Tag Archives | Economy

EBT System Glitch Shows Welfare Myths Just Won’t Die

nytimes_welfare_queenAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Glitches in the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system caused major problems for recipients of food stamps over the weekend in 17 states. The problems began on Saturday when Xerox, the company responsible for running the system, experienced “technical difficulties” during a “routine test” of its backup systems. In some cases, EBT beneficiaries were unable to use their cards. In others, the spending limit on the cards was removed, allowing EBT users to purchase as much as they wanted.

As typical with any big breaking news story, the internet was flooded with comments and conversation about the matter, and much of the storm was filled with anger at people who receive any kind of government assistance in getting food at all. It seems that the Reagan era myth of the “welfare queen” still lives and breathes along with many other myths about food stamps in America.… Read the rest

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Surveillance State Hurts U.S. Economy: Lavabit Likely to Move Overseas

via chycho

CaptureIn a sign of things to come for the U.S. tech industry, Ladar Levison, the owner of Lavabit, the secure private encrypted email provider that shut down after 10 years of operation (2, 3) because he decided not to abide by the demands made by the United States government to spy on their 400,000 plus users, explains that if he loses his case against the U.S. government he will most likely hand over his company to someone overseas and let them run it. It’s important to note that the U.S. government already new that this would be the end result, that revelations about NSA’s PRISM program would hurt American Technology companies, but they didn’t really care.

Levison clarifies his position in the following interview on Democracy Now!. The segment in which he makes these comments occurs at approximately the 11 minute mark, but the whole interview is well worth watching, especially the part just before these comments where he explains how the U.S.Read the rest

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The 2005 Bankruptcy Bill: Knowing a Financial Crisis Was Imminent, Banks Lobbied Government to Pass Laws to Preserve Their Wealth

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bankruptcy

Our government representatives would like us to believe that the subprime mortgage crisis (2, 3, 4, 5) could not have been predicted. The truth is, the collapse was expected and authorities were well aware that crimes were being committed.


I. Introduction

It is said that if you want to find the corrupt, follow the money. This catchphrase, however, cannot be used as a preventative measure; it can only be used in retrospect to punish perpetrators of a crime. It does very little to protect us from predators. This is unfortunate when applied to our current crony capitalistic system; a wrong decision in our personal finances can mean the difference between living a life of debt servitude or one of freedom.

In our current centralized economic system, the best way to avoid pitfalls and preserve wealth, improving lifestyle, is to pay close attention to changes in laws and be mindful of their implications.… Read the rest

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The Ugly Truth: What the Drop in Unemployment Doesn’t Tell You.

ratrace

It’s the same game, only harder!

The truth is out.  We are living in a time when a shocking four out of 5 U.S. adults will struggle with joblessness or poverty.  This revelation not only flies directly in the face of another drop in unemployment, but reconfirms what many of us had already known, we’re in trouble.

If you find yourself looking for a job, you’re in an over-crowded market where the young and educated are relegated to jobs well below their intellectual station. This is due in part to the heavy competition at the of the top of the job market among the highly-skilled.  Basically, those left out of the jobs they really want are knocked down a peg, creating what Economist Paul Beaudry calls “cascading.”  The top pushes down on the middle and the middle pushes down on the bottom, burying those who are most vulnerable and under-qualified.

This phenomenon stems from what’s been deemed  The Great Reversal.”  That is, there used to be an over-abundance of high-paying jobs that required skill, intellectual capital and education, but now there just aren’t.  In fact, demand for those types of jobs peaked all the way back in the year 2000.  That’s right, even with all this talk of a “skills gap,” the need for high-skill jobs actually stopped growing 13 years ago.… Read the rest

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McDonalds’ Budgeting Website Clearly Out of Touch With Reality of Employees’ Lives

imagesAre you “loving it” yet?

Via Addicting Info:

For this budget to work, this hypothetical worker of two jobs is living in a roommate situation, likely with four people. They, therefore, can pool their resources in order to live in most areas of the country on this budget. This is the lifestyle of Generation X, but rejected by the Millenials. The Millenials are redefining the system, throwing older models into chaos as a result.

As for McDonald’s, they have, in their budgeting example, have also demonstrated how out of touch they are with their own workers. They do not understand the cost of healthcare, the cost of rent, or even the cost of food, which is highly ironic considering what their business is. They have, in a single document, destroyed their own case for keeping wages low, displaying that the only way their workers can survive is with a second job, living with roommates, and eating like crap.

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Five Corporation-Crushing Disruptive Technologies That Will Empower the Masses

disruptive tech headerEveryone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways.  Just look at Big Oil.  We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world.  Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind.  Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion).  Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit.  Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone.  For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at.  Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.

However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest

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Fake Store Fronts in Belfast to Boost Economy?


WeAreChange goes to Belfast see for themselves the way Northern Ireland has decided to handle the economic hardships in their neighborhoods. Through various cities, the Northern Irish government has spent around £2 million on plastering up photos of fake storefronts where businesses once operates. These have been here for over a year but governments in multiple other cities have decided to do the same to put up a false sense of a thriving economy for the G8. This is another example of governments attempting to mask the problems of recession since the bank bailouts instead of actually doing something about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O45ooqXua3Q

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Why Stocks Have Risen: Stimulus, Stimulus, and Indefinite-Stimulus, i.e., Transfer of Wealth from Main Street to Wall Street

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wealth_distribution

Since bottoming out at an intra-day low of 6,467 on March 6, 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) has risen to 15,295 as of May 23, 2013 – a gain of approximately 130% in just over 4 years. The S&P 500 has shown similar results, advancing from an intra-day low of 666 to 1,650 for the same period, a gain of approximately 125%. Stellar returns.

As to why the markets have risen at historic rates during times of austerity economics? The answer is simple, it’s due to quantitative easing (QE) began by centralized banks after the market crash of 2008 – “fundamentally a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy.”

The amount of stimulus used varies depending on your definition of stimulus, so we won’t bother keeping tabs on the trillions that have been dumped into the markets in the last 4 years.

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How Capitalism Creates the Welfare State

Andrew Sullivan writes:

The two concepts are usually seen in complete opposition in our political discourse. The more capitalism and wealth, the familiar argument goes, the better able we are to do without a safety net for the poor, elderly, sick and young. And that’s true so far as it goes. What it doesn’t get at is that the forces that free market capitalism unleashes are precisely the forces that undermine traditional forms of community and family that once served as a traditional safety net, free from government control. In the West, it happened slowly – with the welfare state emerging in 19th century Germany and spreading elsewhere, as individuals uprooted themselves from their home towns and forged new careers, lives and families in the big cities, with all the broken homes, deserted villages, and bewildered families they left behind. But in South Korea, the shift has been so sudden and so incomplete that you see just how powerfully anti-family capitalism can be:

[The] nation’s runaway economic success … has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries.

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