Economy and Business
Thanks to massive bailout funding from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, Wall Street survived the financial crash it created. This year, its titans are enjoying record share prices, corporate profits, and executive bonuses. The financial assets of America’s billionaires and the idle cash reserves of the most profitable corporations are at historic highs. Their biggest challenge is figuring out where to park all their cash.
My father, long dead, spent his working years in tool and die shops in Detroit, an experience from which he crafted a political, economic, and social philosophy of life. “They’re all in it together,” he would say. That was the very core of the philosophy.
The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, which means yet more Americans are waking up to the disorienting experience of having no job to report to. How are they coping?
Does it matter that no cell phones are made in America? Or scarcely any solar panels? Or that 91 percent of Walmart’s goods come from China? Should we care that our sundry free trade agreements have caused so many of those spiffy products on our shelves to be produced in the world’s grimmest sweatshops?
We’ll hold our first national Care Congress in Washington, DC, on July 12, where we will be joined by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and other government and elected officials. Regional care congresses, in Seattle, San Antonio and other cities will follow so that communities can grow and develop grassroots campaigns that address local needs within the larger national vision.
When Enron collapsed, electricity markets were prone to gaming and corruption. And, it turns out, they still are. Shrewd energy traders are still at it, discovering and exploiting flaws and loopholes, often at the general public’s expense.
I love economists — they’re so optimistic. They’re no used car salesmen, but they’re never as gloomy as the data they traffic in. The reason for all this sunshine is plain enough — it’s what they’re paid for. With few exceptions, the only economists we hear from work for Wall Street, Congress, the White House, big media, or other groups with a public axe to grind.
Apple, like most other electronics companies, makes liberal use of an ore called columbite-tantalite — widely known as coltan — whose electrical retention properties improve the battery lives of electronic devices. While Australia is the world’s largest coltan producer, suppliers for Apple and its competitors often prefer to buy their coltan at lower cost from mining operations in war-ravaged eastern Congo.