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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 64,215

Journal Archives

Wolves of Wall Street: Financialization and American Inequality


from Dissent magazine:


Wolves of Wall Street: Financialization and American Inequality
By Colin Gordon - April 17, 2014


This series is adapted from Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality, a resource developed for the Project on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and inequality.org. It is presented in nine parts. The introduction laid out the basic dimensions of American inequality and examined some of the usual explanatory suspects. The political explanation for American inequality is developed through chapters looking in turn at labor relations, the minimum wage and labor standards, job-based benefits, social policy, taxes, financialization, executive pay, and macroeconomic policy. Previous installments in this series can be found here.


It’s no secret by now that the recent spike in American inequality, and the gains rapidly accruing to those at the upper end of the income distribution ladder, are driven in large part by “financialization”—the growing scale and profitability of the financial sector relative to the rest of the economy, and the shrinking regulation of its rules and returns. The success or failure of the financial sector has a disproportionate impact on the rest of the economy, especially when the combination of too much speculation and too little regulation starts inflating and bursting bubbles. And its returns flow almost exclusively to high earners. An overcharged finance sector, in other words, breeds inequality when it succeeds and when it fails.

A Short History of American Finance

Across the modern era, key moments of economic growth—the railroad and heavy industry development of the 1890s, the advent of electricity and automobiles in the 1920s and 1930s, and the IT boom of the 1980s—have been accompanied by parallel innovations in financial services. Each of these eras, in turn, was punctuated by a crisis in which speculation in new financial instruments, over-exuberance about their prospects, or outright chicanery turned boom into bust. The railroad boom of the nineteenth century yielded a wildly unregulated market for railroad securities and a series of market collapses. The emergence of a consumer-goods economy in the early decades of the twentieth century transformed both corporate finance and consumer credit and spilled the country into the Great Depression.

.......(snip).......

American Finance and American Inequality

The rise of the financial sector has fed inequality in a number of ways. First, the disproportionate growth of finance diverts incomes from labor (wages and salaries) to capital. Indeed, recent work by the International Labor Office suggests that financialization accounts for about half of the decline in labor’s share of national income (in the United States and elsewhere) since 1970.

But even more important than the slow siphoning off of labor’s share is the widening inequality within that share, as top earners pull away from the rest of the pack. Increased employment in finance has been accompanied by accelerating rates of compensation in the sector, from about $20,000 per year per employee (including secretaries and clerks) in 1980 to nearly $100,000 today. This is of course exaggerated at the top of the income spectrum. In 2004, by one estimate, the combined income of the top twenty-five hedge fund managers exceeded the combined income of all of the Standard and Poor top 500 CEOs. The number of Wall Street investors earning more than $100 million a year was nine times higher than the public company executives earning that amount. About 14 percent of the “1 percent” are employed in finance, a share that has doubled since 1979. ............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/wolves-of-wall-street-financialization-and-american-inequality



Why Apple's iPad is in big trouble

By Adam Levine-Weinberg
The Motley Fool (via USA TODAY), via the Detroit Free Press:


Less than two years ago, Apple’s (ticker: AAPL) iPad absolutely dominated the tablet space. As of mid-2012, Apple still claimed nearly 70% of the tablet market, while Android tablet manufacturers were struggling to make any headway.

Furthermore, the iPad Mini’s fall 2012 arrival was an open secret by then. As a result, tablet market analysts expected Apple to further solidify its dominance of the tablet market over time.

However, the opposite has occurred. Not only has Apple’s market share lead crumbled, but iPad sales growth has also come to a crashing halt. Tablet rivals such as Amazon.com (AMZN) and Samsung are gaining momentum by closing the quality gap with Apple and offering lower price points. Unless Apple can deliver vastly improved iPads later this year, the iPad’s growth days are over.

Where did all the iPad buyers go?

It’s hard to imagine right now, but just two years ago, Apple was growing iPad revenue by more than 60% and iPad unit sales by 80% -- even without an entry in the growing 7- and 8-inch tablet market! Last year, despite the addition of the iPad Mini, unit sales growth slowed to 22%. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20140419/BUSINESS07/304190041/



Republican ad knocks Mark Schauer for nursing home fee extended by Gov. Rick Snyder


LANSING, MI -- The Republican Governors Association released what it called a "new attack ad" on Wednesday, criticizing Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer for a 2002 state House vote that imposed a new per-bed fee on nursing homes.

The only problem?

The "Medicaid Quality Assurance Assessment Program" was backed by Republican Gov. John Engler, won bipartisan support in the state Legislature and was later extended by Gov. Rick Snyder, who Schauer is challenging.

The program was designed to win federal match dollars and then return them to nursing homes that participate in Michigan's Medicaid program.

"By continuing the assessment, the state receives more in federal matching Medicaid funds than what is paid out by nursing homes," according to a 2011 press release from Snyder's office. "These funds are then directed to nursing homes in Michigan that provide Medicaid services." ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/04/fees_on_nursing_home_beds_repu.html



Philadelphia: SEPTA to restore all-night subway service




SEPTA will restore all-night subway service on Fridays and Saturdays, at least temporarily, beginning in June, officials said Monday.

SEPTA's proposed new operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes several hundred thousand dollars to run the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Since 1991, subway service has been halted between midnight and 5 a.m., with Nite Owl buses substituted on those routes. Increasing nightlife and residential activity in Center City prompted SEPTA officials to bring back the subway service.

Chief financial officer Richard Burnfield said the program would be an experiment from mid-June until Labor Day. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-16/news/49159240_1_subway-service-septa-headquarters-capital-budget



GMO Labeling Update: State Efforts Pick Up Momentum, Big Ag Doubles Down





(Civil Eats) Most Americans would prefer to know whether or not they’re eating genetically engineered foods (commonly referred to as GMOs). According to some polls, as many as 93 percent of us would like to see them labeled. But there’s one group committed to ensuring that such labels never grace supermarket shelves.

Meet the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food (the “Coalition”), Big Food’s slick response to the rise of state-led GMO labeling initiatives.

Launched in February by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Coalition is comprised of 30-plus private interest groups, including chemicals and biotechnology companies, processed food manufacturers, and the farm lobbies responsible for planting the bulk of the nation’s GMO corn, soy, and sugar beets.

However, you won’t see specific corporations that are invested in these foods, like Monsanto, Du Pont, PepsiCo, or Nestlé listed on the Coalition’s site. Rather, they’re hiding in plain view as affiliates of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Snack Food Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers. In other words, Big Food has stepped up its GMO defense strategy. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2014/04/16/gmo-labeling-update-state-efforts-pick-up-momentum-big-ag-doubles-down/#sthash.lYB4AG3N.dpuf



Wolves of Wall Street: Financialization and American Inequality


from Dissent magazine:


Wolves of Wall Street: Financialization and American Inequality
By Colin Gordon - April 17, 2014


This series is adapted from Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality, a resource developed for the Project on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and inequality.org. It is presented in nine parts. The introduction laid out the basic dimensions of American inequality and examined some of the usual explanatory suspects. The political explanation for American inequality is developed through chapters looking in turn at labor relations, the minimum wage and labor standards, job-based benefits, social policy, taxes, financialization, executive pay, and macroeconomic policy. Previous installments in this series can be found here.


It’s no secret by now that the recent spike in American inequality, and the gains rapidly accruing to those at the upper end of the income distribution ladder, are driven in large part by “financialization”—the growing scale and profitability of the financial sector relative to the rest of the economy, and the shrinking regulation of its rules and returns. The success or failure of the financial sector has a disproportionate impact on the rest of the economy, especially when the combination of too much speculation and too little regulation starts inflating and bursting bubbles. And its returns flow almost exclusively to high earners. An overcharged finance sector, in other words, breeds inequality when it succeeds and when it fails.

A Short History of American Finance

Across the modern era, key moments of economic growth—the railroad and heavy industry development of the 1890s, the advent of electricity and automobiles in the 1920s and 1930s, and the IT boom of the 1980s—have been accompanied by parallel innovations in financial services. Each of these eras, in turn, was punctuated by a crisis in which speculation in new financial instruments, over-exuberance about their prospects, or outright chicanery turned boom into bust. The railroad boom of the nineteenth century yielded a wildly unregulated market for railroad securities and a series of market collapses. The emergence of a consumer-goods economy in the early decades of the twentieth century transformed both corporate finance and consumer credit and spilled the country into the Great Depression.

.......(snip).......

American Finance and American Inequality

The rise of the financial sector has fed inequality in a number of ways. First, the disproportionate growth of finance diverts incomes from labor (wages and salaries) to capital. Indeed, recent work by the International Labor Office suggests that financialization accounts for about half of the decline in labor’s share of national income (in the United States and elsewhere) since 1970.

But even more important than the slow siphoning off of labor’s share is the widening inequality within that share, as top earners pull away from the rest of the pack. Increased employment in finance has been accompanied by accelerating rates of compensation in the sector, from about $20,000 per year per employee (including secretaries and clerks) in 1980 to nearly $100,000 today. This is of course exaggerated at the top of the income spectrum. In 2004, by one estimate, the combined income of the top twenty-five hedge fund managers exceeded the combined income of all of the Standard and Poor top 500 CEOs. The number of Wall Street investors earning more than $100 million a year was nine times higher than the public company executives earning that amount. About 14 percent of the “1 percent” are employed in finance, a share that has doubled since 1979. ............................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/wolves-of-wall-street-financialization-and-american-inequality



How Can History Help Us in the Future? Howard Zinn on A People's History of the United States


https://


Published on Apr 8, 2014
Zinn was professor of history at Spelman College in Atlanta from 1956 to 1963, and visiting professor at both the University of Paris and University of Bolog.

Mr. Zinn talked about his book, A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present, published by Harperperennial Library. He focused on his research for t.

- Newly disclosed emails obtained by the Associated Press show former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels sought to remove Howard Zinn.

Playwright, historian and political activist Zinn talked about the interpretation of history and how our understanding of it affects the future. He discussed. ...........................

Chicago: CTA: 16 buildings need to be razed for Belmont 'L' overpass




(Chicago Tribune) The CTA unveiled a $320 million proposal Thursday to eliminate one of the worst bottlenecks in its system by building an elevated bypass to untangle trains on the Red, Purple and Brown lines north of Belmont Avenue.

The announcement wasn’t all upside. Sixteen buildings north of the Belmont station in the Lakeview neighborhood would be bulldozed to make way for the flyover structure that would send northbound Brown Line trains up and over the Red and Purple line tracks. Brown Line trains would then descend onto the existing Ravenswood track west of Sheffield Avenue.

The idea of the CTA forcibly purchasing properties — for the second time in a decade along the Brown Line corridor — jolted some people who live and work in the area and learned of the transit agency’s proposal Thursday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged demolition plans weren’t ideal, but said they were necessary to increase and improve train service along all three lines. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cta-16-buildings-need-to-be-razed-to-speed-up-red-brown-purple-lines-20140417,0,5110741.story


Underground Railroad Was One of America’s First Coops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/cooperative-economics-and-civil-rights

from YES! Magazine:


The Underground Railroad Was One of America’s First Co-ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics
From slavery to Jim Crow to cities today, African-Americans have been leading the cooperative movement.

by Laura Flanders
posted Apr 17, 2014


https://

Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

"The white economic structure depended on all of these blacks having to buy from the white store, rent from the white landowner. They were going to lose out if you did something alternatively," Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, told Commonomics correspondent Laura Flanders this week.

For more on co-ops in the black community, read our latest piece on late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's vision.



Oklahoma Provides a Win for ALEC’s 50-State Campaign Against Democracy


Oklahoma Provides a Win for ALEC’s 50-State Campaign Against Democracy

April 18, 2014
by Joshua Holland


On Monday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill that prohibits local governments from boosting their minimum wages or enacting laws mandating benefits like paid vacation or sick leave for working people.

Shadee Ashtari reports for The Huffington Post that “opponents of the measure view the move by Oklahoma Republicans as retaliation against an initiative underway in Oklahoma City, where organizers have been gathering signatures to raise the city’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.” That may well be a factor, but the legislation has the fingerprints of the National Restaurant Association — “the other NRA” — and the American Legislative Affairs Council (ALEC) all over it.

Business-backed groups that oppose living wages and paid leave have a serious problem on their hands: polls show that they’re popular. So-called preemption laws provide them with a solution.

In November, Gordon Lafer, a political economist at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center who authored a report titled, “The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012,” told BillMoyers.com, “In places where people have a chance to vote, not for candidates, but on the actual laws — on minimum wage, on sick leave — there’s very broad support for those measures among Republicans and Democrats, among conservatives and liberals. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/18/oklahoma-provides-a-win-for-alecs-50-state-campaign-against-democracy/



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