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Tag Archives: The destruction of the middle class

To Tackle Inequality, We Need To Start Talking About Where Wealth Comes From

Yves here. While it was refreshing to see some Democratic presidential candidates depict inequality as an important political and economic issue, it would help if they sharpened their critique of why concentrated wealth is suspect. Too much inherited money lead to the creation of dynasties. As Bloomberg is so vividly demonstrating, the rich can buy politicians (just listen to the complicated rationalizations of his black endorders); Charles Keating boasted he owned five senators. Having the...

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Not All Keynesian Spending Is Equal

Yves here. Richard Murphy makes an extremely important point about how Keynes’ belief in the importance of well-functioning, cohesive societies and how sound economic policy could promote them. However, he skips over the fact that Keynes did not approve of much of Keynesian thinking, particularly the American Keynesianism developed and promoted by Paul Samuelson. Samuelson had done his PhD thesis on neoclassical economics and admitted he had difficulty wrapping his mind around Keynes. An...

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A Full Scale Attack on Medical Debt

Yves here. Even if you don’t agree with Bob Hertz’s prescription for medical debt, his typology of various types of debtors and the political and practical problems they pose provides a good foundation for further analysis. By Bob Hertz, a health care essayist The recent proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders to cancel $81 billion of medical debt is a very good start – but it is only a start. The RIP Medical Debt group–which buys  old medical debts  ,and then forgives them– is absolutely in the...

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Progressives to Voters Skeptical of Bernie Sanders: This ‘Big Tent’ Movement Is a Winning and Practical Choice

Jerri-Lynn here. You can read this as a companion piece to yesterday’s post by Ferguson, Chen, and Jorgensen, outlining one key element of the Sanders demographic: lower income towns in New Hampshire voted heavily for Sanders; richer towns did the opposite (Lower Income Towns in New Hampshire Voted Heavily for Sanders; Richer Towns Did the Opposite).Progressives are now reaching out to voters who remain skeptical of the self-described democratic socialist. By Jon Queally, staff writerg for...

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Developing Countries Showing America Up

A cynical school of thought holds that one reason America makes borders so unpleasant is to deter US citizens from traveling so as to preserve our sense of exceptionalism in the face of countervailing evidence. For instance, one colleague, a former city planner, came back from a vacation in the south of France and raved about how terrific the roads were. The Gilet Janues would assure him that in rural areas, they were neglected, but my contact’s point was that even in affluent parts of the...

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A Socialism Equal to the World

Yves here. Funny that when the workers, who’ve been on the losing side of a class war for quite some time, finally start to act like they might do something about it, the official minders start waving the “socialism” and even “communism” words as if they are magic talismans that will ward off demands for more just outcomes. Having said that, propaganda does work, so it is possible that a sustained barrage of demonization will sway more than a few opinions. But media savvy young people are...

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Sanders Called JPMorgan’s CEO America’s ‘Biggest Corporate Socialist’ – Here’s Why He Has a Point

Yves here. I wish Sanders would use even more pointed messaging, like “socialism for the rich”. But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets, this slap back at Dimon, who criticized Sanders and socialism at Davos, shows that the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully. And banks are much bigger welfare queens than the public realizes. They get all sorts of subsidies, from underpriced deposit insurance to Federal guaranteed for most...

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Rentier Capitalism: Great for Stocks, Lousy for Growth

As fans of Michael Hudson and/or students of economic history know, one of the strongly-held policy views of classic economists was that constraining rentier activities was essential to promoting growth. They understood that rentier-ism could often produce more profits than investment in productive activities. For instance, they favored usury ceilings because lenders would otherwise lend to the most desperate borrowers who still could eventually be compelled to satisfy most of their...

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Corporate Counter-Mobilization: Uber and Deliveroo’s ‘Charter of Good Work’ Is Nothing but Fairwashing

Yves here. One bit of good news with Uber and its allies’ launch of an empty charter to pretend to deal with the job conditions of gig workers is it appears to have gotten little notice in the US. Perhaps the fact that it was launched at Davos was more than a bit of a tell. The pretense that Uber and its fellow service operators are somehow not in charge, along with a lack of enforcement mechanisms, were other tells of that this charter was an exercise in optics. It’s still worth a look, if...

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Student Enrollment Dropped 11% Since 2011, Student-Loan Balances Surged 74%. Why?

By Wolf Richter, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street This is the transcript from my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT: Enrollment in higher education in the United States has dropped by 11% from the peak in 2011. That’s a drop of 2.2 million students over the span of eight years, according to data from the Student Clearing House. But over the same period, when student enrollment dropped 11%, student loan balances have skyrocketed 74%, to $1.6 trillion. The...

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