Middle Class Death Rattle

MCDR the tumblog. The state of affairs in the world of finance and what it means for the little people.
good:

“You debate whether you get the birth control or food… I’ll forget about the birth control if it means being able to pay my rent or buying groceries.”
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, people think birth control is cheap. A new study with voices from low-income women struggling to afford their medication proves them wrong. 
Read the full story on GOOD.is

good:

“You debate whether you get the birth control or food… I’ll forget about the birth control if it means being able to pay my rent or buying groceries.”

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, people think birth control is cheap. A new study with voices from low-income women struggling to afford their medication proves them wrong. 

Read the full story on GOOD.is

The business elite is and always has been the most powerful force in U.S. politics, by virtue of its dominant role in the economy. But what is striking—and perhaps inspiring to revisit—is the extent to which the power of business was somewhat curtailed in the 1930–1970 period, and the extent to which this allowed policies favoring other members of society to flourish.

Salon, “How billionaires destroy democracy: Wealthy Wall Streeters have rigged the economy and the government against the people. Here’s how they did it” by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks (via beaconpress)

(via beaconpress)

Romney's Defense Plan Means Bad Business for America | Anya Barry

Recently, President Obama unveiled a plan he claimed would cut U.S. military spending. However, several independent experts have come forward stating that the “cuts” are simply slowing future growth in military spending from previously projected figures, rather than actually cuts to the Defense budget.

In fact, Obama’s “cuts” are distributed over a period of ten years, over which time the next administration, whether under Obama or a Republican president, could make drastic changes to Obama’s non-binding plan. As the likelihood of his candidacy continues to near inevitability, Mitt Romney’s defense plan sheds light on the GOP’s likely strategy over the next several years.

Romney has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s plan to slow the growth in military spending, arguing instead that spending should be increased at an even greater pace than previously scheduled. According to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams told the paper, “…[he] has set a baseline defense spending target equal to 4 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” Williams stated. TheDayton Daily News went on to note, “The nation recorded a $15.2 trillion Gross Domestic Product, the output of goods and services, in 2011.” That would put baseline spending alone, which excludes the war budget, the military programs of the CIA and State Department, and other military contingencies, at $608 billion. Obama has proposed a defense budget of $525 billion for FY 2011. Over the next ten years, Romney’s military spending plan—in comparison to Obama’s—would total at least 61% higher, according to research conducted by the Cato Institute.

And while Romney has advocated for decreasing the size of the Federal Budget, it he has not specified what sectors would be cut under his Administration, citing only that he would cut 20% of overall government spending. A 20% overall reduction amidst a substantial increase in military spending would certainly translate into massive cuts to social programs that Republicans in Congress have already targeted.

Stating an interest in increasing defense spending when America is winding down its involvement in two wars is irresponsible and unnecessary. Ultimately, Romney’s plan would increase defense spending 42% beyond Cold War levels, as Christopher Preble highlighted in his article “Recalculating Romney’s Four Percent Gimmick.” Coupled with the fact that this presidential hopeful has no specific plan where he will decrease spending to offset his plan to build up America’s military in peace-time makes Mr. Romney’s claims to decrease federal spending nothing but words. For Americans concerned with government spending, Mr. Romney’s plan to funnel additional billions of American tax-dollars into military spending increases debt and makes very little business sense.

In fact, one recently published research study by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) found that, contrary to the popularly held belief of many right-wing politicians such as Mr. Romney, an increase in military spending would not produce nearly as many jobs nationwide as would the same amount of money invested in areas such as infrastructure, education, clean energy, or healthcare. In an interview with The Real News, Robert Pollin the Co-Director of PERI stated, “You will get more high-quality jobs spending on the green economy, infrastructure, or healthcare than you will spending on the military.” In one especially hard-hitting example, Pollin sited figures found by PERI, showing that if the government was to spend $1 billion towards job growth, 16,800 jobs would be created by investment in clean energy, compared to just 11,800 jobs through the military. These numbers underscore the particularly faulty logic in Mr. Romney’s belief that increasing the military’s budget at the expense of other sectors is a sound source of governmental funding. The reality is that Mr. Romney’s plan would simply prolong the military industrial complex, consequently continuing to cripple the country in a deeper mire of debt, unemployment, and unwise allocation of funds.


There are few phrases more terrifying than “the military industrial complex”. Particularly when preceded by words that are anything not along the line of “dismantling of”.

(Source: theamericanbear)

thenewrepublic:

Who really benefited from Citizens United?
“The very rich funders of Republican super PACs, while hardly unanimous in their views (they support opposing candidates, after all), are reliably anti-Meliorist. Their favored causes tend toward things like repealing health care reform, making abortion illegal, restricting access to contraception, blocking climate change legislation, cutting taxes for the 1 percent, and in general halting America’s moral decay—excepting greed or gambling—and its steady march toward socialism. (Simmons and Adelson have both used the “s” word to describe either President Obama or his policies.)”
- Timothy Noah, Crankocracy in America
Photo courtesy of Shorter Excerpts

thenewrepublic:

Who really benefited from Citizens United?

“The very rich funders of Republican super PACs, while hardly unanimous in their views (they support opposing candidates, after all), are reliably anti-Meliorist. Their favored causes tend toward things like repealing health care reform, making abortion illegal, restricting access to contraception, blocking climate change legislation, cutting taxes for the 1 percent, and in general halting America’s moral decay—excepting greed or gambling—and its steady march toward socialism. (Simmons and Adelson have both used the “s” word to describe either President Obama or his policies.)”

- Timothy Noah, Crankocracy in America

Photo courtesy of Shorter Excerpts

This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.

It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.

And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last—education and training, research and development, our infrastructure—it is a prescription for decline.

—President Obama today on the GOP budget plan (via barackobama)

theatlantic:

This 11-Year Old Has the Worst Solution to the Euro Crisis

There are two things everybody loves: kids and pizza. The only thing better than either, of course, is when a kid makes a pizza policy metaphor. Which explains why this chart showing how to solve the Greek debt crisis by an 11-year old Dutch boy has been taken the internet by storm.
Here’s how 11-year old Jurre Herman describes his entry for the Wolfson Economics Plan (and yes, that is a pizza at the top):

Greece should leave the Euro. How do you do that? All Greek people should bring their Euro to the bank. They put it in an exchange machine (see left on my picture). You see, the Greek guy does not look happy!! The Greek man gets back Greek Drachme from the bank, their old currency. The Bank gives all these euro’s to the Greek Government (see topleft on my picture). All these euros together form a pancake or a pizza (see on top in the picture). Now the Greek government can start to pay back all their debts, everyone who has a debt gets a slice of the pizza. You see that all these euro’s in the pizza’s go the companies and banks who have given loans in greece (see right in my picture).
Now here comes the clever part of my idea:
The Greek people do not want to exchange their Euro’s for Drachmes because they know that this Drachme will lose its value dramatically. They try to keep or hide their Euro’s. They know that if they wait a while they will get more Drachmes. So if a Greek man tries to keep his Euros (or bring his euros to a bank in an other country like Holland [or] Germany) and it is discovered, he gets a penalty just as high or double as the whole amount in euros he tried to hide!!! In this way I ensure that all Greeks bring their euros to a greek bank and so the greek government can pay back all the debts. I hope my idea helps you!!!! Of course if a country has paid back all his debts , he can return to the eurozone.

Try to get past the pizza. I know: it’s spectacularly adorable to imagine Greeks piling their euros into a giant “pancake or pizza.” But wait. The Greeks will have all of their euros confiscated to fill this (metaphorical?) debt-paying pizza? That’s a cute idea. But it’s not a good idea.Greece’s troubles are twofold. It has a competitiveness problem and a debt problem. Bringing back the drachma would solve the first, but, under this plan, would exacerbate the second. The real burden of Greece’s euro debts would skyrocket overnight once its people are paid in drachmas. A far better plan would be to drachmaize all debts, or simply write them off completely. There are real costs to doing this — i.e., being shut out of international markets — so Greece should probably wait to fully default until they’re running a primary surplus.
Again, I hate to pick on an 11-year old kid. This diorama is adorable, and Jurre is probably just repeating what he’s been told. This plan makes sense to a child. The adults should know better.

The Atlantic: America’s Leading Source For Hating Pizza and Crushing Children’s Dreams Since 1857!

theatlantic:

This 11-Year Old Has the Worst Solution to the Euro Crisis

There are two things everybody loves: kids and pizza. The only thing better than either, of course, is when a kid makes a pizza policy metaphor. Which explains why this chart showing how to solve the Greek debt crisis by an 11-year old Dutch boy has been taken the internet by storm.

Here’s how 11-year old Jurre Herman describes his entry for the Wolfson Economics Plan (and yes, that is a pizza at the top):

Greece should leave the Euro. How do you do that? All Greek people should bring their Euro to the bank. They put it in an exchange machine (see left on my picture). You see, the Greek guy does not look happy!! The Greek man gets back Greek Drachme from the bank, their old currency. The Bank gives all these euro’s to the Greek Government (see topleft on my picture). All these euros together form a pancake or a pizza (see on top in the picture). Now the Greek government can start to pay back all their debts, everyone who has a debt gets a slice of the pizza. You see that all these euro’s in the pizza’s go the companies and banks who have given loans in greece (see right in my picture).

Now here comes the clever part of my idea:

The Greek people do not want to exchange their Euro’s for Drachmes because they know that this Drachme will lose its value dramatically. They try to keep or hide their Euro’s. They know that if they wait a while they will get more Drachmes. So if a Greek man tries to keep his Euros (or bring his euros to a bank in an other country like Holland [or] Germany) and it is discovered, he gets a penalty just as high or double as the whole amount in euros he tried to hide!!! In this way I ensure that all Greeks bring their euros to a greek bank and so the greek government can pay back all the debts. I hope my idea helps you!!!! Of course if a country has paid back all his debts , he can return to the eurozone.

Try to get past the pizza. I know: it’s spectacularly adorable to imagine Greeks piling their euros into a giant “pancake or pizza.” But wait. The Greeks will have all of their euros confiscated to fill this (metaphorical?) debt-paying pizza? That’s a cute idea. But it’s not a good idea.

Greece’s troubles are twofold. It has a competitiveness problem and a debt problem. Bringing back the drachma would solve the first, but, under this plan, would exacerbate the second. The real burden of Greece’s euro debts would skyrocket overnight once its people are paid in drachmas. A far better plan would be to drachmaize all debts, or simply write them off completely. There are real costs to doing this — i.e., being shut out of international markets — so Greece should probably wait to fully default until they’re running a primary surplus.

Again, I hate to pick on an 11-year old kid. This diorama is adorable, and Jurre is probably just repeating what he’s been told. This plan makes sense to a child. The adults should know better.

The Atlantic: America’s Leading Source For Hating Pizza and Crushing Children’s Dreams Since 1857!

motherjones:

Photos of the River Rouge coal plant near Detroit. It’s the perfect test case for the challenge facing anti-coal activists: On one hand, its pollution is responsible for an estimated 44 deaths, 72 heart attacks, and 700 asthma attacks. On the other, the plant provides a significant chunk of the town’s revenue, as well as decent-paying blue-collar jobs.

You know we have problems when our choice is presented as “healthy people, healthy environment” OR “employment for citizens”.

motherjones:

Photos of the River Rouge coal plant near Detroit. It’s the perfect test case for the challenge facing anti-coal activists: On one hand, its pollution is responsible for an estimated 44 deaths, 72 heart attacks, and 700 asthma attacks. On the other, the plant provides a significant chunk of the town’s revenue, as well as decent-paying blue-collar jobs.


You know we have problems when our choice is presented as “healthy people, healthy environment” OR “employment for citizens”.