Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's the RepubliCONs and Wall Street vs. Main Street

UPDATE II:  "Huzzah! Hang the celebratory banners! Unleash the confetti! Happy days are here again. The Dow Jones industrial average closed yesterday [March 5, 2013] at 14,253.77! . .

But since the initial Obama stimulus has tapered off, and the banks strengthened, the throw-it-all-at-the-wall strategy has given way to a world where Congress sits on its hands and avoids anything that gives off a whiff of being 'stimulus' (even Democrats avoid the term). And the Fed has been the only game in town, trying to spur growth through a series of unconventional steps."

Read the Washington Post, The stock market is back, but the economy isn’t. Blame Congress. 

UPDATE:  It's been "a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India. . .

Corporate earnings have risen at an annualized rate of 20.1 percent since the end of 2008, he said, but disposable income inched ahead by 1.4 percent annually over the same period, after adjusting for inflation."

Read The New York Times, Recovery in U.S. Is Lifting Profits, but Not Adding Jobs.

"Here are two things that are true about the economy today.

(1) The Dow Jones industrial average is poised to set a new record as corporate profits stretch to all-time highs.

(2) There are still fewer working Americans today than there were before the start of the Great Recession.

The fact that these two things can be true at the same time might outrage you. But it shouldn't surprise you. In the last 30 years, there has been a great divergence between growth and workers' incomes, as the New York Times reminds us today. Corporate profits have soared, in the last decade especially, particularly because of three things: Globalization has pushed down the cost of labor available to multinational corporations; technology has allowed companies to make more with fewer workers, in general; and Big Finance has gobbled up the economy, as the banks' share of total corporate profits has tripled to about one-third since the middle of the last century."

Read The Atlantic, Corporate Profits Are Eating the Economy, which includes these graphs:

(Remember that bailout, Wall Street say thanks suckers!)

Now do you understand the unholy alliance of the Republi-cons and their corporate overlords
in their war on the middle class?

The Sequester Was the Republi-CON Ransom Payment

UPDATE:  After the 2012 election, "many Republicans interpreted the loss as a message that the GOP’s monomaniacal focus on government spending wasn’t helping the party. But while that might be a convincing political diagnosis, the reality is that the members of the House Republican Conference remain monomaniacally focused on spending cuts, and they’re forcing the GOP even further to the right on the issue."

Read the Washington Post, The GOP’s moving even further right on spending.

And you thought those Republi-cons were crazy before.

The sequester "was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the ransom Republican leaders received for agreeing to let the U.S. government pay its bills.

Traditionally, the debt ceiling had been a symbolic cap, an opportunity for members of Congress in the minority party (including a certain Illinois Senator Barack Obama back in 2006) to grandstand about the fiscal irresponsibility of the majority party before the limit was increased. (In Obama’s semi-defense, the irresponsibility of tax-cutting, big-spending Republicans in the Bush era was truly breathtaking.) After their big congressional wins in the 2010 midterms, though, GOP leaders declared that the debt was out of control, so they would not raise the debt limit without an equivalent amount of spending cuts. They threatened to force the U.S. government into default—essentially, to crash the global economy—unless Obama accepted a massive rollback of the welfare state. . .

Incredibly, Republicans (who overwhelmingly voted for the sequester) are now calling it the 'Obamaquester,' like kidnappers claiming the ransom was their victim’s idea because he came up with the method of payment. If they really hate the sequester as much as they claim, they could always just cancel it—but of course, they don’t want to do that."

Read Time, The Sequester Is a Republican-Inflicted Wound.