by Bud Meyers, published June 30, 2015
Via Popular Resistance: This week, hidden amidst the news of the massacre in Charleston and the Supreme Court decisions on the health law, fair housing and marriage equality, the Senate passed Fast Track legislation and sent it to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
Now the path is clear for the president to push the triple-trade-treaty-threat through Congress. The first one, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), is expected to come to a Congress this fall. It will be followed by the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TiSA).
The choreographed corruption required to accomplish this feat, given the massive opposition to Fast Track, was obvious. Both the House and Senate had exactly the number of votes needed — and not one more — because they knew everyone who voted for the unpopular Fast Track risked their political career.
Members who supported Fast Track in the House received nearly $200 million from corporations who will profit from the treaties.
Continue reading The Triple Trade Treaty Threat: TPP, TTIP and TISA
by Bud Meyers, published July 2, 2015
How did the unemployment rate go down again? Because as usual, more people dropped out of the labor force.
June 2015 — 93,626,000 Not in the Labor Force (an all-time record high) per the Bureau of Labor Statistics
May 2015 — 92,986,000
+640,000 More just since last month!
And this wasn’t because of people on Social Security disability, because we actually had a net decrease since last month:
April 2015 — 8,939,419 per the Social Security Administration
May 2015 — 8,939,029
And I doubt is was because of retiring Baby Boomers either:
Apr 2015 — 39,432,426 per the Social Security Administration
May 2015 — 39,505,145
+72,719 Not even close to the 640,000 who dropped out of the labor force since last month.
Continue reading How the Jobless rate dropped to a 7 year low
by Bud Meyers, published June 24, 2015
Obama promised the TPP trade agreement would create 650,000 new jobs, not destroy jobs. Big lie. The Washington Post gives this claim “Four Pinocchios” and says it will create ZERO jobs.
Yesterday Congress just voted to pass “fast track” (TPA) to pass more trade deals (TPP, TTIP and TiSA) — but WITHOUT assistance for re-training displaced workers (TAA) who lose jobs because of these trade deals — but Congress did pass “fast track” WITH a promise to pass a TAA bill in another trade deal for Africa. But if it’s as Obama and corporate Democrats claim, and no jobs will be lost in these trade deals, then why would we need to pass a bill for TAA for displaced workers?
Continue reading Congress Admits Jobs will be Lost in Trade Deals
by Bud Meyers, published June 2, 2015
A cycle of “lesser-evil” voting in the U.S. has been well established.
Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. In a prepared statement, a campaign spokesperson said: “Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has been inspired by FDR’s belief that America is stronger when we summon the work and talents of all Americans and has long admired Eleanor Roosevelt as a role model.”
I knew FDR (not). And Hillary Clinton is no FDR. I resent that she is trying to come off as a “Person of the People”, when for decades, she has been more favorable to the Clinton’s corporate backers.
I have no problem at all voting for a woman if I thought she had credibility — and thought she could be trusted (and wasn’t just an opportunistic carpetbagger) — and if I believed she would truly represent American workers’ best interests.
Continue reading America’s Two Party Political System is Rigged
by Bud Meyers, published May 17, 2015
If humanity had as much access to oil as they do to all the seawater in the oceans, oil itself would be next to worthless. Whereas an extremely rare commodity or a work of art could be considered priceless by some measure. If we have an abundance of something that can’t be used for any meaningful purpose, it’s devalued.
If the U.S. were still on the gold standard for our currency, gold might be worth $40,000 an ounce instead of $1,200. If corporations could have a patent and a monopoly on all the drinking water and the air we breath …. but I digress.
If 100 college graduates had a Ph.D. in computer science, but only one stock boy is needed to work the graveyard shift at Wal-Mart, the value of a college education in the labor market is devalued. When 48 million unemployed Americans are vying for 5 million job openings, the value of labor is also devalued — although, the last JOLTS report showed that for March 2015 there were 1.72 official unemployed per job opening. Really?
The unemployment rate is a measure of excess supply. When people aren’t needed, their labor is devalued, and wages are depressed. I’ve been saying this for years, and why when robots displace humans — when human labor becomes obsolete — we’ll need a basic income. But for now, besides just dealing with the lack of jobs, we also need to deal with the downward pressure on wages for those who do have jobs.
Continue reading Over-Saturated job Market Depresses Wages
by Bud Meyers, published on May 11, 2015
First, you may want to acquaint yourself with this recent “feel-good” piece at Market Watch from May 1, 2015: “Record number of manufacturing jobs returning to America“. This is what Obama likes to quote while pushing for the TPP trade agreement.
But then we’ve just learned that this reshoring myth has been exposed…
University of Pennsylvania (May 05, 2015) New research by professors at Wharton and Stanford show that there is actually little reshoring on a net basis in the U.S., while supply chain movements are crisscrossing more than ever. Even within the same company, one department might be outsourcing while another is reshoring.
Key findings from the study, “Global Supply Chain Benchmark Study: An Analysis of Sourcing and Re-structuring Decisions”
- Talk about the return of manufacturing to the U.S. appears to be just that — talk. Our research revealed that the rate of production increase and decrease in the region is equal.
- EU countries are losing ground. Europe is the only region with more companies divesting than investing, primarily driven by costs, but also by market reasons. Even automated and/or high-value production has moved out of Europe.
- While China is still the most attractive region for sourcing production, it is also among the top countries for volume decrease.
- Companies leaving China do so for total cost reasons. ASEAN countries emerge as low-cost destinations to serve Asian markets.
- For European companies, North America represents a lower-cost and lower-risk alternative compared to production at home.
- For non-American markets, companies are divesting in North America in favor of locations closer to demand.
Here are few short news blurbs (in chronological order) leading up to this study:
Continue reading Study Exposes Reshoring Myth
by Bud Meyers, published May 9, 2015
- At the end of 1997 we had 406,567 manufacturing establishments of all sizes.
- Just since the first quarter of 2001 the U.S. saw 59,431 factories closed.
- In the 3rd quarter of 2014 we had 339,406 manufacturing establishments of all sizes. That’s 67,161 less than we had in 1997.
- In April 1979 the U.S. had 19.4 million workers in manufacturing (This was the year union membership peaked.)
- In April 2000 the U.S. had 17.3 million workers in manufacturing (This was the year Clinton gave PNTR to China. It should also be noted that in April 2000 was also when the labor force participation rate in the U.S. had hit its historical all-time high.)
- In April 2015 the U.S. had 12.3 million workers in manufacturing. (Now Obama is pitching TPP for Nike.)
More info here:
Click infographic below to enlarge. Continue reading 67,161 less U.S. factories since 1997
by Bud Meyers, published April 24, 2015
According to a study by the Roosevelt Institute (Disgorge the Cash), businesses once borrowed to invest and improve their company’s long-term performance. But for the past 30 years business investment has been replaced by shareholder payouts. Companies now borrow to enrich their investors in the short-run (including their executives with stock option grants as pay for performance).
Under the older managerial model, more money coming into a firm (either from sales or from borrowing) typically meant more money was spent on fixed investment. But in the new “rentier-dominated” model, more money coming in means more money flowing out to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks. Since the 1980s, shareholder payouts have nearly doubled; in the second half of 2007, aggregate payouts actually exceeded aggregate investment.
The study shows good evidence that the real economy benefits less from the easier credit provided by macroeconomic policy than it once did. Higher corporate profits in recent business cycles have generally failed to lead to high levels of investment — and cheaper money from lower interest rates failed to stimulate investment, growth and wages — because additional funds are funneled to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.
Andrew Ross Sorkin (at the New York Times) recently reported that the chief executives of 500 of the nation’s largest companies will receive a letter in the mail from Laurence D. Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world (with $4 trillion in assets). He will tell these business leaders that too many of them have been trying to return money to investors through so-called shareholder-friendly steps like paying dividends and buying back stock.
Continue reading Over Taxed? They spent $1 Trillion on Stock Buybacks
by Bud Meyers, published April 21, 2015
Just one of many reasons: Literally rolling up his sleeves and protesting a trade deal that would throw Americans out of work, Senator Bernie Sanders marched with leaders of the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations to a rally outside the U.S. trade representative’s office.
Bernie said, “One of the key reasons why the middle class in America continues to decline and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider is because of disastrous trade agreements which have sent millions of decent-paying jobs to China and other low-wage countries.”
Bernie’s leading role in opposing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership follows a long record of opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and other job-killing trade deals. Partly because of those and other agreements, nearly 60,000 factories in this country have been shuttered since 2001 and more than 4.7 million manufacturing jobs have vanished.
Proponents claimed that NAFTA would create 200,000 American jobs. Instead, that 1994 deal led to the loss of some 1 million jobs in the United States. The trade agreement with China six years later was ballyhooed by corporate backers as way to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Instead, it led to the loss of 3.2 million U.S. jobs.
Americans should not be forced to compete against desperately poor workers throughout the world. In Vietnam, for example, workers are paid as little as 56 cents an hour.
Continue reading Just One Reason why Bernie Sanders should Run
by Bud Meyers, published April 22, 2015
The very first thing you do after you wake up in the morning is to run out to get a nice surf and turf for breakfast; and then you do some actual surfing. Then it’s off to the tattoo parlor.
Then later you might buy a car, or have a mid-morning séance with a psychic advisor. At lunch you use your food stamps to buy some unhealthy food (like nachos, cookies and a Coke). Later in the afternoon you take a trip to the local casino, and using your EBT card, do some afternoon gambling and drinking — and also do some drugs.
Then you do some more drugs, before taking a trip to the mall for some shopping, buying jewelry and lingerie — and maybe you’ll even catch a movie while you’re there.
Continue reading A Day in the Life of a Welfare Bum