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Posts Tagged ‘profits’

The Federal Reserve helps struggling banks through temporary credit crunches—so why doesn’t the government treat struggling individuals the same way? We know why. It wouldn’t be profitable for the rich shareholders and CEO’s of major banks and payday lenders if the US government treated citizens the same way the Federal Reserve treats bankers.

Bernie Sanders suggested a way to help people through their personal credit crunches.

Following up on his campaign platforms like a $15 an hour minimum wage and closing corporate tax loopholes, Sanders is now suggesting we turn post offices into banks.

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal last year, Sanders first suggested postal banking as a way to help save the jobs of the more than 500,000 people employed by the United States Postal Service. As Sanders wrote, postal banking could also help provide financial services for people with limited access to bank branches.

“If you are a low-income person,” Sanders wrote, “it is, depending upon where you live, very difficult to find normal banking. Banks don’t want you. And what people are forced to do is go to payday lenders who charge outrageously high interest rates. You go to check-cashing places, which rip you off. And, yes, I think that the postal service, in fact, can play an important role in providing modest types of banking service to folks who need it.”

According the the Atlantic Monthly, “Sanders’s idea is quite sensible. “Postal banking”—which just means that post offices run savings accounts, cash checks, and perform other basic financial services—is common in most of Asia and Europe, and only about 7 percent of the world’s national postal systems don’t offer some bank-like services. Postal banking is a really good way to reach people who haven’t had access to standard savings accounts. One estimate figures that more than 1 billion people have used post offices for making deposits.”

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At least 36,000 Verizon workers have been on strike since Wednesday of last week after failing to reach a new labor agreement. This strike is about lowering labor costs via exporting jobs and using low wage contractors in order to redistribute income from Verizon’s employees to rich shareholders via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and soaring share prices.

Here’s how the system is rigged by federal legislators.

Verizon earned, or overcharged their customers depending on your point of view, $39 billion over the last three years, and now management wants employees to make concessions in pay and benefits, as well as other things. Workers at Verizon have said enough is enough! Verizon made $19.3 billion in US pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. Now the company wants to reduce employee compensation despite billions in profits.

As Verizon employee James Brugund said, “American companies want American profits, but they don’t want to pay American wages, and that should be stopped.”

Among the union’s complaints: the offshoring of thousands of jobs to workers abroad, and shifting work to low-wage, non-union contractors. But one of their chief complaints is about being forced to work in locations far from home for months at a time.

“Verizon lineman Ting Chin, who already commutes more than 80 miles from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Manhattan, said that several of his colleagues were sent to Buffalo, New York — almost 400 miles away — for a long-term job, a fate that he says he narrowly avoided.”

In addition, Verizon wants to shift 50 percent of its work to low wage contractors, via a new labor union contract. Other jobs that are no longer done by Verizon employees but are instead handed to lower-wage contractors from outside or inside the U.S. include:

* VZ Business Monitoring
* eService email, chat and offline
* Dispatch
* Digging work for copper plant and FiOS
* In-home installation and networking
* Door-to-door sales of FiOS
* Materials distribution work/delivery
* Smart Home technology installation/customer
* service and other specialized home services

The company is also negotiating to export more jobs overseas. The company has been in the process of exporting these jobs, mostly, it seems, to Manila, Philippines. Thousands of jobs have been exported in recent months.

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Rate_hike_cartoon_11.30.2015_normal

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen announced Wednesday, December 16 that the Fed will raise short term interest rates by .25 percent. That means interest rates are going to rise for the 99 percent; from 15 to 17 percent on credit cards, for example. Home mortgage rates, car loans, home equity credit lines, and student loans, among other loans, are going to rise. Home mortgage loans will rise from about 3 percent to roughly 5 percent.

Yet there are no signs of an inflationary spiral, which would in theory spur the Fed into raising rates, which is one of its falsely stated goals. Then there’s high (but not too high) employment, another cherished and false goal of the Fed. For the last six years the US economy has been creating less jobs every year (and with declining wages) than occurred under that alleged dreadful president, Jimmy Carter, whose four years as president also included rising real wages. Carter did this with an economy and population about half of today’s economy.

Preliminary indications are that the US is headed toward a recession deeper and longer than the last one, and we should arrive there somewhere between seven and seventeen months from now. The Fed’s actions exacerbate these indications by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, curtailing demand, and hurting the economy, such as a US durable goods sector that is clearly in recession. So what gives? What is the Fed up to?

Despite false statements to the contrary, the Fed actually has pretty much followed only two goals throughout its history, and its latest move is a classic example of this. One goal is to protect the profits and share prices of the big banks, and number two is to protect wealthy investors from their own bad investment decisions. Everybody else is expendable when the Fed undertakes its responsibilities. In other words, the 99 percent is expendable, and often the victims, of the Fed’s actions on behalf of its unstated goals, which is to financially protect the rich.

And so in this most recent Fed action, the Fed is doing its first duty; increasing the earnings and share prices of the big banks at the expense of the 99 percent, which makes it seem, quite accurately, that the relationship between the Fed/Big Banks and the 99 percent is akin to parasites unto their hosts.

Your higher credit payments are going toward greater bank profits, which will provide rising dividends to rich shareholders. Share prices might and should rise, at least in the short term. This is pure income redistribution, and the corporate propaganda network wants you to believe the Fed’s increase in interest rates is to stabilize the economy, or limit non-existent inflationary pressures, or who knows what. But the last thing the corporate press wants you to know is that more of your income is being redistributed by the US Federal Reserve Bank to the rich via higher bank profits, rising shares, and soaring dividends. The rich are going to get richer, and you are going to be more poor.

The ten biggest US banks have many things in common, and one of them is declining share prices since last summer. Clearly, the Fed’s action is intended to reverse the decline.

The ten biggest US banks are:

1 JP Morgan Chase
2. Bank of America
3. Citigroup
4. Wells Fargo
5. US Bancorp
6. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
7. PNC Bank
8. Capital One
9. HSBC North America Holdings
10. TD Bank US Holding Company

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A few days ago, a public school teacher quit her job after fourteen years in education. Why? The profitable testing industry forced her out. She was tired of giving test upon test, more this year than last. Tests are not about accountability or standards. They’re all about increasing corporate profits, raising share prices, and enhancing dividends–at the expense of students, teachers, parents, administrators and taxpayers. That’s why the USA has the most tested K-12 students in the world, which is a reflection of how corrupt the US federal and state governments are.

Take the case of Pearson, the world’s largest education company.

According to the Financial Times on Nov 1, 2015,

“When millions of South African children start the new school year in January, they are likely to find that something is missing — textbooks.

Two of the country’s biggest provinces, Limpopo and Eastern Cape, are yet to place any orders with publishers.

The fallout is being felt about 6,000 miles to the north — at Pearson, the world’s largest education company, based in London…. Next year its testing business will be badly hit by the recent loss of flagship contracts in Texas and Ohio, worth £100m. It was the first time in 30 years the company had lost the Texas business, with state legislators raising concerns about past cost overruns…. Pearson is not just big — it is hugely diverse. A company assembled by acquisition, it produces textbooks and teaching software; runs school exams and entire university courses; and owns chains of schools teaching languages and professional qualifications.” See Pearson’s strategy comes under fire after share price collapse–/Financial Times

This year, Pearson has seen its profits decline, and its share prices have been hit as well, thanks to those South African children, and legislators in Texas and Ohio. Pearson’s stock price is the red line in the graph below. This line means more investors are selling Pearson stock than are purchasing it. So they need more children to take more tests to get their profits and stock price to rise.

Pearson-versus-EWU-2015-10-22

The Financial Times says two things are causing this profit decline. The US economy is picking up steam, and so people are working rather than going to universities to enhance job skills. Number two is the opposition to Common Core standards by Republican state legislatures.

The more testing, the more money Pearson takes in. And what is good for Pearson and its shareholders is not good for students, since the higher the educational standards, the more students fail, the more they have to retake the tests, the more profits Pearson and other educational corporations garner. So naturally, companies such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill are always pushing legislators to raise standards, and they’re going to continue to do so. This is their only way of enhancing their share prices, and that’s why the teacher alluded to above quit her job. She’d had enough.

She wrote at the end of her letter:

“My next step? Not sure yet. I do know that it is a disgrace that we are allowing companies from the testing industry to make millions of dollars (actually tens of billions) off the abuse of our public education system. Not only are we killing the spirits of students who want to learn, but we are also killing the spirits of teachers that want to make a life-long career of this. I’m not the first one to give up and I certainly won’t be the last. In 10-20 years, we are going to look back at this time in education and be very ashamed of what we have allowed to happen.

Finally, please hope and pray that my kids get a qualified teacher quickly. One that isn’t jaded by the system, that loves them in spite of their challenges, and has the strength to withstand the foolishness that educators endure. I couldn’t be that for them anymore and the grief that causes me is suffocating at times. I will miss them every day. This quote helps when the feelings become overwhelming, “Be OK with not knowing for sure what might come next, but know that whatever it is…you will be OK”.

Click here to see the complete letter of the teacher and why she quit.

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Education-in-Finland-300x279

Finland has the highest performing K-12 students in the world, year after year.

“Finland’s schools weren’t always so successful. In the 1960s, they were middling at best. In 1971, a government commission concluded that, poor as the nation was in natural resources, it had to modernize its economy and could only do so by first improving its schools. To that end, the government agreed to reduce class size, boost teacher pay, and require that, by 1979, all teachers complete a rigorous master’s program.

They also banned all standardized testing, as they figured out this takes too much time and too much money out of learning; and now they only give standardized exams to statistical samples of students to diagnose and assess school progress.”

For every 45 minutes of study, Finish students get 15 minutes of free time recess.

In the United States, recess has been curtailed, and in some cases, eliminated.

The average class size in Finland is 19. Teachers are highly respected, highly paid, and highly unionized. So what can the United States learn from Finland?

Absolutely nothing.

That’s because education reform in the USA has nothing to do with education. It’s all about corporate profits, campaign contributions, government corruption, and ever rising profits for the publishing industries. Public K-12 students are merely victims in the profit production process through which these aims can be achieved.

This is why the US has the most tested students in the world. The more tests they complete, the more profits for the publishing corporations, such as Pearson Limited and McGraw-Hill.

This is why educational test standards are always raised in the United States. The higher the standards, the more students fail to pass. Then they must retake another profitable test over and over again until they move up a grade or pass it. The more students fail these tests, the more profitable they are for the testing industry.

Tests are changed every few years because it’s more profitable than retaining them. When school districts change tests, each district must purchase new testing materials from the publishers. In the United States, students are part of the production process for producing profits, and keeping share prices of the publishing giants rising constantly, quarter after quarter.

So don’t expect any real educational reform in the US anytime soon since real educational reform by definition means lower profits for the publishing corporations, which means less money with which to corrupt government. So don’t expect anything to change in education in the US anytime soon. The corruption of government at all levels is far too massive.

Just look at Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden who betrayed the voters of Oregon on behalf of Monsanto and Wall Street when he co-sponsored Fast Track legislation in the senate for the massive income redistribution scam called the Trans Pacific Partnership which Wyden falsely markets as a trade agreement. Wyden once wrote a constituent who wrote to him to complain about the Common “Very Profitable” Core Standards. Wyden wrote back, “Please rest assured that I will continue to do all I can on the federal level to ensure Oregon students receive the highest quality education….” Wyden’s letter shows he supports the Common Very Profitable Standards, which demonstrates how corrupt he is in all areas in which income is redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent. See Wyden’s letter at, http://oregonsaveourschools.blogspot.com/2014/06/sen-ron-wyden-doesnt-get-it-on-common.html .

Wyden’s idea of students receiving “the highest quality education” is to increase the profits of the publishing corporations, which is another way of enriching the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. In other words, less recess, more tests, and higher standards, which is another way of saying the senator wants all students to be on a college track, even if they had no desire to be on such a track.

Income redistribution from the 99 to the 1 percent; that’s precisely what Wyden does as much as anybody ever has in the US senate. That’s why he supports standardized testing of public school students, as well as Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/how-finland-keeps-kids-focused/373544/

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From People Against the NDAA

The war on terror is a slogan. The United States always needs an enemy to fear to keep the people united behind more and more profitable military spending. The US spends more money on its military than the next twenty-five highest spending nations combined, and twenty-four of those are US allies. The 1 percent profits at the expense of the 99 percent.

Money that could go towards public education is instead diverted to highly profitable corporations, with financially and politically powerful CEOs and shareholders. That’s because there are more profits to be had in war than in public education.

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From USA Today

“Business executives and politicians endlessly complain that there is a “shortage” of qualified Americans and that the U.S. must admit more high-skilled guest workers to fill jobs in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. This claim is echoed by everyone from President Obama and Rupert Murdoch to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

Yet within the past month, two odd things occurred: the US Census Bureau reported that only one in four STEM degree holders is in a STEM job, and Microsoft announced plans to downsize its workforce by 18,000 jobs. Even so, the United States House of Representatives is considering legislation that, like the Senate immigration bill before it, would increase to unprecedented levels the supply of high-skill guest workers and automatic green cards to foreign STEM students.

As longtime researchers of the STEM workforce and immigration who have separately done in-depth analyses on these issues, and having no self-interest in the outcomes of the legislative debate, we feel compelled to report that none of us has been able to find any credible evidence to support the IT industry’s assertions of labor shortages.”

In other words, the shortage of US high tech workers is a big lie perpetrated by business leaders, President Obama, Republican Party lawmakers, and many Democratic lawmakers. Keeping wages, salaries and benefit packages low by importing the foreign high tech workers into a market in which only one of four highly qualified US citizens can find a job is nothing short of criminal, but it keeps labor costs down and corporate profits and share prices up. The labor market, in other words, is being manipulated to the benefit of the 1 percent.

Apparently, that’s what the US government is supposed to do. That’s the job of politicians: keep wages, salaries and benefits low by keeping an excess supply of labor flowing into the US job market. Who are these politicians working for? The Koch Brothers and Bill Gates or us? Okay, they work for the rich guys, and to hell with us.

Why would they do this?

According to USA Today, “It is well documented that loopholes enable firms to legally pay H-1Bs below their market value and to continue the widespread age discrimination acknowledged by many in the tech industry.”

That’s why companies are exploiting the large existing flow of guest workers to deny American workers access to STEM careers and the middle-class security that should come with them. Imagine how many more Americans would be frozen out of the middle class if politicians and tech moguls succeed in doubling or tripling the flow of guest workers into STEM occupations.

Click the link below for more on this story from USA Today.

Bill Gates Tech Workers Fantasy–USA Today

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