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Why Conservatism is a Failure

Real easy now to see the failure of conservative philosophy…

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The conservative formula is wrong: Why liberal states won America’s tax experiment

Conservatives have been telling us that a healthy economy depends on low taxes, few regulations and low wages

This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.

For years, conservatives have been telling us that a healthy business-friendly economy depends on low taxes, few regulations and low wages. Are they right?

We’ve had an experiment going on here in the United States that provides an answer.

At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations and lowest wages.

At the other end is California, featuring among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; lots of regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; and high wages.

So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.

Actually, it’s just the opposite. For years now, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank. Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.

But what about so-called over-taxed, over-regulated, high-wage California? California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. In other words, conservatives have it exactly backwards.

So why are Kansas and Texas doing so badly? And California so well?

Because taxes enable states to invest in their people — their education and skill-training, great research universities that spawn new industries and attract talented innovators and inventors worldwide, and modern infrastructure.

That’s why California is the world center of high-tech, entertainment and venture capital.

Kansas and Texas haven’t been investing nearly to the same extent.

California also provides services to a diverse population including many who are attracted to California because of its opportunities.

And California’s regulations protect the public health and the state’s natural beauty, which also draws people to the state — including talented people who could settle anywhere.

Wages are high in California because the economy is growing so fast employers have to pay more for workers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, the goal isn’t just growth. It’s a high standard of living.

Now in fairness, Texas’s problems are also linked to the oil bust. But that’s really no excuse because Texas has failed to diversify its economy. And here again, it hasn’t made adequate investments.

California is far from perfect. A housing shortage has been driving rents and home prices into the stratosphere. And roads are clogged. Much more needs to be done.

But overall, the contrast is clear. Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public health. And true economic success results in high wages.

So the next time you hear a conservative say “low taxes, few regulations and low wages are the keys to economic business-friendly success,” just remember Kansas, Texas and California.

The conservative formula is wrong.

 

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Carrier Employees Pissed Over Trump Lies

About those 1100 American jobs the Chumph lied about…

 

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The Obama Economy

About that economy Obama supposedly wrecked…

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U.S. jobless claims at 43-year low; import price deflation easing

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits held at a 43-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department added to data such as September automobile sales and manufacturing and services sector surveys in reinforcing the view that economic growth picked up in the third quarter after a sluggish performance in the first half of the year.

“The data are making the Fed’s current policy look too wrong footed and the markets are waiting for them to get back on track, most likely in December,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 246,000 for the week ended Oct. 8, the lowest reading since November 1973, the Labor Department said.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

It was the 84th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with robust labor market conditions.

That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.

 

The dollar fell against a basket of currencies, while U.S. Treasuries rose.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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How “Outsourcing” Has Killed the Middle Class

The twin demons destroying the American Middle Class are Offshoring, and “Outsourcing”. They call it the “Gig economy”, and to be honest it is pretty f’cked up for the employees.

Offshoring is responsible for the massive growth of the Chinese economy. Back during Clinton and Bushit American companies off shored all of the computer chip Foundries. This resulted in a massive growth in the Chinese economy, and left America without a foundry on American soil capable of producing the high density chips used in everything from TVs to our most advanced weapons systems. No wonder the Chinese Military has been able to upgrade their weapons systems and  launch Astronauts into space. We gave them the technology, all because of Wall Street greed and corporate avarice.

People work at SITEL, an outsourcing call center provider, in Managua, Nicaragua on July 3, 2012. [AFP]

A sweatshop call center in Nicaragua.

Worse was the loss of American jobs, manufacturing through the movement of factories off shore, and high tech through a combination of H1b Visas enabling companies to bring cheap workers over from India and other countries to displace American Graduates, and second “Outsourcing” where either American jobs were shipped overseas, or to sweat shops on American soil. This is the driver behind Trump, and Sanders, Unfortunately in Trump’s supporter’s case they would rather cling to their racism and blame minorities – than blame who is actually screwing them. Stupid is and Stupid does.

Surge in outsourcing wipes out middle-class jobs

For nearly 20 years Alfredo Molena made a middle-class living repairing bank ATMs in Los Angeles, despite being a high school dropout and immigrant from El Salvador.

By 2000 he was earning about $45,000 a year, enough to support his wife and two children in a spacious apartment and take periodic vacations to El Salvador and Hawaii. He had health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan, and a company-supplied cellphone and vehicle. But it all unraveled in 2005 after his employer, Bank of America, subcontracted the work to Diebold Inc., a firm specializing in servicing ATMs.

Today Molena drives a truck long-haul for about $30,000 a year, putting him in the bottom third of household incomes. He has no medical insurance. “I cannot afford it,” he snapped.

Globalization and the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries are commonly blamed for driving down the wages and living standards of ordinary American workers, but there is another, less-known factor behind the shrinking middle class: domestic outsourcing.

Many jobs have been farmed out by employers over the years. No one knows their total numbers, but rough estimates based on the growth of temporary-help and other business and professional service payrolls suggest that one in six jobs today are subcontracted, or almost 20 million positions, said Lynn Reaser, economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Separate Labor Department data show that some of these occupations have seen a significant decline in inflation-adjusted, or real, wages over the last decade.

In 2005, there were 138,210 workers nationwide who repaired ATMs, computers and other office machines, earning a mean annual salary of $37,640.

Ten years later, the number of such jobs had shrunk to 106,100, with most of them subcontracted at annual pay of $38,990. But after accounting for inflation, that’s a drop of about 15 percent from 2005.

By contrast, real wages for all occupations rose 1.3 percent between 2005 and 2015 � itself a tiny gain over the last decade, but still significantly more than those hit by domestic outsourcing.

“If a firm wants to save labor costs, outsourcing is just a way of resetting wages and expectations,” said Susan Houseman, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Unlike the effect of offshoring, with its relocation of jobs and plants abroad, economists know relatively little about the extent and effects of decades of subcontracting production and services to third parties in the U.S. But what research has been done suggests the practice has played a significant role in the nation’s troubling trends of stagnating wages and rising inequality.

Rosemary Batt and other researchers at Cornell University found that large employers at subcontracted call centers, for instance, paid their workers about 40 percent less than comparable workers employed in-house at large firms, not including the value of health and retirement benefits…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2016 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Understanding the War Against NAFTA

And you have to wonder why people are pissed?

Souring Chicago’s sweet treat: Corporate greed, American unions, and moving the Oreo to Mexico

Corporate executives saved $47 million by moving Oreo production to Mexico, but cost 600 in Chicago their jobs

For generations, kids from age 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year, ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour.

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renowned facility  after more than half a century and millions of Oreos — was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.

In Salinas, Mexico.

For decades, the Marquette Park community has been proud that the delectable smell of “milk’s favorite cookie” wafts through their neighborhood. But the noses of Nabisco’s corporate brass are clogged with greed, incapable of sniffing out anything but ever-fatter profits for themselves and other rich shareholders. Taking the NAFTA low road, they intend to move the iconic Oreo brand — and the jobs of 600 top-quality bakery workers — from Chicago to Mexico, where the minimum wage is a bit more than $4. Not per hour, but per day.

This is the tyranny of corporate globalization in action. In 2012 Kraft Foods split off its grocery business, which retained the Kraft name, and rebranded its remaining snack-food empire as Mondelez International, which includes Nabisco and its many brands including Triscuit, Planters nuts, Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy and Oreos.

Such corporate empires now reign over millions of working families, arrogantly and even lawlessly making self-serving decisions from within the shrouded confines of faraway executive suites — wreaking havoc on workers, local economies, democratic values, and our sense of community. People affected are given no input or warning (much less any real say-so) in the profiteering that now routinely strikes us, like a lightning bolt from hell.

Worse, the so-called humans who’ve enthroned themselves with this autocratic power find it amusing to toy with those they rule over. Mondelez executives did exactly that after their sneak attack on Chicago’s bakery workers. In a crude ploy to shift blame for the loss of jobs to the union, the plutocratic powerhouse claimed it had made an offer to Local 300 to keep producing Oreos in Chicago, but that recalcitrant union officials refused.

Of course they did, for Mondelez essentially proposed that the workers commit mass financial suicide. Here’s the “offer”: Since the move to Mexico is expected to save $46 million a year, the conglomerate would graciously let the 600 ransom their jobs by paying that $46 million themselves. Just slash your annual pay and benefits (as well as your throats) by that amount, the executives told the union, and you can keep making Oreos for us.

This act was an astonishing, unprecedented insulting slap in the face of every middle-class worker in the U.S. Mondelez sapsuckers were effectively demanding that longtime, dedicated, productive employees subsidize the conglomerate and ransom their livelihoods by reducing their income to poverty. Note that Mondelez banked $7 billion in profit last year.

If its executives are so inept that they can’t find an honest way to fill a $46-million hole, they should dock the pay of their top three executives by that amount. They can damn sure afford it, for they totaled $37 million in compensation last year. CEO Irene Rosenfeld alone took a $20 million paycheck in 2015, bringing her eight-year total pay and benefits to almost $200 million.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in American Greed

 

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John Oliver Eviscerates Credit Bureaus

In any other industry –

If 30% of the cars made by a car company were delivered to customers without wheels…

If 30% of the ladders sold to customers failed on the first use…

If 30% of the shirts or blouses fell apart on first wearing…

If 30% of the airplanes crashed…

If the construction company didn’t put covers on 30% of the manholes…

They would be on a real short trip to being out of business.

So why is it, Credit Bureaus get away with egregious errors which can ruin people’s lives, with at least 25-35% of the data they collect being false or fraudulent?

Unemployed for 6 or more months and having troubles paying bills? Well, the very same companies fix it so you can never get a job…So you CAN pay those bills. It is the electronic version of the Debtor’s Prison.

You want to save America, Ms Clinton, and Mr Trump, Cruz, and Sanders  – then the very first thing you can do to make things better for the middle class…

Is to clean up the Credit Bureaus and “Background check” Agencies and make it illegal to use credit information for hiring decisions except in very narrow circumstances.

Oliver’s Takedown –

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in American Greed

 

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“Whitening” That Resume

First off…Kayaking will lead to your losing your black card?

Damn…Was in the process of buying one for my shallow salt water fishing forays! I mean – is it blacker if it has an electric motor?:)

Almost any minority in the private industry high-tech fields is familiar with employment racism. It is legion (along with age discrimination), especially in the software and Internet industries. Surrounded by like looking individuals an cushioned by homogeneity, most of the folks in the senior management of many of the big names companies aren’t even aware of it, and how decisions they make promulgate it.

At worst, the black or minority applicant, worker will run into outright racism. I speak with with a very non-identifiable “Midwestern dialect” with a slight southern inflection. In the business world, it is very important to communicate clearly, and that pretty much is the Gold Standard. I had an advantage of learning it growing up, living in an International community of American professionals who worked around the world. It is de rigueur when speaking before large crowds of several thousands in business, And a lot of white guys who speak it…Didn’t learn it at home either. Since it is neutral, few, if any of the folks I talk to on the phone know I am a black person – because it doesn’t fit their stereotype. This has led to some interesting conversations, including a Headhunter from a major Software Firm calling, and letting slip in the “get to know you” conversation – “The CEO doesn’t want any “nigs” in the company”.

So called “Diversity” efforts at many companies are nothing more than a smokescreen or farce, as there are no consequences to failure. Ergo – If I want something to happen in a business, I tie it to your next raise, or bonus. You achieve “x” revenue or goal in “y” months and you get paid “z” for success and/or get promoted, and quite possibly put on the slippery slope out the door if you fail. Management by Objectives. If you look closely at how companies implement those “Diversity” programs you will notice very quickly how, almost universally the “Objectives” part is missing.

So the process of changing the Takwanieshawanna name your ignorant Mom stuck you with, or even Asian or South Asian names which are difficult for Americans to pronounce…It probably is a good idea when sending out resumes. As a warning, any company requesting a picture …Isn’t interested in hiring you. Even filling out the requested EEO information in the application process more often is detrimental than not.

Along the way there are several other minefields for the Minority applicant. 

The process of whitewashing that resume also includes whitewashing that online presence. Major business networking sites like LinkedIn request a photo of the Member. For minority applicants and members that in itself can be the kiss of death, as prospective employers frequently check business network sites for profiles and presence.

 

When Resumes Are Made ‘Whiter’ to Please Potential Employers

The job prospects of minority applicants who alter their names or experiences reveal some discouraging truths about workplace diversity efforts.

For some time now, business-school professors and HR professionals have touted the virtues of diversity in the workplace, encouraging companies and their executives to take action. The typical rationales range from moral arguments—that it’s simply the right thing to do—to more practical motivations, such as covering companies’ blind spots by having a more diverse team of problem-solvers, improving bottom lines as a result.

For companies who hear those arguments and decide to put some effort into becoming more diverse, the next steps are less straightforward. Researchers from U.C. Santa Barbara recently wrote in Harvard Business Review that despite the fact that companies spend millions on diversity programs and policies, they rarely bring results. In fact, their data showed that diversity programs simply made white workers feel that their employer was now treating minorities fairly——whether that was true or not. An increasing number of diversity initiatives are looking like they’re all talk.

A new study done by researchers at the University of Toronto and Stanford University adds another dimension to this predicament. The findings suggest that the stated aspirations of companies to become more diverse haven’t changed how they go about hiring, and that minority candidates responding to job openings that welcome diverse backgrounds might find their prospects of being hired just as limited as before.

The researchers looked into the practice of “whitening” resumes, in which minority job seekers scrub away language that might reveal their race, for fear that can it lead to conscious or unconscious discrimination—for instance, altering a “foreign-sounding” first name to something that sounds “more American.” The motivation for doing this is cynically pragmatic: The game’s not fair, so why not even the playing field in the resume-screening stage to at least get an interview?

First, the researchers conducted in-depth interview with 59 black and Asian students who were seeking jobs and internships. They found that 36 percent of their interviewees reported whitening their resumes, and two-thirds of the respondents knew of friends or family who had done so in the past. “We had first started hearing about whitening within the last few years from our students,” explained Sonia Kang, an associate professor of management at the University of Toronto and the paper’s lead author. “Students who were applying for jobs were telling us that this is something that they were doing, and something their friends were doing, and something they had sometimes been told to do when they went to career counselors.”

In addition to altering names on resumes—something half of the students in the study who whitened their resumes reported doing—the researchers discovered other common strategies for whitening resumes. For instance, some students would omit or tweak experiences so employers couldn’t identify their race. Students reported toning down racial identifiers, such as omitting being part of black or asian professional associations. Also, job seekers would purposely add experiences they considered “white”—“outdoorsy stuff such as hiking, kayaking,” Kang says. “Those were the kinds of things that people thought were tied to more mainstream white American culture.”

The study then measured how a group of minority students responded to pro-diversity language, and established that minority job seekers both pick up and react to these cues: The participants were 1.5 times less likely to whiten resumes for employers who signal that they care about diversity.

Then, the researchers tested how the labor market responded to whitening, and whether companies that emphasized the importance of diversity in their job postings would evaluate whitened resumes. They created two sets of resumes, one whitened and the other not, and randomly sent them in response to 1,600 job postings in 16 U.S. cities. They found that whitened resumes were twice as likely to get callbacks—a pattern that held even for companies that emphasized diversity.

“The most troubling part is that we saw the same kind of rates for employers who said that they were pro-diversity [in job postings] and the ones that didn’t mention it,” said Kang. “Employers are sending signals, that students are picking up on, that this is a safe place where you can use your real name and real experiences. But [the students] are not being rewarded at all. … The statements the employers are putting out there aren’t really tied to any real change in the discriminatory practices.”…Read The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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