Category Archives: American Greed

Why the Poor Stay Poor in America

In summary – America is Failing

At least five large studies in recent years have found the United States to be less mobile than comparable nations. A project led by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints.

Meanwhile, just 8 percent of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth. That compares with 12 percent of the British and 14 percent of the Danes.

Despite frequent references to the United States as a classless society, about 62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, according to research by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Similarly, 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths.

Where you are born counts… What you should notice is that the Red State South still serves as the boat anchor holding the rest of the country back. That is in huge reason today due to failed Republican Tax CUt policies necessitating a reduction in every service from social services to education. You get what you pay for, and in the case of conservative tax cut and slash policy – what you get is stagnant economic mobility. Ergo the poor stay poor.

In America, the Poorer You Are, the Poorer Your Children Will Be

This country’s terrible social safety net is making it impossible for working-class parents to keep up with their wealthier peers.

When people talk about “balancing work and family,” they’re usually talking more about the workplace than what’s going on at home. Now we’re starting to get data on what the workaday life looks like from a kid’s eye view, and it doesn’t look good.

When debating the issue of work-life balance, arguments over unlimited vacation and employment discrimination center around women’s barriers to opportunity—the perennial glass ceiling that Anne Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg rage at when lamenting not “having it all.” For working-class folks crushed by on-call schedules or poverty wages, it’s often hard to find any life outside work, let alone to balance work and family lives. But centering the conversation not on career ambition but the life course of a family helps put the false dichotomy of work vs. life in perspective.

In their new book “Too Many Children Left Behind,”Bruce Bradbury, Miles Corak, Jane Waldfogel, and Elizabeth Washbrook help illuminate these gaps by comparing the impacts of inequality across four wealthy countries—the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They found that poor children in the US are “doubly disadvantaged relative to their peers in the other three countries” because the government’s “social safety net and supports for working families do the least among the four countries to combat inequality”—particularly our national lack of guaranteed paid time off and vacation.

That’s old news, but the center of the researchers’ narrative is not necessarily workers’ lives but their children’s. Poverty limits access to basic resources like nutrition and decent childcare. But a geometrically expanding class divide looms over all income brackets, as wealthier parents zealously splurge on “enrichment expenditures”:

spending on books, computers, high-quality child care, summer camps, private schooling, and other resources that offer a motivating and nurturing environment for children. A generation or more ago, during the early 1970s, a typical family in the top fifth of the income distribution spent about $3,850 per year on resources like these, four times as much as the typical family at the bottom of the income distribution, which spent about $925…. by 2005 it had grown tremendously, to $9,800 versus $1,400.

So poor parents struggling just to cover basic food and shelter face both massive income inequality in their day-to-day lives, plus a seven-fold gap in the amount they can “invest” to help their children thrive in the future. Given that social mobility is already suppressed at all income levels—with children’s future earnings highly correlated with the earnings of their parents—the Herculean amount of “catch up” poor parents must undertake just to get on the same footing as their higher-earning peers makes the great American wealth gap seem even more devastating, for both today’s working households and generations to come.

Moreover, the gender gap straddles the class divide: the “earnings advantage” provided by parents’ wealth, or lack thereof, is skewed against women. A child is likely to inherit a greater share of his dad’s wealth than mom’s. Beyond the perennial “equal pay” debate and the simplistic notion of “78 cents on the dollar,” how does that reality of gender inequality play out in family dynamics, in those difficult late-night conversations on who should stay home with a newborn, or stay late at the office?

But the most enduring impact of these deficits may be impossible to quantify. Economic disadvantage intertwined with structural inequality has a savage effect on a child’s long-term educational prospects—including basic preschool-level skills, like language aptitude and sociability, and failing primary-school grades. And the “achievement gap” (which is itself a notion often politicized with complex racial biases) has folded into a deepening black-white education divide over the last three decades.

Other research has revealed that economic status is a growing factor in academic outcomes, as “the relationship between income and achievement has grown sharply” over the last 50 years. So wealth trumps intellect on many levels.

Closing the gap takes more systemic solutions than just “leaning in.” Class lines reflect a deficit of democracy, created by neglect of government institutions. Research suggests much of the education gap is perpetuated or aggravated while children are wending through the highly segregated school system.

Co-author Jane Waldfogel says via e-mail that in addition to better workplace benefits, policy solutions might come through richer, more accessible early education and childcare: “Universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds would help level the playing field by ensuring that all preschoolers receive educationally oriented early education (rather than the case now, where more affluent families can buy preschool, while lower income families have to make do with lower quality care).”

Federal programs like Head Start and childcare subsidies have for years suffered massive funding gaps, leaving tens of thousands of kids underserved. But some states are directing resources into expanding preschool—with pioneering programs in New York City—though it remains to be seen whether lawmakers who have failed to adequately fund K-12 are really willing to invest enough public dollars in the long-term to create a sustainable universal pre-K system.

Waldfogel’s research reveals a need for not just income supports but simply less need to work all the time. For young children of parents who are either out working around the clock, or constantly stressed at home, overwork translates into a materially and emotionally impoverished home environment. During the developmental years, research shows “inequalities in income and family resources are in turn linked with disparities in more proximal factors such as books in the home, lessons and activities outside the home, and parents’ spanking.”

Although many factors shape a household’s social climate, the connection between a parents’ economic frustrations and a pattern of a lack of nurture, even cruelty at home, suggests a troubling through-line in this inheritance of inequity: Wealth doesn’t trickle down, yet economic violence does.…More…


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Scamming the Black Poor and Sick – Lead Paint Settlement Scam

Children poisoned by lead paint exposure suffer lifelong difficulties.

For decades, we’ve known that exposure to high levels of lead can damage the nervous system in children, causing problems that range from hearing loss and seizures to unconsciousness and death. More recent research has demonstrated a link between even relatively low levels of exposure and a variety of subtle cognitive problems including learning disabilities and decreased intelligence.

Children are more sensitive to the harmful effects of lead than adults, because more of the lead they swallow gets into their bloodstream. Children also are at greater risk because they often play on the floor or ground, where lead-contaminated dust or soil is found. And they are much more likely than adults to put this material in their mouths.

This one oddly has a connection to Freddy Gray…

Structured Settlement companies have targeted Baltimore – some of them are crooks.


How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks

The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”

She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.

So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.

The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.

“It’s been sold?” Rose asked, memories soon flashing.

She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.

Rose, who court records say suffers from “irreversible brain damage,” didn’t have a lot of friends. She didn’t trust many people. Growing up off North Avenue in West Baltimore, she said she’s seen people killed.

But Brendan was different. He bought her a fancy meal at Longhorn Steakhouse, she said, and guaranteed a vacation for the family. He seemed like a gentleman, someone she said she could trust.

One day soon after, a notary arrived at her house and slid her a 12-page “purchase” agreement. Rose was alone. But she wasn’t worried. She said she spoke to a lawyer named Charles E. Smith on the phone about the contract. She felt confident in what it stated. She was selling some checks in the distant future for some quick money, right?

The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.

In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000…

But to critics, Access Funding is part of an industry that profits off the poor and disabled. And Baltimore has become a prime target. It’s here that one teen — diagnosed with “mild mental retardation,” court records show — sold her payments through 2030 in four deals and is now homeless. It’s here that companies blanket certain neighborhoods in advertisements, searching for a potentially lucrative type of inhabitant, whose stories recall the legacy of Freddie Gray.

Before his April death after being severely injured in police custody, before this hollowed-out city plunged into rioting, the life of Freddie Gray was a case study in the effect of lead paint on poor blacks. The lead poisoning Gray suffered as a child may have contributed to his difficulties with learning, truancy and arrests — all of it culminating in a 2008 lead-paint lawsuit and a windfall of cash locked inside a structured settlement. By late 2013, Gray was striking deals with Access Funding…More here…

When my mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the scam artists seemed to know to call her. These guys prey on the weak, sick, and uneducated…

Too bad they almost never go to jail.

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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in American Greed


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The Civil War…It Was About Slavery, Period

The Southern Myth has an entire alternate universe explanation about the causes of “The War Between the States”… COvering up the real reasons.

This is Col Ty Seidule, Head of the History Department at West Point

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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in American Greed, Black History


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Congressional Black Caucus – Silicon Valley

This one from the guys who brought you the doctored Shirley Sherrod video, and the white pimp, James O’Keefe doctored videos on Acorn. So what I mean is, these guys aren’t exactly legitimate news people…Or legitimate much else for that matter.

In this article the Congressional Black Caucus is “threatening” Silicon Valley.


On Monday, the Congressional Black Caucus sent members to Silicon Valley to bully high-tech companies into hiring more blacks as part of their Tech 2020 Initiative.

According to KQED, North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chair of the caucus, intoned, “Their Equal Opportunity Employment reports are embarrassing. It should be embarrassing to all of them. They have acknowledged they have shortcomings and want to partner with us to improve the results.  But all of them have a long way to go with diversity.”

Butterfield joined Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) at various companies, including Apple, Google, Intel and SAP; on Tuesday they visited Pandora. On their tour, they spoke with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich.

Apple acknowledged in 2014 that its employee base was 55% white, 15% Asian, 11% Latino and 7% percent black, prompting Cook to moan, “As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page.” KQED reported that 2% of Google Employees are black.

Jeffries threatened, “Many of these companies have issues before the Congress of the United States, and the relationship needs to be one of partnerships. We’re open to hearing the issues that they need to get resolved in order to put their businesses in the best possible position to be successful, but we want to make sure that everyone in this country has the opportunity to robustly pursue the American Dream.” Butterfield argued that the high-tech companies also function as federal contractors, adding, “And as such they have a responsibility first of all to be accountable to the federal government and also to be diverse in their workforce. We’re going to continue to challenge these companies until they get parity.”

Lee had already claimed the companies were federal contractors in May, stating, “Many of these companies are federal contractors, first of all, and they have an obligation to be inclusive. We want to see [diversity] plans from each company, and see how they’re going to invest.”

Google, Apple and Intel issued the necessary statements to appease the caucus; Yolanda Mangolini, Google’s director of diversity and inclusion, asserted, “We look forward to continuing conversations we’ve had in Washington with the Congressional Black Caucus and we welcome their visit. We share their commitment to enhancing the diversity of our organization and the tech industry more broadly.”

An Apple spokeswoman wrote, “We believe diversity is critical to making the best products in the world. It’s the reason we’re focused on changing the pipeline for the future workforce with programs like ConnectEd and also working to find the most diverse talent with programs like National Center for Women & Information technology and Thurgood Marshall College Fund. We look forward to continuing our work with the Congressional Black Caucus towards our shared goal of equal access to opportunities in technology.”

Now, to me at least – if you want those Tech Companies to hire black folks – you need know only three things. First, looking at the graduate degrees in Computer Sciences, black folks now graduate with about 12% of all Phd’s in the field… The problem?

Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Technology companies blame the pool of job applicants for the severe shortage of blacks and Hispanics in Silicon Valley.

But these findings show that claim “does not hold water,” said Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School in New York.

Meaning Apple’s line about the lack of talent and needing to “change the pipeline” is complete and utter bullshit. Why exactly didn’t these exalted Representatives “of the people” call them on it? Of course, with school segregation firmly in place in California under the guise of Prop 209, the vast majority of those black grads are coming from eastern schools, which don’t practice segregation.

Lastly – where are those jobs going? Try the H1b Program, where jobs which cannot be filled by the supposedly nonexistent Minority Graduates…

Are filled by Ivan from Russia, Wan from China, or Vishnu from India…At roughly 1/3 the salary.

So if the Congressional Black Caucus actually had anyone smart enough to diagnose the problem – or the cajones to do something about it… The solution is real easy.

Kill H1b. And watch the Republicans whine.

Come on down and get your black Yellowback Donkey Award!

Demo Yellow Donkey

Yellowback Donkey Award presented to the most cowardly and useless Democrats


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The Man Who Killed Simba

Fury Erupts After Walter Palmer Is Named As Cecil The Lion’s Killer

Outcries could be heard around the globe after a Minnesota dentist was identified as the man who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.

Dr. Walter Palmer was named by the Telegraph as the man who paid $55,000 to hunt the famous 13-year-old animal, luring him out of Hwange National Park with dead meat, piercing him with a bow and arrow, and then following him for 40 hours before shooting him dead with a rifle. Cecil was ultimately skinned and beheaded.

Outrage ensued. People tweeted death threats directed at Palmer and posted contact information for his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice, BuzzFeed wrote. The Yelp page for his practice was flooded with over 6,000 reviews, lambasting Palmer for his actions and resulting in a one-star rating.

He closed his dental practice and shut the blinds at the office, but that did not stop people from leaving stuffed animals and notes outside the building in memory of Cecil, Fox’s Minneapolis station KMSP reported.

Cecil was wearing a GPS collar as part of an ongoing research project with the University of Oxford, according to the Guardian. After he was killed, the collar was removed.

“Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but this shot didn’t kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said. “They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun. The hunters then found that the dead lion was wearing a tracking collar, which they unsuccessfully tried to hide.”

Palmer released a statement to the media, claiming he thought his hunt was legal:

I hired several professional guides, and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.

In 2006, Palmer pleaded guilty to killing a black bear in Wisconsin outside a permitted zone, NBC noted. He was given three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine.

Almost 400,000 people have a signed a petition on Care2 demanding justice for Cecil.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Africa, American Greed


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What Happened to That American Exceptionalism? There is None Anymore…

America has been on the decline since Raygun – despite on small moment of high achievement and expectations during the Clinton Administration.

The lang fall into mediocrity in America can be traced directly to the steps of the conservatives in America. Al most every country which is superior to the US in any category has a government and social system which conservatives would call “socialism”. Quite frankly – socialism is kicking our ass.

I am going to start with parts of an article in Fortune Magazine… 12 signs America is on the decline.

1. Median household income

Rank of U.S.: 27th out of 27 high-income countries

Americans may feel like global leaders, but Spain, Cyprus and Qatar all have higher median household incomes than America’s (about $54,000). So does much of Europe and the industrialized world. Per capita median income in the US ($18,700) is also relatively low–and unchanged since 2000. A middle-class Canadian’s income is now higher.

2. Education and skills

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 23 countries

The US ranked near the bottom in a skills survey by theOrganization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which examined European and other developed nations. In its Skills Outlook 2013, the US placed 16th in adult literacy, 21st in adult numeracy out of 23, and 14th in problem-solving. Spots in prestigious US universities are highly sought-after. Yet higher education, once an effective way out of poverty in the US, isn’t anymore – at least not for lower-income and minority students. The authors quote studies showing, for example, that today 80% of white college students attend Barron’s Top 500 schools, while 75% of black and Latino students go to two-year junior colleges or open-admissions (not Top 500) schools. Poor students are also far less likely to complete a degree.

3. Internet speed and access

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 34 countries

Broadband access has become essential for industry to grow and flourish. Yet in the US, penetration is low andspeed relatively slow versus wealthy nations—thought thecost of internet is among the highest ($0.04 per megabit per second in Japan, for example, versus $0.53 in the US). The problem may be too much concentration and too little competition in the industry, the authors suggest.

4. Health

Rank of U.S.: 33rd out of 145 countries

When it comes to its citizens’ health, in countries that are home to at least one million people, the US ranks below many other wealthy countries. More American women also are dying during pregnancy and childbirth, the authors note, quoting a Lancet study. For every 100,000 births in the United States, 18.5 women die. Saudi Arabia and Canada have half that maternal death rate.

5. People living below the poverty line

Rank of U.S.: 36th out of 162 countries, behind Morocco and Albania

Officially, 14.5% of Americans are impoverished — 45.3 million people–according to the latest US Census data.That’s a larger fraction of the population in poverty than Morocco and Albania (though how nations define poverty varies considerably). The elderly have Social Security, with its automatic cost-of-living adjustments, to thank, the authors say, for doing better: Few seniors (one in 10) are poor today versus 50 years ago (when it was one in three). Poverty is also down among African Americans. Now America’s poor are more often in their prime working years, or in households headed by single mothers.

6. Children in poverty

Rank of U.S.: 34th out of 35 countries surveyed

When UNICEF relative poverty – relative to the average in each society—the US ranked at the bottom, above only Romania, even as Americans are, on average, six times richer than Romanians. Children in all of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan fare better.

7. Income inequality

Rank of U.S.: Fourth highest inequality in the world.

The authors argue that the most severe inequality can be found in Chile, Mexico, Turkey — and the US. Citing the Gini coefficient, a common inequality metric, and data from Wall Street Journal/Mercer Human Resource Consulting, they say this inequality slows economic growth, impedes youths’ opportunities, and ultimately threatens the nation’s future (an OECD video explains). Worsening income inequality is also evident in the ratio of averageCEO earnings to average workers’ pay. That ratio went from 24:1 in 1965 to 262:1 in 2005.

8. Prison population

Rank of U.S.: First out of 224 countries

More than 2.2 million Americans are in jail. Only China comes close, the authors write, with about 1.66 million.

9. Life satisfaction

Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 36 countries

The authors note Americans’ happiness score is only middling, according to the OECD Better Life Index. (The index measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings.) People in New Zealand, Finland, and Israel rate higher in life satisfaction. A UN report had a similar finding.

10. Corruption

Rank of U.S.: 17th out of 175 countries.

Barbados and Luxembourg are ahead of the US when it comes to citizens’ perceptions of corruption. Americans view their country as “somewhat corrupt,” the authors note, according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based nonprofit. In a separate survey of American citizens, many said politicians don’t serve the majority’s interest, but are biased toward corporate lobbyists and the super-rich. “Special interest groups are gradually transforming the United States into an oligarchy,” the authors argue, “concerned only about the needs of the wealthy.”

11. Stability

Rank of U.S.: 20th out of 178 countries.

The Fragile States Index considers factors such as inequality, corruption, and factionalism. The US lags behind Portugal, Slovenia and Iceland.

12. Social progress index

Rank of U.S.: 16th out of 133 countries

A broad measure of social well-being, the index comprises 52 economic indicators such as access to clean water and air, access to advanced education, access to basic knowledge, and safety. Countries surpassing the US include Ireland, the UK, Iceland, and Canada.

“If America’s going to be great again, we’ve got to start fixing things,” Friedman said.

Just for the heck of it, I am going to add a couple more…

Economic Mobility

If you work hard you can achieve”…A poor kid has a better chance of achieving reaching the higher economic levels in other countries. The US lag is getting worse.

The following chart only compares the 27 industrialized countries. The US actually drops to 17th if you include Second World Countries.

Infant Mortality

Your baby has a 2.5 times greater chance of dying prenatal, or postnatal covering the first year of life than in Japan or Finland. For black mothers that is about 4 times greater.

The US ranks 27th of the 27 Industrialized Nations… Comparing it to all nations we are about 40th behind Cuba.

Suicide Rate

America is in the middle of the pack. However the rate of suicides in the US exceeds that of Libya, the Central African Republic, Brazil, and China to name a few. Mental health care in the US is seriously lacking.

Racial Discrimination and Violence Against Minorities (Ethnic or racial)

America is a sad 37th.

Educational Attainment

Guess what guys…America has dropped to 16th.

Face i…This country would be far better off deporting Republicans than Illegal Immigrants.


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The New Jim Crow — Slavery in America…In 2015

Slavery in America never really went entirely away. And while most of the news about slavery here, and the majority of cases involving human trafficking are in the sex trade – it is growing in other areas. Something on the order of 65-150,000 people are held in modern slavery in the US.

It’s Easy For Traffickers To Exploit Magazine Salespeople. But The Industry Can Change That

Traffickers have become so adept at exploiting their victims in broad daylight that you may have purchased an item from their menu of goods from the comfort of your own home.

“Knocking at Your Door,” a new report released by nonprofit Polaris, details how little oversight there is in the door-to-door sales industry, which makes it a ripe environment for traffickers to lure in vulnerable victims. Between 2008 and this year, 419 reports of possible human trafficking cases involving traveling sales crews were made to two organizations that support this specific demographic.

That’s more than any other industry except domestic work.

While advertisements typically indicate that workers must be at least 18 years old, children are hardly spared from this industry.

A decade ago, the Child Labor Coalition estimated that more than 50,000 children were forced to work for groups that sell magazines, the Atlantic reported earlier this year. But Reid Maki, CLC coordinator, believes that number hasn’t budged much since.

It’s become this little world of people operating in the shadows, and they’ve become very good at working the system,” Maki told the news outlet. “There are so many areas of magazine crews operating just outside the law that seem unconnected, but they’re not. They keep one step ahead of the authorities.”

But those figures likely belie the full picture considering that victims are often too fearful to come forward and report their traffickers.

The traveling sales industry is particularly appealing to traffickers because the crews rarely stay in one place for long and itinerant sales workers are considered independent contractors. That means they’re exempt from federal and state minimum wage requirements, overtime and other employment protections, according to the report.

And when businesses are flagged for questionable practices, they can change their name and register in another state with ease.

The bulk of such cases involve magazines sales, specifically.

Of the 357 cases that were reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, 64 percent referenced magazine sales.

Many publishers aren’t even aware that such rings exist, and often don’t have the resources to monitor all of their selling agents.

The corrupt selling agents have developed a layered system that hooks vulnerable people and traps them with threats, force and manipulation…more

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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in American Genocide, American Greed


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