Paul Krugman talks with Rachel Maddow:
Paul Krugman talks with Rachel Maddow:
Reports the AP via the Huffington Post:
The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.
A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.
Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs – waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example – and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.
An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers.
If you work on Wall Street it’s time to take Bill’s Hicks’ advice for advertising and marketers … because this will never happen. Sheila Bair writes in the Washington Post:
Are you concerned about growing income inequality in America? Are you resentful of all that wealth concentrated in the 1 percent? I’ve got the perfect solution, a modest proposal that involves just a small adjustment in the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy. Best of all, it will mean that none of us have to work for a living anymore.
For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them.
So why not let everyone participate? Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest.
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West discuss their new book on Democracy Now!:
The latest census data shows nearly one in two Americans, or 150 million people, have fallen into poverty — or could be classified as low income. We’re joined by Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, who continue their efforts to spark a national dialog on the poverty crisis with the new book, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.
The banks are getting back all their money, so I guess a 40% increase in the suicide rate is the blood the Tree of Liberty requires to grow. Teo Kermeliotis reports on CNN:
When Apostolos Polyzonis’s bank refused to see him last September, the 55-year-old Greek businessman had just 10 euros ($13) in his pocket. Out of work and bankrupt, he thought all he could do with his remaining money was to buy a gas can.Desperate and angry, Polyzonis stood outside the bank in central Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, doused himself in fuel and surrendered to the flames.
“At that moment, I saw my life as worthless, I really didn’t care if I was going to live or die,” recalls Polyzonis, who says he was hit by financial troubles after the bank recalled a loan given to him for his business. “My sense of living was much lower than my sense of self-respect and pride, the fact that I had lost my right to be a free Greek,” adds Polyzonis.
Relax, folks, nothing to see here. After all, I’m sure that all that austerity-funded bond money is going towards a good cause—like gold-plating the vomitorium drains in Lloyd Blankfein’s villa on the Riviera, for instance. From the BBC’s Mark Lowen:
Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament.
The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city’s busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning.
Greek media reported he had left a suicide note accusing the government of cutting his pension to nothing. Flowers have been laid at the spot where he died and tributes have been paid online.
“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.”—Extract from reputed suicide letter
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the square outside parliament on Wednesday evening, the scene of many large protests in recent months.
Reports Jon Henley in the Guardian:
In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.
None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.
In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts. “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network.
Former member of European Parliament Steve McGiffen reveals what he sees as the true purpose of the uniting of Europe under the euro currency, via Spectrezine:
Where I differ from much progressive criticism of the euro is that I actually see [the current crisis] not as proof of massive incompetence, but, in fact, as [purposeful]. The euro’s purpose was not to facilitate the creation of a Europe of transfrontier love, peace, harmony, boosted trade and economic efficiency, but to attack the economic, social and political gains of working people, accumulated over two centuries in the most bitter struggles. What is happening in country after country, starkest of all in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but also in Britain, is nothing less than the opening salvoes of a new, more intense and more dangerous phase of class war.
If governments and national banks give up the economic leverage they gain from an ability to determine their own levels of spending and borrowing, if they can no longer decide interest or exchange rates, they will have only one means left to maintain or enhance competitiveness: our wages, our pensions, our welfare rights, our children’s education, will all have to cost less – this is of course what has since been called ‘internal devaluation’.
Hmm … I wonder why this story haven’t received more attention in the years since it was reported? As Rajeev Syal reported in the Guardian:
Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.
This will raise questions about crime’s influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations.
If you missed this one, what’s this whole “accountability” thing about when it comes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Michael Day reports in the Independent:
After several years of scandal in which the Catholic Church has faced allegations of financial impropriety, paedophile priests and rumours of plots to kill the Pope, the Vatican is now facing a new €600m-a-year tax bill as Rome seeks to head off European Commission censure over controversial property tax breaks enjoyed by the Church.
As the EC heads closer to officially condemning the fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the Berlusconi administration, Prime Minister Mario Monti has written to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, saying that the Vatican will resume property tax, or Ici, payments.
Mr Almunia said in 2010 that the exemption amounted to state aid that might breach EU competition law. A parliamentary proposal by the Italian Radicals party last August to repeal the exemption, with a successful petition on Facebook, upped the pressure.