ma said the U.S. should stop blaming other countries and look at its own spending priorities: “It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. You did not distribute the money and things in a proper way.”
By Staff of Waging Nonviolence – Donald Trump didn’t so much win the election as Hillary Clinton lost it. Clinton’s failure to turn out the Democrats’ traditional base on election day should be understood as a catastrophic failure of the Democratic Party establishment to fire up their base by responding to the growing public opposition to neoliberalism. This, in effect, was the key difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries: Sanders named the enemy — increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few under deregulated capitalism — and vowed to confront that power. Hillary Clinton preached a “realism” that simply accepted the ground rules of neoliberalism unchallenged. Compared to Trump’s repeated focus on how the country’s leaders had failed the working class
By Pan Pylas for Associated Press – DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Presenting its findings on the dawn of the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, anti-poverty organization Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago. It’s urging leaders to do more than pay lip-service to the problem. If not, it warns, public anger against this kind of inequality will continue to grow and lead to more seismic political changes akin to last year’s election of Donald Trump…
By Marc Botenga for Spectrezine – How on earth should we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty? If you look today at the European Union, or at the eurozone… what precisely is there to celebrate? Even Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spoke in his recent State of the Union address of an “existential crisis.” I don’t very often agree with him, but on this occasion he’s definitely right. So there’s a crisis. That could not be otherwise, as some of us were already saying 25 years ago. Because, despite all of the promises of a social Europe, discussion here in Maastricht twenty-five years ago had nothing to do with European cooperation meant to improve things for you and me. Powerful lobbying groups such as the European Round Table of Industrialists had prepared the Treaty, elaborated it, rehearsed it.
By Staff of Left East – A: People are speculating all over the world on what the exchange rate will be in the future. They are buying future contracts, and you as a producer are buying in that sense an insurance policy. The production couldn’t go on without this. You know, when the US Congress wanted to put greater restrictions on the banks after the 2008-09 crisis, especially in the trading of derivatives, it was Caterpillar, the biggest American industrial multinational corporation that objected to this, because it would increase its costs in the derivative market. So there is an illusion that finance is not connected to the kind of production we have all over the world. It’s speculative, but every capitalist speculates when he invests.
By Chris Kanthan for Nation of Change. If we want to create a vibrant middle class, we have to abandon slogans and simplistic solutions and understand the bigger picture. There is no doubt that majority of Americans have gotten poorer over the last few decades even while the top 10% or so have done extremely well. In a world of slogans and minuscule attention span, the media and the pundits either completely deny this fact or justify it by focusing on advancements in technology or turn it into a partisan blame game. The reality is that multiple developments contributed to this decline of prosperity, much of it due to deliberate but gradual social and financial engineering. Without assigning ranking or weight, here is a look at twelve major reasons why Americans became poor.