Economic Articles from 2018

Public Health’s Response to Decline: Loyalty to the 1%

[Social]
Public Health’s Response to Decline: Loyalty to the 1%
by Dan Bednarz
Posted May 17, 2018

!% pprotected from masses by hired policeAmerican institutions are in decline and rife with corruption brought on by a combination of hitting the limits to growth while under the control of neoliberal capitalism. To the extent one deviates from the appearance and demeanor of staid white middle or upper class norms, an encounter with the police in many localities can be dangerous to ones person and pocket. The government’s reaction to the “the most destructive epidemics of elite financial frauds in history” has been to further enrich –rather than jail- financiers, and protection of the banks continues to harm and ruin the lives of millions of citizens. Higher education is embroiled in several scandals, from encouraging students to take out usurious loans few will able to retire, to the exploitation of adjunct professors, to covering up campus rape cabals. Many Americans are trapped in debt with virtually no possibility of paying it off; trust in government and corporations is at all time lows; and in fashions too lugubrious to list the federal government –and the two major political parties- do not promote the public interest, preferring instead to serve political/economic elites.

In the obscure yet critical institution of public health organizational leadership and academic researchers either blithely ignore or erroneously frame these indicators of cultural decline and corruption as the unfortunate fallout from “The Great Recession.” I suggest these leaders are trapped in a tightening contradiction between the field’s mission, protecting the health of the entire public, and acquiescence to social policies that serve the private interests of the 1%. More…

American Samoa finally gets a public bank. And U.S. states are watching

[Economics]
American Samoa finally gets a public bank. And U.S. states are watching
By Rob Blackwell
Posted May 8, 2018

American Samoa gets its own public bankAmerican Samoa is finally getting its own full-service bank — and successfully creating only the second public bank in the United States.

The Federal Reserve is allowing the Territorial Bank of American Samoa access to the U.S. payments system nearly two years after the bank first applied.

The decision is a boon to the remote U.S. territory in the South Pacific, where more than half of the households are at, near or below the federal poverty level. Officials across the seven islands that comprise American Samoa have been scrambling for a way to maintain local banking services since the Bank of Hawaii announced in 2012 it was leaving the territory.

“It’s a huge deal for the people of American Samoa,” Phil Ware, president of the Territorial Bank, said in an interview. “There hasn’t been a commercial loan made on the island in five years or more.” With the Fed approval, that all changes, he said. More…

How Cooperation Richmond is Empowering Marginalized Communities to Build an Equitable Economy

[Community]
How Cooperation Richmond is Empowering Marginalized Communities to Build an Equitable Economy
By Robert Raymond
Posted May 3, 2018

Mondragon movement success being emulatedLying a few miles south of Marin County and just across the bay from San Francisco, the city of Richmond, California, is situated within two of the wealthiest regions of the United States. Richmond, however, does not share in this wealth. Its downtown has been largely abandoned and its northern periphery is on the front lines of the Chevron Richmond Refinery, processing over 240,000 barrels of crude oil every single day and creating a toxic environment to those living in the surrounding vicinity. It’s an example of what we know as a “sacrifice zone” — a community that has been largely incapacitated by environmental damage and economic neglect.

But in the shadow of the looming refinery, and within the spaces between boarded up storefronts and abandoned lots, something is stirring in Richmond. Residents, organizers, and activists have come together to create an incubation hub for community revitalization and resilience. They call themselves Cooperation Richmond, and their aim is to empower the marginalized and exploited residents of this city to build community-controlled wealth and wellbeing. More…

The Secretive Bank of England

[Economic]
The Secretive Bank of England
by SATRE
Posted April 27, 2018

secretive Bank of EnglandWith the enactment of the privately owned central bank, the Bank of England provided the model for the financial enslavement of governments, and their citizens. Well before the conflict for establishing a National Bank in America or the eventual surrender to the money changers with the betrayal in instituting the Federal Reserve, the history of the Bank of England needs to be studied. Relying on British historians may seem to invoke a cultural bias; however, the range and wealth of information on this topic comes from an earlier age. Further research will expand this understanding and many of the sources cited can fulfill this objective.

Now for most of its history the privately held, Bank of England was extremely profitable to its owners. The method for charging interest on the creation of money has been the prime vehicle for driving both public and private debt throughout modern times.

The entire monitory financial system is based upon charging usury on the creation of national currencies. No larger debtor exists then governments. The perfection of the Rothschild fraud is founded upon charging compound interest on the very medium of exchange that serves as legal tender. More…

The 4 Biggest Banks Have Already Made $2.3 Billion Off Trump’s Tax Law

[Economic]
The 4 Biggest Banks Have Already Made $2.3 Billion Off Trump’s Tax Law
by Eric Levitz
Posted April 25, 2018

Trump tax bill is a windfall for big banksIn Donald Trump’s final campaign ad, the GOP nominee informed America that “those who control the levers of power in Washington” do not “have your good in mind,” as a sign reading Wall St. flickered across the screen. Moments later, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs appeared, cast as an embodiment of the global elite that has “robbed our working class.”

In the first quarter of 2018, President Trump’s signature legislative achievement made America’s four biggest banks $2.3 billion richer, according to a new analysis from The Wall Street Journal.

Last fall, Trump made an “explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected. They can call me all they want; I’m doing the right thing.” In February, House Speaker Paul Ryan boasted that his party’s tax law had given a “secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA” an extra “$1.50 a week” — a windfall that would “more than cover her Costco membership for the year.” More…

From North Dakota to Puerto Rico, Controversial Security Firm Profits From Oil Protests and Climate Disasters

[Economic]
From North Dakota to Puerto Rico, Controversial Security Firm Profits From Oil Protests and Climate Disasters
by Alleen Brown
Posted April 22, 2018

Tiger Swan profits from climate changeTigerSwan, the mercenary security company best known for its efforts to suppress indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access oil pipeline, is stepping up its pursuit of profits in areas hit by climate change-driven natural disaster.

At Standing Rock, TigerSwan operatives hired by the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners used militaristic tactics to disrupt the massive opposition to the project, sending infiltrators into resistance camps, conducting aerial surveillance, and engaging in propaganda efforts. The private security firm routinely coordinated with law enforcement, sharing equipment and intelligence and assisting with arrests. Although preventing water pollution was the Standing Rock movement’s rallying call, many of its organizers were also climate activists; the earliest DAPL opponents were veterans of the anti-Keystone XL pipeline movement, which centered on the harmful climate effects of carbon-intensive tar sands oil.

In essence, TigerSwan has gone from suppressing a movement seeking to slow climate change to marketing itself as a company that can help clients survive climate change’s most severe consequences. More…

Central Vermont: “YES!” On Communications Union District

[Community]
Central Vermont: “YES!” On Communications Union District
by Lisa Gonzalez
Posted April 20, 2018

forming alternatives to the big telecomm corporationsWe recently learned that a group of communities in central Vermont had decided to ask voters if they should form a communications union district to develop a regional fiber optic network. On March 6th, twelve of thirteen communities who took up the proposal at Town Meeting passed it, and the thirteenth will address the subject in May.

Communities that passed the measure are Barre City, Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, Middlesex, Montpelier, Northfield, Plainfield, Roxbury, Williamstown, and Worcester. In Berlin, East Montpelier, Middlesex, and Worcester the community took up the question with a floor vote and it passed unanimously. The town of Barre will bring up the question at its Town Meeting in May.

As an elected official, Hansen has heard many complaints from constituents about poor Internet access and inadequate customer service from ISPs in his town of Berlin. As he’s researched the problem, he’s found that other communities in the region have faced the same problems. More…

As Cable News Obsesses Over a Porn Star, Senate Prepares to Put the Next Wall Street Crash in Motion

[Economic]
As Cable News Obsesses Over a Porn Star, Senate Prepares to Put the Next Wall Street Crash in Motion
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted April 18, 2018

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from OhioThe U.S. Senate is about to set in motion the next financial crash on Wall Street but you would never know it from watching cable news channels CNN or MSNBC last evening. Both news channels obsessed for endless hours over the Trump-Russia scandal and a hush money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels, neglecting one of the most critical topics of the day: what was happening on the Senate floor this week.

Some of the most informed Democratic voices in the U.S. Senate are making impassioned and heartbreaking appeals to their colleagues this week on the floor of the U.S. Senate to vote down Senate bill S.2155, which carries the Orwellian title: “The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.” The bill is a Republican/Wall Street lobbyist masquerade to ostensibly help small community banks but will effectively gut enhanced oversight of banks with up to $250 billion in assets – mega banks by any measure – that want to dodge oversight of their derivative counterparty exposure to the largest Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. More…

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