-By: Robert Sobel
Februry 27, 2013- One of the most talked about aspects of President Obama's State of the Union Address was his call for an increase in the minimum wage. While the debate heated up between those for and against a possible federal increase in the minimum wage, Republicans in Mississippi are taking things even further.
According to Openstate.org, HB 141 passed the Mississippi state House earlier this month, and called for an end to the minimum wage. Supporters of the bill cite tough economic times and businesses struggling for their support. It is clearly outlined in Section 1 of the bill.
The Daily Change: The 10 Biggest Banks Get Almost As Much Money From Taxpayers As The Sequester Cuts
-by Zaid Jilani
February 26, 2013- Economists are warning that the upcoming sequester could severely harm the economy as government agencies at the federal, state, and local level will see sharp spending cuts.
The sequester’s cuts this year will amount to $85.3 billion. Around half of this spending will be cut from the waste-ridden defense budget, but much of the rest of it will come out of necessary investments in the country’s public infrastructure.
But there’s another area of the budget where almost as much money is spent — subsidies to Big Banks. In an editorial published last week, Bloomberg noted that the ten biggest banks get an effective annual subsidy of $83 billion from taxpayers, and that almost all their recent profits are subsidized by the federal government.
That’s only $2.3 billion short of the amount of money that the sequester cuts. It would therefore be logical if the government were to instead look at cutting these subsidies to Wall Street instead of investments in Main Street America.
-by Virginia Anders-Ellmore
February 26, 2013- CLOSING THE INCOME GAP - Yes we have been here before.
Capitalism is an economic system that values the accumulation of wealth. In free-market economics, governmental regulation should be as little as possible. The combination of capitalism and the laissez faire, free-market economy has brought the United States to a major imbalance of wealth distribution.
Today, CEOs make more than 400 times the salaries of the average worker.
The bankers and corporate owners have worked hard to change laws and regulations that allow them to keep their wealth at levels not seen since the 1920s.
In the 1930s, the United States suffered a similar financial crisis. One percent of the population owned most of the nation's wealth. Laissez faire economic philosophy had reduced government regulation, allowed for risk-taking and created financial bubbles. In 1929, the markets dropped, which kicked off the Great Depression. That crisis was even worse than today's, mainly because unemployment was at 24 percent and there weren't any government programs in place that helped people get back on their feet.
Matthew Fillipowicz: Obama Golfs With Oil Executives While Tens Of Thousands Protest Keystone XL Pipeline
Matthew Fillipowicz: Tar Sands Blockade Plans Week Of Action To Protest Keystone XL Pipeline March 16-23
-By Ian Millhiser
February 22, 2013- A bill introduced by Montana state Rep. Steve Lavin would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections:
Provision for vote by corporate property owner. (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election as provided in [section 1].
(2) The individual who is designated to vote by the entity is subject to the provisions of [section 1] and shall also provide to the election administrator documentation of the entity’s registration with the secretary of state under 35-1-217 and proof of the individual’s designation to vote on behalf of the entity.
Truthout: Football Stadium Named After Private Prison Company Blurs Line Between Retribution and Recreation
-By Christopher Petrella
February 22, 2013- The GEO Group -the nation's second largest for-profit, private prison firm - recently announced its intention to gift $6 million over a 12-year period to Florida Atlantic University (FAU), a public institution situated less than 5 miles from GEO's corporate headquarters in Boca Raton. In return, FAU has agreed to emblazon the words "GEO Group Stadium" on its 29,419-seat open-air football facility, a decision that blurs the boundaries between recreation and retribution and challenges the parameters of so-called "corporate citizenship," a popular practice that attempts to displace the systematic contradictions of modern capitalism with singular moments of charity. In the end, GEO's construct of "corporate citizenship" trips over itself by feeding the very conditions it claims to starve. The company's existence is nothing short of an exercise in contradiction.
-By Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen
February 22, 2013- Contrary to naysayers in the business lobby, numerous studies suggest increasing the minimum wage to $9 an hour and tying it to the cost of living will lift millions of Americans out of poverty and stimulate the economy.
As soon as President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour in his State of the Union address last week, you could see Speaker John Boehner, seated behind the president, uttering his religious mantra: "Job killer." And even if you couldn't read his lips, you could read his mind: "Campaign contributions." He and his Republican colleagues could expect huge donations from business lobby groups - especially those that depend on low-wage workers, like the hotel industry, restaurants and fast-food chains, nursing homes and hospitals and big-box retailers - to keep Congress from embracing Obama's modest proposal.
-By Sean Cockerham
February 22, 2013- Washington - The Coast Guard has found serious safety and environmental violations on a Shell drilling rig used in the Arctic waters off Alaska, another blow to the company’s controversial bid to harvest oil in the petroleum-rich but sensitive region.
The Coast Guard said Friday that it has turned over the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice, which had no comment.
The Coast Guard found 16 violations on the Noble Discoverer, one of Shell’s two drilling rigs for Alaska’s Arctic waters. The company’s other rig, the Kulluk, has its own troubles. The Kulluk broke free from towlines during a New Year’s Eve storm and was grounded for several days off Kodiak Island.
Details of the Noble Discoverer’s violations were obtained by Democratic staff of the House Natural Resources Committee, which had asked the Coast Guard for an accounting of inspections that took place on the rig at the end of November.
In current practice, banks pay agencies to assess their financial products favorably. Why hasn't this system of kickbacks been eliminated?
-By David Dayen
February 21, 2013- Earlier this month, the Justice Department and 16 state attorneys general sued the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) credit-rating agency, accusing the company of improperly inflating the ratings of 40 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)—essentially, securities made up of other mortgage-backed securities—at the height of the housing bubble. According to the suit, S&P misled investors by rating the risky securities as "triple-A," super-safe investments. But the purchases turned into massive investor losses when the bonds failed after the bubble collapsed. Using emails and other communications, state, and federal prosecutors will seek to prove that S&P knew the securities were junk but rated them highly for the most obvious of reasons: to make more money.
-By Associated Press
February 21, 2013- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO say they have a deal on principles for a new visa program to bring lesser-skilled workers to the U.S. — a key component of any immigration overhaul bill.
The groups announced the breakthrough Thursday after weeks of closed-doors negotiations at the request of senators involved in crafting an immigration deal on Capitol Hill.
The principles include agreement to create a mechanism to let businesses more easily hire foreign workers when Americans aren't available to fill jobs. This will require a new kind of worker visa program that does not keep workers in permanent temporary status.