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Archive for the ‘Economics, recession’ Category

“A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – along with its localized sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.”

Why would rich people want to stop poor people from earning more money? The answer is simple.

The financial markets are Ponzi schemes. More and more money has to be pumped into the financial markets, or the values of corporate shares that are traded on those markets will crumble into nothingness. For example, if shares of Weyerhauser climb to $50 per share, yet profits go down, more sellers will enter the market than buyers, and the value of the shares go down. However, the process is also true if profits stay the same from one quarter to the next. In which case, there might be exactly as many buyers as sellers of Weyerhauser shares if other stock prices are rising.

Why hold a static stock when when you can sell and purchase shares that are on the rise? The result of static corporate profits (and profits are the key to whether or not share prices rise), is to send share prices down. Weyerhauser’s stock plummeted from $50 to $1 per share from 1929 to 1933, which is when the Ponzi Scheme known as Wall Street collapsed. I demonstrated this in greater detail in The Rigged Game: Corporate America and a People Betrayed.

This is why ALEC opposes increasing the minimum wage anywhere except for shareholders, CEOs and corporate lobbyists. If corporations need to pay workers higher wages, that will reduce profits and potentially send share prices lower. This is also why the 1 percent wage war against the middle class, corrupt government at all levels with their ill-gotten gains, and have their legislators push legislation to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This is also why we have much greater inflation today than the government lets us know about, but that’s another story.

Check out the rest of the story from the Guardian by clicking on the link below.

How a powerful rightwing lobby is plotting to stop minimum wage hikes–the Guardian

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President Obama is now fighting against his own party, by allying himself with the corporate wing of the Republican Party, in his fight to destroy the American middle class. The president does have a few Democratic allies, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, the only US senator ever called a “useful idiot” by a Nobel Prize economist.

The president is waging war against the middle class with an Income and Political Power Redistribution Scam that he falsely labels a free trade agreement, called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The president has made certain the TPP is the most secretive scheme ever called a free trade agreement in US history.

This month, President Obama and the corporate Republican Party leaders are going to push for legislation called Fast Track. They are opposed by progressive Democrats and Tea Party Republicans. See Left and Right United–New York Times.

If passed, Fast Track will allow only limited debate, no amendments, and no filibuster in the senate on the Trans Pacific Partnership. The key is most likely the filibuster. The TPP will export millions of US jobs, redistribute massive amounts of income from the 99 to the 1 percent in the process, eliminate your voting rights on health, safety and labeling issues on the state and local levels, and lots more, and none of it good for you or the environment. That’s only a few things we know about the agreement because it is the most secretive trade agreement in US history. Call your congressional representatives and tell them to represent you in the issue of Fast Track. Tell them to vote no. You can discover your US house and senate representatives and their numbers at ContactingtheCongress.org .

We know from leaked documents the TPP is a massive income redistribution scam. We know that;

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA. When the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, social safety nets, schools, fire and police, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination,

* TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you (which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent),

* TPP will limit food safety standards (which redistributes and transforms your health into the profits of the 1 percent),

* TPP will block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis (which will make it easier for Wall Street to redistribute your income and wealth to the 1 percent).

* TPP will destroy millions of jobs in Latin America (230,000 in the textile industry of El Salvador alone) forcing millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

* The result of the above will be to depress wages in both North and South America, all to the benefit of the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent.

* And we can’t forget that TPP will increase the already massive US trade deficit with other nations, which is supposed to be a bad thing. The exported jobs will be producing goods overseas rather than here, and then US corporations will export their products from China and Vietnam into the United States, exacerbating the current trade deficit.

In other words, the TPP has almost nothing to do with trade. It’s about taking away your money, your voting rights, and giving them to the 1 percent.

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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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