Economic Articles from 2018
Lawsuit Exposes How The Government’s “Justice” System Keeps The Poor, Poor
by Mac Slavo
Posted July 17, 2018
It’s not a secret that government’s want to seize as much from the producers as possible to bloat their power-hungry heads. But a new lawsuit is actually giving the details on just how the government uses the “justice” system to keep the poor in dire states of poverty.
The ACLU of North Carolina, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have slapped the state of North Carolina with a federal lawsuit over the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses over unpaid tickets.
However, this is a national problem not limited to North Carolina and stems from law enforcement looking to extort money for victimless crimes, and having the state in charge of driver’s licenses. In fact, a Washington Post report from earlier this month found that over 7 million people around the country may have had their licenses revoked for traffic debt-related reasons, although that number could be much higher. It’s just another way that both law enforcement and the justice department, as a whole, kneecaps the poor. More…
Chase Says It’s Fighting Climate Change. So Why Is It Financing the Fossil Fuel Industry?
By Kate Aronoff
Posted July 11, 2018
JPMorgan Chase (“Chase”) talks a big game on climate change. The Wall Street bank has committed to becoming entirely reliant on renewable energy by 2020, and facilitating $200 billion in clean financing—of low-carbon fuel sources—by 2025. “Business must play a leadership role in creating solutions that protect the environment and grow the economy,” CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement announcing the pledge last summer.
As protesters at the company’s Texas shareholder meeting last week pointed out, Chase is leading on an entirely different front: financing fossil fuel infrastructure. There have been ongoing efforts over the last several years for universities and pension funds to drop their investments in fossil fuels. Activists fighting mountaintop removal coal mining successfully targeted banks like PNC to stop financing the practice, and the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline spawned its own push against Bank of America.
This most recent wave of energy in the fossil fuel divestment movement—targeting banks’ financing of fossil fuel infrastructure, in particular—was spurred by the momentum generated in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). More…
Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement
by Phoenix Goodman
Posted July 10, 2018
Something big is starting to happen in the world of activism. Grassroots campaigns are beginning to coalesce into coherent, focused missions with definable outcomes.
The Divest campaign is a classic example of how the People can have a tangible effect on society by speaking the language of the dominating classes: money.
Divestment is what it sounds like: removing public investments from corporate institutions, and repurposing them into organizations which will benefit the common good. This means leveraging the collective will through mass individual actions to force the perpetrators of corrupt and unscrupulous behavior to directly lose profits; in essence, to divest is to boycott. More…
The Long Death of America’s Middle Class
By Nick Giambruno
Posted July 5, 2018
The late 1950s was the golden age of America’s middle class. This isn’t nostalgia talking. The US really did have robust Main Streets and thriving small businesses. Around then, a husband could support his family on an average income. He and his wife likely owned their own home, as well as their car. They had multiple children—and didn’t think much of the cost of having more. Plus, they had money to save.
Compare that to the average family today. Both spouses likely have to work—whether they want to or not—just to afford the same basic lifestyle. In 1959, the median annual salary for a US high school teacher was $5,276, according to the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, the median US home value was $9,627, according to the US Census Bureau.
That means a teacher made enough money each year to cover over half of the price of a middle-class home. Or 55%, to be exact. Take a minute and think… How does your annual income compare to the price of your home? I’d bet many people make far less than 55%. Today, the median purchase price of a US home is $241,700. To maintain the 1959 income-to-home price ratio, a high school teacher would need to make $132,935 annually. Of course, the average high school teacher doesn’t make nearly that much. Not even close. He or she makes around $48,290—just enough to cover 36% of the median home price. More…
An Empire of Nothing at All. The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell
By Tom Engelhardt
Posted July 3, 2018
As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America’s war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.
Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably — in these years, almost uniquely — bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.”
That’s not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them — the denizens of the national security state — ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We’re talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex, and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure. More…
Match Made in Hell: Bayer-Monsanto Partnership Signals Death Knell for Humanity
by Robert Bridge
Posted July 3, 2018
On what plane of reality is it possible that two of the world’s most morally bankrupt corporations, Bayer and Monsanto, can be permitted to join forces in what promises to be the next stage in the takeover of the world’s agricultural and medicinal supplies?
Warning, plot spoiler: There is no Mr. Hyde side in this horror story of epic proportions; it’s all Dr. Jekyll. Like a script from a David Lynch creeper, Bayer AG of poison gas fame has finalized its $66 billion (£50bn) purchase of Monsanto, the agrochemical corporation that should be pleading the Fifth in the dock on Guantanamo Bay instead of enjoying what amounts to corporate asylum and immunity from crimes against humanity. Such are the special privileges that come from being an above-the-law transnational corporation.
Unsurprisingly, the first thing Bayer did after taking on Monsanto, saddled as it is with the extra baggage of ethic improprieties, was to initiate a rebrand campaign. Like a Hollywood villain falling into a crucible of molten steel only to turn up later in some altered state, Monsanto has been subsumed under the Orwellian-sounding ‘Bayer Crop Science’ division, whose motto is: “Science for a better life.” More…
Corporations Masquerading as Government in Australia & World Wide
by Andy Whiteley
Posted July 1, 2018
Would you be surprised to find a company with the same name as your country registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington DC?
Well, guess what?! Among those listed as corporate entities by the United States SEC are Israel, Turkey, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, The Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Jamaica, South Africa, Canada, Australia… and my personal favourite (and I quote) “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp.”
Interesting! So what could all this mean? For the purpose of this article we will follow the example of Australia. More…
A Cashless Society Looms: Cui Bono?
by Virginia Fidler
Posted June 27, 2018
The government, of course, is extremely interested in your spending habits. The taxing authorities use an electronic money trail to monitor your spending and ensure against tax evasion. In addition, cards save the government the cost and trouble of printing and storing additional currency.
Your electronic purchase trail is nirvana to large corporations. Knowing your spending habits allows them to customize their ads to an ever-larger consumer base. They know what you need before you do and are ready to entice you with specials, sales and “act now” deals. More…
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