Economy and Business
“Don’t believe everything you read in the papers,” Grandma said. We all learned that as kids, but sometimes we swallow dumb stuff anyway. Like now. We want to believe the economy is improving, so we grasp at headlines or TV news leads that offer hope. But those hopes are fools’ gold. The media mostly feature reports of growth because that’s what advertisers, especially real estate and stock brokers, want to hear. Glowing reports stimulate buyers.
There’s one direct, grassroots way that workaday folks can create more fairness in our country’s plutocratic, corporate-controlled economy: unite in unions. Indeed, some 60 million workers say they’d join a union today if they could.
Yes, it’s an actual word, derived from “plutocracy.” It was coined in 2005 by a team of “global investment strategists” at Citigroup, the Wall Street financial giant. While populism is based on the egalitarian principle of the common good, plutonomism unabashedly espouses the virtue of “the rich getting richer.”
I have here in my hand, as Sen. Joe McCarthy used to say about alleged communist evidence, a bona-fide “Delivery Authorization” from Wachovia Bank (“a Wells Fargo Company”). They’ve already sent two. By simply moving a gold sticker from the top of the sheet to the reply form at the bottom, and entering the last four digits of my Social Security number, I can get my valuable “free” credit report.
From now well into the fall, a big story will unfold across the United States. Big as in bad. It will be terrible for our children, our communities, even the future of our country. I’m talking about massive cuts in public services, particularly in the area of education.
A few months ago, cable giant Comcast announced it would buy NBC. Comcast has agreed to pay billions of dollars to acquire the venerable broadcaster–but the cost to the public will be far greater.
Let’s face it: Large corporations have our country, and us, in a death grip. Some of their bad behavior makes big headlines: the BP oil disaster, Goldman Sachs’ financial shenanigans, Enron’s book-cooking. However, equally dangerous corporate activity happens every day, far from public view.
Well, the good news is that the U.S. economy gained a net 431,000 jobs in May—albeit largely due to the hiring of 411,000 temporary Census workers.
For all the tea party’s complaints about the so-called liberal media, one of the movement’s central rallying cries–the looming threat posed by the country’s deficit–is one that always gets a warm media reception. In fact, turn on your TV or pick up your newspaper, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much of a difference between the media line and the tea party’s angle on the deficit.
Now that the dust has settled from this year’s tax-filing scramble, here are a few facts to keep in mind as Congress moves closer to debating the expiring Bush tax cuts. By the end of 2010, those cuts, which began to take effect in 2001, will have cost our nation $2.5 trillion dollars.