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Archive for the ‘Economics, recession’ Category

400 information technology workers at Southern California Edison (SCE) are being laid off and replaced by H-1B workers from India. Some employees are training their H-1B visa holding replacements, and many have already lost their jobs.

The employees are upset and say they can’t understand how H-1B guest workers can be used to replace them.

Typically, a US corporation will layoff employees, and outsource their jobs, which is what is happening in this case, even as the Obama administration and some congressional Republicans are trying to expand the H-1B program. They want to reduce worker wages and increase corporate profits by doing so even though there is no shortage of high skill tech workers in the United States. There’s not even a shortage of low skill workers.

In all, about 500 people are being phased out at SCE, 400 of whom are being laid off. According to Computerworld, the H-1B visa-holding replacements are employees of two Indian companies — Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services — that have contracted with SCE.

According to USA Today, “If a shortage (of tech workers) did exist, wages would be rising as companies tried to attract scarce workers. Instead, legislation that expanded visas for IT personnel during the 1990s has kept average wages flat over the past 16 years. Indeed, guest workers have become the predominant source of new hires in these fields.”

The H1B visa is being used to keep Americans unemployed, wages down, and corporate profits up. In other words, H-1B is an income redistribution scam. Money is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent. Apparently, US economic policy is simple. It’s used to only benefit the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

Wall Street profits handsomely from these visas. Higher profits mean more stock transactions, corporate bond issues, more highly profitable IPOs. Tech corporations see their stock prices soar, due to their artificially higher profits caused by their government induced artificially lower labor costs.

For more on the story, click on the links below.

Southern California Edison Workers Beyond Furious Over H1b Replacements–Computer World

Personal Liberty–Angry California Stem Workers Train H1b visa replacements

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Internet freedom has been saved for now. Below is a statement by Federal Communications Commission Chairman and Corporate Plutocrat Tom Wheeler.

BUT FIRST, WHAT ABOUT THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP? (TPP) AND WHAT ROLE MIGHT IT HAVE IN WHEELER’S DECISION?

Will there be an end run around Wheeler’s decision? The TPP is the most secretive international income and political power redistribution scam to ever come down the pike. There have been a few leaks, from which we know the TPP has nothing to do with trade. It’s mostly about rising prices on consumers, ending government regulations on Wall Street, and ending your right to vote on local and state levels on certain issues, such as health, safety and labeling laws. We don’t know if Internet freedom is on the table during the negotiations, but given that raising prices is a cornerstone of this agreement, and given that ending Internet freedom means raising the prices charged by Internet Service providers, well, perhaps you can see my point. BTW, raising prices redistributes income from your pocket to the pockets of rich corporate shareholders. In other words, in every way, the TPP is a massive income redistribution scam.

From Federal Communications Chairman and Corporate Plutocrat Tom Wheeler:

After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.

Broadband network operators have an understandable motivation to manage their network to maximize their business interests. But their actions may not always be optimal for network users. The Congress gave the FCC broad authority to update its rules to reflect changes in technology and marketplace behavior in a way that protects consumers. Over the years, the Commission has used this authority to the public’s great benefit.
Tom Wheeler

The internet wouldn’t have emerged as it did, for instance, if the FCC hadn’t mandated open access for network equipment in the late 1960s. Before then, AT&T prohibited anyone from attaching non-AT&T equipment to the network. The modems that enabled the internet were usable only because the FCC required the network to be open.

Companies such as AOL were able to grow in the early days of home computing because these modems gave them access to the open telephone network.

I personally learned the importance of open networks the hard way. In the mid-1980s I was president of a startup, NABU: The Home Computer Network. My company was using new technology to deliver high-speed data to home computers over cable television lines. Across town Steve Case was starting what became AOL. NABU was delivering service at the then-blazing speed of 1.5 megabits per second—hundreds of times faster than Case’s company. “We used to worry about you a lot,” Case told me years later.

But NABU went broke while AOL became very successful. Why that is highlights the fundamental problem with allowing networks to act as gatekeepers.

While delivering better service, NABU had to depend on cable television operators granting access to their systems. Steve Case was not only a brilliant entrepreneur, but he also had access to an unlimited number of customers nationwide who only had to attach a modem to their phone line to receive his service. The phone network was open whereas the cable networks were closed. End of story.

The phone network’s openness did not happen by accident, but by FCC rule. How we precisely deliver that kind of openness for America’s broadband networks has been the subject of a debate over the last several months.

Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.

That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

Thank You!

NOW, ABOUT THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP! (TPP)

Will there be an end run around this issue? The TPP is the most secretive international income and political power redistribution scam to ever come down the pike. There have been a few leaks, from which we know the TPP has nothing to do with trade. It’s mostly about rising prices on consumers, ending government regulations on Wall Street, and ending your right to vote on local and state levels on certain issues, such as health, safety and labeling laws. We don’t know if Internet freedom is on the table during the negotiations, but given that raising prices is a cornerstone of this agreement, and given that ending Internet freedom means raising the prices charged by Internet Service providers, well, perhaps you can see my point.

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By Bernie Sanders, US Senator, Reader Supported News

03 January 15

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.

The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.

Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.

The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is more of the same, but even worse.

During my 23 years in Congress, I helped lead the fight against NAFTA and PNTR with China. During the coming session of Congress, I will be working with organized labor, environmentalists, religious organizations, Democrats, and Republicans against the secretive TPP trade deal.

Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.

10 Ways that TPP would hurt Working Families

1. TPP will allow corporations to outsource even more jobs overseas.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, if the TPP is agreed to, the U.S. will lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Service Sector Jobs will be lost. At a time when corporations have already outsourced over 3 million service sector jobs in the U.S., TPP includes rules that will make it even easier for corporate America to outsource call centers; computer programming; engineering; accounting; and medical diagnostic jobs.

Manufacturing jobs will be lost. As a result of NAFTA, the U.S. lost nearly 700,000 jobs. As a result of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, the U.S. lost over 2.7 million jobs. As a result of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has lost 70,000 jobs. The TPP would make matters worse by providing special benefits to firms that offshore jobs and by reducing the risks associated with operating in low-wage countries.

2. U.S. sovereignty will be undermined by giving corporations the right to challenge our laws before international tribunals.

The TPP creates a special dispute resolution process that allows corporations to challenge any domestic laws that could adversely impact their “expected future profits.”

These challenges would be heard before UN and World Bank tribunals which could require taxpayer compensation to corporations.

This process undermines our sovereignty and subverts democratically passed laws including those dealing with labor, health, and the environment.

3. Wages, benefits, and collective bargaining will be threatened.

NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and other free trade agreements have helped drive down the wages and benefits of American workers and have eroded collective bargaining rights.

The TPP will make the race to the bottom worse because it forces American workers to compete with desperate workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is just 56 cents an hour.

4. Our ability to protect the environment will be undermined.

The TPP will allow corporations to challenge any law that would adversely impact their future profits. Pending claims worth over $14 billion have been filed based on similar language in other trade agreements. Most of these claims deal with challenges to environmental laws in a number of countries. The TPP will make matters even worse by giving corporations the right to sue any of the nations that sign onto the TPP. These lawsuits would be heard in international tribunals bypassing domestic courts.

5. Food Safety Standards will be threatened.

The TPP would make it easier for countries like Vietnam to export contaminated fish and seafood into the U.S. The FDA has already prevented hundreds of seafood imports from TPP countries because of salmonella, e-coli, methyl-mercury and drug residues. But the FDA only inspects 1-2 percent of food imports and will be overwhelmed by the vast expansion of these imports if the TPP is agreed to.

6. Buy America laws could come to an end.

The U.S. has several laws on the books that require the federal government to buy goods and services that are made in America or mostly made in this country. Under TPP, foreign corporations must be given equal access to compete for these government contracts with companies that make products in America. Under TPP, the U.S. could not even prevent companies that have horrible human rights records from receiving government contracts paid by U.S. taxpayers.

7. Prescription drug prices will increase, access to life saving drugs will decrease, and the profits of drug companies will go up.

Big pharmaceutical companies are working hard to ensure that the TPP extends the monopolies they have for prescription drugs by extending their patents (which currently can last 20 years or more). This would expand the profits of big drug companies, keep drug prices artificially high, and leave millions of people around the world without access to life saving drugs. Doctors without Borders stated that “the TPP agreement is on track to become the most harmful trade pact ever for ?ccess to medicines in developing countries.”

8. Wall Street would benefit at the expense of everyone else.

Under TPP, governments would be barred from imposing “capital controls” that have been successfully used to avoid financial crises. These controls range from establishing a financial speculation tax to limiting the massive flows of speculative capital flowing into and out of countries responsible for the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s. In other words, the TPP would expand the rights and power of the same Wall Street firms that nearly destroyed the world economy just five years ago and would create the conditions for more financial instability in the future.

Last year, I co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Harkin to create a Wall Street speculation tax of just 0.03 percent on trades of derivatives, credit default swaps, and large amounts of stock. If TPP were enacted, such a financial speculation tax may be in violation of this trade agreement.

9. The TPP would reward authoritarian regimes like Vietnam that systematically violate human rights.

The State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have all documented Vietnam’s widespread violations of basic international standards for human rights. Yet, the TPP would reward Vietnam’s bad behavior by giving it duty free access to the U.S. market.

10. The TPP has no expiration date, making it virtually impossible to repeal.

Once TPP is agreed to, it has no sunset date and could only be altered by a consensus of all of the countries that agreed to it. Other countries, like China, could be allowed to join in the future. For example, Canada and Mexico joined TPP negotiations in 2012 and Japan joined last year.

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Republished with permission from Readersupportednews.org

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Friday, on the floor of the US senate, US Senator Elizabeth Warren sounded like the one and only person who should be the next United States president. She sounded like the person who is truly giving us “hope and change” in fact rather than as a political slogan, and she sounded like the person Barack Obama should have been.

Everyday she’s sounding like the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sounding like the next great president, and the first great president since Harry Truman, or perhaps Roosevelt himself.

In the speech above, Warren excoriated President Obama, Republicans and Democrats for a House bill that will keep funding the government, but a provision within it will force the taxpayers to increase their bailouts of bad derivative investments by wealthy investors, including all of the big investment banks, and especially Citigroup. This provision allows Citigroup and other big banks to gamble with taxpayer money without any repercussions for their investment decisions.

President Obama, some Democrats, and most of the Republican Party are completely corrupt, which is why they support this giveaway for the rich and powerful. This provision is nothing more than a massive redistribution of income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s precisely why the president got on the telephone on Thursday and strong-armed some House Democrats into voting for this bill. The bill passed through the house and must now go through the senate.

The provision was written by Citigroup lobbyists, which nowadays is a bank that has the power to direct the majority of the Republican Party to demand maintaining the provision in the spending bill or shutting the government down by refusing to pass it.

During the final debate over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, before Warren was a senator, she was asked about an attempt to weaken the unborn agency. “My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor,” she said at the time. These comments were unsuccessfully used against her in her subsequent senate campaign.

This week, she fought to keep a major Wall Street giveaway out of a must-pass spending bill and by Friday night it was clear the fight in the House of Representatives was lost. So Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, took the Senate floor and unleashed a powerful punch on Wall Street giant Citigroup that will leave a mark for an awfully long time, especially on the grass roots, perhaps both grassroots Democrats and Republicans. Hopefully, we are all cheering her on, while Democrats such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden meekly stand by (and he will side with Wall Street since he always does) and do nothing since he is a Wall Street stooge pretending to be a senator that represents the people of Oregon.

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has voiced opposition to the provision. We’ll see if he puts his vote where his mouth is, or whether he’s simply pretending to oppose Wall Street.

In the speech above, after listing the top Citigroup executives who have gone on to work in the Obama administration, Warren addressed Citibank executives directly, noting that she agreed that Wall Street reform wasn’t perfect. “I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces,” she said.

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A flutter of fear ran through Congress yesterday, desperately searching for a Democratic spine to run up. The flutter of fear found its target as President Obama sided with Wall Street and the Republican Party against his own Democratic Party, the Democratic base, and the American public.

When this Congress works together to get something done, it’s almost always on behalf of the 0.01 percent, and it’s almost always a profoundly bad one for the 99 percent. The omnibus spending bill that the House passed last night is just about the most corrupt and dangerous piece of legislation to come out of Washington in a long time. A few spineless Wall Street Democrats caved in to Republican hostage demands to avoid a government shutdown. So did Obama, the ultimate Wall Street Democrat. He could have sent a strong message with his veto pen to the 114th Congress since any deal this bad shouldn’t have gotten his signature, regardless of a shutdown threat from Republicans.

So what’s so bad about this deal that a government shutdown is preferable besides the fact that it was written in large measure by Citicorp lobbyists? A lot of things, but one stands out more than the rest.

The Republicans have stuck a little piece of legislation in the funding bill that will force taxpayers to bail out much of Wall Street derivative losses.

Financial derivatives are bonds backed by a real assets, such as home mortgages and student loans. Currently, there are $700 trillion in outstanding derivatives in the world, while the yearly world economy produces only about $70 trillion a year. The US derivative markets has about $230 trillion outstanding, compared to an economy that produces about $16 trillion in goods and services a year.

JP Morgan and Chase Bank hold about $150 trillion of this toxic financial wasteland called the derivatives market.

Should the derivative markets take a nose dive, under the Republican proposal, US taxpayers could owe the big banks a large portion of that $230 trillion. It’s going to be bailout time when the next recession hits. Massively rich, but remarkably stupid, investors know they don’t have make smart investment decisions since the taxpayers are going to be forced to bail them out. In other words, Republicans have decided to redistribute massive amounts of cash from the American middle class for years to come to the 1 percent should their gamble on these derivatives fail. President Obama also said yes to bailing out Wall Street in the future.

President Obama has always been a servant of Wall Street. Quite naturally, he was never likely to veto this budget bill, but one can always hope the president developed a spine and became an FDR or Elizabeth Warren type of Democrat for the American people.

This is bad policy for the nation, for the world, for the middle class, and basically for just about everybody except a few rich Wall Street fat cats. No doubt, some Democrats such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will fight for this bill. Others, however, such as Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Merkley will not do as Wall Street commands.

What else did Obama and his Republican Party agree to do in this budget?

The Republican Party and President Obama and a massive portion of the Democratic Party are all about redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Now the battle will go to the senate. There is some hope there to stop this madness.

Click below for the rest of the story.

Why President Obama Should Veto This Budget and Shut Down the Government–Readersupportednews.com

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