Category Archives: Economy

Since 1775, the U.S. Has Been At War With Someone Somewhere For 213 Out Of 242 Years (88% of its’ Existence)

Have you wondered why the political people in Washington DC say there is no money for free healthcare, free education, etc?

Ever wonder why you pay taxes?

During the George W. Bush administration, one of its mid-level grunts let slip that the official on-the-books amount for defense is over $800 billion annually; you can also guess that unofficially about the same amount is off-the-books, $800 billion, which makes it +/- $1.5 trillion annually spent on defense.

Think that’s too high an estimate?  ABC News did a 2014 piece on what the military is spending tax dollars on here.

This is part of what U.S. taxpayers have been supporting all along.  There is a huge amount of waste as a result of Defense industry spending, including the F35 fighter, whose entire program cost over $1.5 trillion.

It’s almost impossible to estimate how much the wars to-date have cost in terms of the human lives and money, but every war today carries a hefty price tag, somewhere in the trillions.  The Iraq & Afghan wars alone are estimated to cost over $4 trillion.

The U.S. isn’t broke by any means.  It just has the wrong priorities and taxpayers are paying for them without any say in the matter.  In other words, if the U.S. defense lasix furosemide online 40 mg budget was better managed and controlled, and the U.S. wasn’t trying to be the world’s policeman, not only could your taxes be drastically lower, but you could get free education, free healthcare, and decent Social Security.

Think about this for a moment, the U.S. could run budget surpluses instead of endless deficits because of things the voters don’t want, like the empire’s never-ending military adventures in parts of the world we have no business being in and places where most people couldn’t locate on a map anyway.

It’s all about the wrong priorities.

A better use of American troops would be to bring them home and put them to work rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure of roads, bridges, parks, and more.  I’m sure the troops would agree this is a better purpose and a better use of their time, money, and effort, instead of making new enemies in foreign lands and being viewed as invaders.

Personally, I think Will Rogers had the right idea:

“I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this – no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.”

U.S. History of Wars / Conflicts / Military Interventions

Year NumberYearWar(s) / Conflicts / Military OperationsNumber of wars that year 
11775Revolutionary War1
21776Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
31777Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
41778Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
51779Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
61780Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
71781Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
81782Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
91783Revolutionary War, Chickamauga War2
101784Chickamauga War1
111785Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
121786Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
131787Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
141788Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
151789Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
161790Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War2
171791Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War, Whiskey Rebellion3
181792Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War, Whiskey Rebellion3
191793Chickamauga War, Northwest Indian War, Whiskey Rebellion3
201794Chickamauga War, Whiskey Rebellion2
211795Chickamauga War1
2217960
2317970
241798Quasi War1
251799Quasi War1
261800Quasi War1
271801First Barbary War1
281802First Barbary War1
291803First Barbary War1
301804First Barbary War1
311805First Barbary War1
3218060
3318070
3418080
3518090
361810US Occupation of West Florida1
371811Tecumseh's War1
381812War of 18121
391813War of 1812, Creek War2
401814War of 1812, Creek War2
411815War of 1812, Second Barbary War2
421816First Seminole War1
431817First Seminole War1
4418180
4518190
461820Texas-Indian wars1
471821Texas-Indian wars1
481822Texas-Indian wars1
491823Texas-Indian wars, Arikara War2
501824Texas-Indian wars1
511825Texas-Indian wars, Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations2
521826Texas-Indian wars, Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations2
531827Texas-Indian wars, Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations, Winnebago War3
541828Texas-Indian wars, Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations2
551829Texas-Indian wars1
561830Texas-Indian wars1
571831Texas-Indian wars1
581832Texas-Indian wars, First Sumatran Expedition, Black Hawk War3
591833Texas-Indian wars1
601834Texas-Indian wars1
611835Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
621836Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
631837Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
641838Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War, Second Sumatran Expedition, Patriot War4
651839Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
661840Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
671841Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
681842Texas-Indian wars, Second Seminole War2
691843Texas-Indian wars1
701844Texas-Indian wars1
711845Texas-Indian wars1
721846Texas-Indian wars, Mexican-American War2
731847Texas-Indian wars, Mexican-American War, Cayuse War3
741848Texas-Indian wars, Mexican-American War, Cayuse War3
751849Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War2
761850Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War2
771851Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars3
781852Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars3
791853Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars3
801854Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars, Bombardment of Greytown4
811855Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars, Puget Sound War, First Fiji Expedition, Rogue River Wars, Third Seminole War, Yakima War, Filibuster War9
821856Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars, Puget Sound War, First Fiji Expedition, Rogue River Wars, Third Seminole War, Yakima War, Filibuster War, Second Opium War10
831857Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars, Puget Sound War, First Fiji Expedition, Rogue River Wars, Third Seminole War, Yakima War, Filibuster War, Second Opium War, Utah War11
841858Texas-Indian wars, Cayuse War, Apache Wars, Puget Sound War, First Fiji Expedition, Rogue River Wars, Third Seminole War, Yakima War, Filibuster War, Second Opium War, Utah War, Navajo Wars12
851859Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Second Opium War, Navajo Wars, Second Fiji Expedition, First & Second Cortina War6
861860Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, First & Second Cortina War, Palute War5
871861Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, First & Second Cortina War, American Civil War, Bombardment of Qui Nho'n (Vietnam), Yavapai Wars7
881862Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, American Civil War, Yavapai Wars, Dakota War of 18626
891863Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, American Civil War, Yavapai Wars, Colorado War, Shimonoseki War7
901864Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, American Civil War, Yavapai Wars, Colorado War, Shimonoseki War, Snake War8
911865Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, American Civil War, Yavapai Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Powder River War8
921866Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Navajo Wars, Yavapai Wars, Snake War, Red Cloud's War6
931867Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Snake War, Red Cloud's War, Siege of Mexico City, Formosa Expedition, Comanche Campaign8
941868Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Snake War, Red Cloud's War, Comanche Campaign6
951869Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign4
961870Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign4
971871Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign, U.S. Expedition to Korea5
981872Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign, Modoc War5
991873Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign, Modoc War5
1001874Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign, Red River War5
1011875Texas-Indian wars, Apache Wars, Yavapai Wars, Comanche Campaign, Red River War, Las Cuevas War6
1021876Apache Wars, Great Sioux War of 1876, Buffalo Hunter's War3
1031877Apache Wars, Great Sioux War of 1876, Buffalo Hunter's War, Nez Perce War, San Elizato Salt War5
1041878Apache Wars, San Elizato Salt War, Bannock War, Cheyenne War4
1051879Apache Wars, Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, Victorio's War, White River War5
1061880Apache Wars, Victorio's War, White River War3
1071881Apache Wars, Victorio's War2
1081882Apache Wars1
1091883Apache Wars1
1101884Apache Wars1
1111885Apache Wars1
1121886Apache Wars1
1131887Apache Wars1
1141888Apache Wars1
1151889Apache Wars1
1161890Apache Wars, Pine Ridge Campaign2
1171891Apache Wars, Pine Ridge Campaign, Garza Revolution3
1181892Apache Wars, Garza Revolution2
1191893Apache Wars, Garza Revolution2
1201894Apache Wars1
1211895Apache Wars1
1221896Apache Wars, Yaqui Wars2
1231897Apache Wars, Yaqui Wars2
1241898Apache Wars, Yaqui Wars, Second Somoan Civil War, Spanish American War5
1251899Apache Wars, Yaqui Wars, Second Somoan Civil War, Philippine-American War, Moro Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion6
1261900Apache Wars, Yaqui Wars, Philippine-American War, Moro Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion5
1271901Yaqui Wars, Philippine-American War, Moro Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion4
1281902Yaqui Wars, Philippine-American War, Moro Rebellion3
1291903Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1301904Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1311905Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1321906Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1331907Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1341908Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion2
1351909Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion, Crazy Snake Rebellion3
1361910Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion, Border War3
1371911Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion, Border War3
1381912Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion, Border War, Negro Rebellion, Occupation of Nicaragua5
1391913Yaqui Wars, Moro Rebellion, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua4
1401914Yaqui Wars, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Bluff War4
1411915Yaqui Wars, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Bluff War, Occupation of Haiti5
1421916Yaqui Wars, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Sugar Intervention, Occupation of the Dominican Republic6
1431917WWI, Yaqui Wars, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Sugar Intervention6
1441918WWI, Yaqui Wars, Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Sugar Intervention, Occupation of the Dominican Republic, Russian Civil War7
1451919Border War, Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic, Russian Civil War5
1461920Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic, Russian Civil War4
1471921Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic3
1481922Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic3
1491923Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic, Posey War4
1501924Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti, Occupation of the Dominican Republic3
1511925Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1521926Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1531927Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1541928Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1551929Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1561930Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1571931Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1581932Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1591933Occupation of Nicaragua, Occupation of Haiti2
1601934Occupation of Haiti1
16119350
16219360
16319370
16419380
16519390
16619400
1671941WWII1
1681942WWII1
1691943WWII1
1701944WWII1
1711945WWII1
17219460
17319470
17419480
17519490
1761950Korean War1
1771951Korean War1
1781952Korean War1
1791953Korean War1
18019540
1811955Vietnam War1
1821956Vietnam War1
1831957Vietnam War1
1841958Lebanon Crisis1
1851959Vietnam War1
1861960Vietnam War1
1871961Bay of Pigs Invasion, Vietnam War1
1881962Vietnam War1
1891963Vietnam War1
1901964Simba Rebellion, Vietnam War 1
1911965Dominican Civil War, Vietnam War2
1921966Dominican Civil War, Vietnam War2
1931967Vietnam War1
1941968Vietnam War1
1951969Vietnam War1
1961970Vietnam War1
1971971Vietnam War1
1981972Vietnam War1
1991973Vietnam War1
2001974Vietnam War1
2011975Vietnam War1
20219760
20319770
2041978Shaba II1
20519790
20619800
20719810
2081982Multinational Force in Lebanon1
2091983Multinational Force in Lebanon, Invasion of Grenada2
2101984Multinational Force in Lebanon1
21119850
21219860
2131987Tanker War1
2141988Tanker War1
2151989Invasion of Panama1
2161990Invasion of Panama, Gulf War2
2171991Gulf War1
2181992Somali Civil War1
2191993Somali Civil War1
2201994Somali Civil War, Intervention in Haiti, Bosnian War3
2211995Somali Civil War, Intervention in Haiti, Bosnian War3
22219960
22319970
2241998Kosovo War1
2251999Kosovo War1
22620000
2272001War in Afghanistan1
2282002War in Afghanistan1
2292003War in Afghanistan, Iraq War2
2302004War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan, Haiti4
2312005War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan3
2322006War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan3
2332007War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan3
2342008War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan3
2352009War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan3
2362010War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan, Yeman4
2372011War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, War in North-West Pakistan, 2011 Military Intervention in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda 7
2382012War in Afghanistan, War in North-West Pakistan, Yeman, Uganda, Jordan, Turkey, Chad7
2392013War in Afghanistan, War in North-West Pakistan, Yeman, Mali, Somalia, Korea6
2402014War in Afghanistan, War in North-West Pakistan, War on ISIL, Syria, Iraq, Yeman, Uganda7
2412015War in North-West Pakistan, War on ISIL, War in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Strait of Hormuz, Yeman, Uganda8
2422016War in North-West Pakistan, War on ISIL, War in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Intervention in Cameroon, Yeman, Uganda8
Out of 242 years, the years without war = 2912%
Years at war = 21388%
Number of countries the U.S. has a military presence in (as of 2011)130Ron Paul article
QZ.com
Number of countries in the world196About.com
Number of countries in world recognized by U.S.194World Atlas
U.S. military personnel by country (as of 2011)click links ===>CNN
Vet Friends
Number of U.S. Military Bases Around the WorldEstimates up to 1,077RT article
Occasional Planet article
Sources: Wikipedia: List Wars Involving the US
Wikipedia: Timeline of US at War

Wikipedia: Timeline of US Military Operations

Wikipedia: List of ongoing armed conflicts

Wikipedia:List of number of conflicts

Wikipedia: Outline of Wars

Histropedia: Wars involving the US

 

NDP Note (Also related to this post):

FIGHT CLUB: THE U.S. WARS CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN NUMBER EXPONENTIALLY

Despite Obama’s claims, the Korea-US free trade agreement has cost American jobs

Geoffrey Cain | August 08 2013 | Global Post

SEOUL, South Korea — Although the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) has been in effect for little more than a year, it is already drawing vehement condemnation from both sides of the Pacific.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

The Obama administration feted KORUS as a veritable job-creation machine, a remedy for the tepid post-crisis recovery. When the US Congress voted in favor of the deal in October 2011, the president called it “a major win for American workers and businesses.” Some proclaimed that KORUS was the most significant trade agreement since NAFTA in 1994.

The US forecast an additional 70,000 American jobs from exports alone. The International Trade Commission estimated the pact would kick-start some $10 billion in US exports to Korea, improving the trade balance by a net $4 billion or more, a boon to the economy.

But already, it’s not clear that the agreement is living up to its promise.

In the US, critics claim that KORUS, which went into force in April 2012, is costing American jobs.

Continue reading Despite Obama’s claims, the Korea-US free trade agreement has cost American jobs

April 2016 Job Cuts Job Cuts Jump to 65K

Challenger Gray and Christmas | May 05 2016

The pace of downsizing increased in April, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 65,141 during the month

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The April figure represents a 35 percent increase over March, when employers announced 48,207 planned layoffs. Last month’s job cuts were 5.8 percent higher than the 61,582 recorded in April 2015.

Continue reading April 2016 Job Cuts Job Cuts Jump to 65K

US job cuts hit highest level since 2009 according to new study

Sam Thielman in New York  | May 07 2016 | The Guardian

61,582 people lost their jobs between 1 and 30 April – a worrying sign of a slowdown in the pace of the jobs market’s recovery

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 9.30.14 AM
April was marked by major cuts from Intel, which slashed its employee ranks by 12,000. Photograph: Mauritz Antin/EPA

Job cuts are at their highest level since 2009 according to a new study from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, up 35% in April against figures from March and 5% from the same time the year previous.

Some 61,582 people lost their jobs between 1 April and 30 April, according to employer announcements of staff reductions polled by analysts.

For the first third of the year, cuts are at more than 250,000, a level not reached since the recession hit the job market in earnest in early 2009 and cost nearly 700,000 people their jobs.

The news comes amid worrying signs of a slowdown in the pace of the jobs market’s recovery. This week payroll processor ADP said the US had added only 156,000 jobs in April, gains that were down against the previous month and offset by increasingly grim news from energy and tech sectors.

Continue reading US job cuts hit highest level since 2009 according to new study

New Data Show U.S. Trade Deficit Doubled, More Jobs Lost Under Obama Trade Deal That Was Template for the TPP

Lori Wallach | May 05 2016 | Trade Watch

2016-05-04-1462387225-7586866-ABANDONED_FACTORY_IN_RIVERSIDE_A_SUBURB_OF_DULUTH_ON_THE_ST_LOUIS_RIVER__NARA__5515861-thumb
New report dissects U.S. – Korea Free Trade Agreement losing 106,000 American jobs

Today’s alarming fourth-year trade data on President Obama’s U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) arrived just as the Obama administration has started its hard sell to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And that is a real problem for the White House.

The Korea deal served as the U.S. template for the TPP, with significant TPP text literally cut and pasted from the Korea agreement. And the Obama administration sold the Korea deal with the same “more exports, more jobs” promises now being employed to sell TPP.

And since then, our trade deficit with Korea more than doubled as imports surged and exports declined. The increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea equates to the loss of more than 106,000 American jobs in the first four years of the Korea FTA, counting both exports and imports, according to the trade-jobs ratio that the Obama administration used to promise at least 70,000 job gains from the deal.

Today’s Census Bureau trade numbers provide the grim data fueling the nationwide bipartisan trade revolt now underway as public opposition to more-of-the-same trade policies surges and presidential and congressional candidates spotlight the problems with the TPP and the failure of U.S. trade policies.

And the Korea trade debacle shuts down Obama’s oft-repeated mantra that TPP opponents are somehow stuck in a past fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Today’s job-killing trade data are the result of a 2011 trade agreement pushed passionately by Obama himself, which he sold as “fixing” NAFTA.

If you review the Obama administration sales pitch for the Korea pact, you will hear the same exact claims now being made for the TPP.

Continue reading New Data Show U.S. Trade Deficit Doubled, More Jobs Lost Under Obama Trade Deal That Was Template for the TPP

And this is When the Jobs “Recovery” Goes Kaboom

Wolf Richter | Wolf Street | March 16, 2016

A party pooper showed up

The future for employment looks bright. The gig economy is firing on all cylinders. The FOMC, in its statement concerning its interest rate decision today, was practically gleeful about employment and where it’s headed:

A range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market.

The Committee currently expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market indicators will continue to strengthen.
Elsewhere, employment has been cited as one of the strong points of the economy. Companies have been hiring and creating jobs by the millions since the Great Recession, bringing total “non-farm employment,” as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from a low of 129.7 million in February 2010 to 143.6 million in February 2016. That’s nearly 14 million more employed folks!

A lot of them might be part-timers, and there are some with more than one part-time job, and some have been counted twice, and many people are mired in the vast category of the “working poor.” But some sectors in some parts of the country have been booming and adding jobs that pay well, for example the “tech” sector, which includes all kinds of app-companies that are actually just trying to sell something to consumers, such as a craft-brew delivery service or Uber.

Some of these “tech” companies, from startups to broken icons like Yahoo, are running into trouble and are axing jobs, and so some unease has invaded the tech sector, but other “tech” companies are still hiring. And per our most recent employment reports, the party goes on.

But in July 2014, a party pooper showed up. That’s when total business sales in the US peaked, according to Census Bureau data. Since then, total business sales, which include US sales of all companies, not just the largest in the S&P 500, have fallen 5%, to $1.296 trillion in January, about where they’d been two years ago!

This has been confirmed by Corporate America. Revenues of S&P 500 companies, based on their earnings reports as parsed by FactSet, fell 3.6% in 2015.

Yet, despite sales cascading lower for a year-and-a-half, total non-farm employment during the same period has risen by 4.48 million jobs.

Continue reading And this is When the Jobs “Recovery” Goes Kaboom

What’s in Store for the Real Economy

Wolf Richter | Wolf Street | March 15, 2016

There is no escape

The Census Bureau announced today that total business sales in January did what they’d been doing relentlessly for the past one-and-a-half years: they fell! This time by 1.1% from a year ago, to  $1.296 trillion, and by 5% from their peak in July 2014.

They’re now back where they’d been in January 2013. Sales are adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. And since January 2013, the consumer price index rose 2.8%! This is why the US economy has looked so crummy.

That’s bad enough. But it gets much worse.

Total business sales are composed of three categories: sales by merchant wholesalers (33% of total), by manufacturers (36% of total), and by retailers (30% of total).

Sales by merchant wholesalers took the biggest hit: they plunged 6.4% from January a year ago, to $433.1 billion.

Symptomatic for the lousy state of business investment, sales of professional equipment dropped 4.1% year-over-year, with computer equipment and software sales plunging 10.2%. Sales of electrical equipment, the largest category among durable goods, fell 5.0%. Sales of machinery fell 1.4%. And “misc. durable” sales plunged 8.6%.

The economy’s kick-butt, take-no-prisoners winner? Sales of drugs soared 11.0% to $53.6 billion. As we found out today via Express Scripts Drug Trend Report, those sales increases weren’t caused by people suddenly taking more drugs; they were caused largely by price gouging.

Continue reading What’s in Store for the Real Economy

Stiglitz: American Inequality Didn’t Just Happen. It Was Created.

by Joseph Stiglitz | Evonomics

How to keep power at the top of society

American inequality didn’t just happen. It was created. Market forces played a role, but it was not market forces alone. In a sense, that should be obvious: economic laws are universal, but our growing inequality— especially the amounts seized by the upper 1 percent—is a distinctly American “achievement.” That outsize inequality is not predestined offers reason for hope, but in reality it is likely to get worse. The forces that have been at play in creating these outcomes are self-reinforcing.

America’s current level of inequality is unusual. Compared with other countries and compared with what it was in the past even in the United States, it’s unusually large, and it has been increasing unusually fast. It used to be said that watching for changes in inequality was like watching grass grow: it’s hard to see the changes in any short span of time. But that’s not true now.

Addressing inequality is of necessity multifaceted—we have to rein in the excesses at the top, strengthen the middle, and help those at the bottom. Each goal requires a program of its own. But to construct such programs, we have to have a better understanding of what has given rise to each facet of this unusual inequality.

Distinct as the inequality we face today is, inequality itself is not something new. The concentration of economic and political power was in many ways more extreme in the precapitalist societies of the West. At that time, religion both explained and justified the inequality: those at the top of society were there because of divine right. To question that was to question the social order, or even to question God’s will.

Continue reading Stiglitz: American Inequality Didn’t Just Happen. It Was Created.

Can You Figure Out What This Chart Means?

by Mike Whitney | March 23, 2016 | Counterpunch

What do you think this chart means?

Screen-Shot-2016-03-22-at-5.55.11-PM

(The post-recession economy is worse than we thought, Fortune)

It means the U.S. economy is in the throes of the lousiest recovery since World War 2.

“But how can that be”, you ask? “After all, hasn’t the Fed kept interest rates at zero for seven years while hosing down the entire financial system with more than $4 trillion?

Yep, they sure have, but their so called monetary stimulus has failed to lift the economy out of the doldrums or produce the robust recovery that they promised. Instead, US gross domestic product, (GDP) has been plodding-along at an abysmal 2.2% since 2009, which is far below the 3.6% average of the prior 60 years. Bottom line: There’s no chance the economy is going to break out of its long-term stagnation unless policymakers dramatically change their approach. Here’s a snapshot of the Fed’s handiwork from an article at Fortune Magazine. Take a look:

Screen-Shot-2016-03-22-at-5.55.58-PM

Fortune:

“As you can see, the revisions generally show a more anemic record of post-recession growth than we thought. From 2011 through last year, the U.S. economy, on average, grew just 2% per year, well below its post-war average of roughly 3% growth.” (The post-recession economy is worse than we thought, Fortune)

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? It’s hard to believe the Fed can dump more than $4 trillion into the financial system and not even hit their 2% inflation target? How is that possible? I thought more money meant more inflation? Was I wrong?

Continue reading Can You Figure Out What This Chart Means?

In 36 States, Unemployment Rates Still Linger Above Prerecession Levels

By BEN LEUBSDORF | Feb 26, 2016 | WSJ

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.02.50 PM
Nevada, hit hard by the housing crisis, has yet to return to its prerecession unemployment rate of 4.5%. JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The recession is over, but it’s certainly not forgotten across most of the U.S.: Unemployment last year remained elevated compared with 2007 levels in more than two-thirds of the states.

The Labor Department reported Friday that average annual jobless rates fell in 2015 from the prior year in 47 states plus the District of Columbia. Unemployment was unchanged in North Dakota and rose slightly in West Virginia and Wyoming. In 2014, unemployment fell in every state and D.C. for the first time since 1984.

Even so, the average annual unemployment rates in 36 states plus D.C. in 2015 were higher than the average unemployment rate for those states in 2007. The recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

Unemployment rates in just 14 states had returned to or fallen below their 2007 averages in 2015: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The job market’s recovery remains incomplete at the national level, too. The U.S. unemployment rate in January was 4.9%, the lowest level since February 2008—but still up from the recession-eve unemployment rate of 4.7% in November 2007. And to be sure, the unemployment rate doesn’t provide a complete picture of an economy’s health. In some cases, a falling jobless rate can reflect unemployed workers moving away or otherwise leaving the labor force rather than finding jobs.

Waiting for Full Recovery

State20072015Recovered?
Alabama4.00%6.10%No
Alaska6.30%6.50%No
Arizona3.90%6.10%No
Arkansas5.30%5.20%Yes
California5.40%6.20%No
Colorado3.70%3.90%No
Connecticut4.50%5.60%No
Delaware3.40%4.90%No
District of Columbia5.50%6.90%No
Florida4.00%5.40%No
Georgia4.50%5.90%No
Hawaii2.80%3.60%No
Idaho3.10%4.10%No
Illinois5.00%5.90%No
Indiana4.60%4.80%No
Iowa3.70%3.70%Yes
Kansas4.20%4.20%Yes
Kentucky5.40%5.40%Yes
Louisiana4.30%6.30%No
Maine4.70%4.40%Yes
Maryland3.50%5.20%No
Massachusetts4.60%5.00%No
Michigan7.00%5.40%Yes
Minnesota4.60%3.70%Yes
Mississippi6.10%6.50%No
Missouri5.10%5.00%Yes
Montana3.60%4.10%No
Nebraska3.00%3.00%Yes
Nevada4.50%6.70%No
New Hampshire3.50%3.40%Yes
New Jersey4.30%5.60%No
New Mexico3.80%6.60%No
New York4.60%5.30%No
North Carolina4.70%5.70%No
North Dakota3.10%2.70%Yes
Ohio5.60%4.90%Yes
Oklahoma4.10%4.20%No
Oregon5.20%5.70%No
Pennsylvania4.40%5.10%No
Rhode Island5.20%6.00%No
South Carolina5.70%6.00%No
South Dakota2.80%3.10%No
Tennessee4.70%5.80%No
Texas4.30%4.50%No
United States4.60%5.30%No
Utah2.60%3.50%No
Vermont4.00%3.70%Yes
Virginia3.00%4.40%No
Washington4.70%5.70%No
West Virginia4.60%6.70%No
Wisconsin4.90%4.60%Yes
Wyoming2.80%4.20%No