Outrageous Economic Shorts - Labor Be Damned

Welcome to our round up of economic shorts.  These are the latest outrages that caught our eye which you might have missed.  Probably the biggest disaster happening today is the Senate pushing forward with a corporate written cheap labor immigration bill regardless of the negative impact this will have on jobs and the economy.  The bill is projected to add 30 million workers to the labor force, 1.6 million additional foreign guest workers in the first year alone, while over 11.6 million, unofficially, closer to 20 million people remain unemployed and the total annual U.S. job growth is 2 million.  Labor groups everywhere are protesting, writing letters to oppose the bill, all to no avail.

 

Immigration Bill Disaster for Workers

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist, is warning on the Immigration bill:

at a time when nearly 14 percent of Americans do not have a full-time job and when the middle class is working longer hours for lower wages, I oppose a massive increase in temporary guest worker programs that will allow large corporations to import hundreds of thousands of blue-collar and white-collar workers from overseas,” Sanders said in remarks prepared for a Senate floor speech.

There could be an eight-fold jump in the number of blue-collar foreign workers in the U.S. over the next five years and the number of skilled-workers granted visas could more than triple in three years under provisions that Sanders opposes in the immigration bill the Senate is expected to take up next week.

Instead of hiring young Americans looking for work as lifeguards or ski instructors, Sanders said too many businesses would rather pay less to foreigners. “At a time when the youth unemployment rate is more than 16 percent and the teen unemployment rate is over 25 percent, many of the jobs that used to be done by young Americans are now being performed by temporary guest workers,” Sanders said.

Sanders also opposes a provision that would greatly expand the number of foreign workers allowed to take jobs at high-tech companies in the U.S. at a time when the American middle class is disappearing and corporations are posting record profits. Sanders noted that half of all recent college graduates majoring in computer and information science in the United States did not receive jobs in the information technology sector.

 

Labor Be Damned Say Democrats

With the Senate ramrodding immigration down the throats of America comes this revelation, Democrats are hell bent on selling labor, including organized labor, down the river.

Senators Richard Durbin and Charles Schumer, with long records of supporting labor unions, gay rights and gun restrictions, are ready to vote against these constituencies to win passage of an immigration law.

The second- and third-ranking Democrats in the chamber helped craft the bipartisan immigration bill the Senate will consider this week. They warn that attempts to amend the legislation for unions, gay-rights activists and gun control advocates could scuttle the most significant revision of U.S. immigration policy in a generation.

 

Austerity Revolt

How Austerity Pushed Americans To Revolt:

In the early 18th century, North America held a role in the British Empire that was similar to the one occupied by Cyprus or Slovenia in the euro area today. Americans were slavers, smugglers, rumrunners and fanatics -- as “opulent, commercial, thriving” as they were irresponsible and fiscally profligate. But as the empire struggled to stay solvent after the Seven Years War, the government of Prime Minister George Grenville attempted to bring the colonists to heel in the name of fiscal austerity.

“The Circumstances of the Times, the Necessities of the Country, and the Abilities of the Colonies, concur in requiring an American Revenue,” wrote Thomas Whately, a Grenville ally, in 1765.

To be sure, the 18th century British Empire and the euro area are very different. But the similarities are still worth noting: A central unelected body (at least not by North Americans), attempted to solve a fiscal problem by inflicting misguided pain on the periphery.

 

BIS Warns Central Banks Setting up the Next Big Financial Bang

The Bank of International Settlements warned Central Banks are setting up the next financial crisis:

Markets are “under the spell” of the world’s central bankers, with cheap money driving stock prices to record highs despite a lack of good economic news, the Bank for International Settlements has said.

The BIS, the so-called central bankers’ bank, on Sunday became the latest high-profile financial institution to warn that low rates and a plentiful supply of cash from quantitative easing had prompted investors to drive asset prices to record highs in spite of signs that a meaningful recovery continues to elude the global economy.

If that wasn't bad enough, the Central Banks are also ignoring a big, fat correlation to predict the next crisis.

Regulators may be overlooking a signal that could give them an opportunity to identify a new financial crisis, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

By focusing only on the gap between the size of an economy and the amount of bank credit within it, policy makers are ignoring contributions that foreign and non-bank lenders make to credit booms that typically precede systemic banking crises, according to Mathias Drehmann, a senior economist at the Basel-based institution. That role can be “significant,” as shown by a new BIS database that shows domestic banks currently supply only 30 percent of credit in the U.S. economy.

 

More Revolving Door, Ignore the Law

Seems the SEC could care less that their new chief council has a pending legal case against him.

The Financial Times has caught a significant revolving door that its business press peers have largely overlooked.

In a front page story, the pink paper points out that the incoming chief counsel for the SEC has an outstanding suit against him from his last incarnation, as head of compliance for the Americas for Deutsche Bank. An overview:

"Robert Rice joined the SEC last week, working directly for Mary Jo White, the new SEC chairman. He moved from Deutsche where he was head of governance, litigation and regulation for the Americas.

Eric Ben-Artzi, a former Deutsche risk manager, filed a discrimination complaint with the US Department of Labor last year, alleging he was fired after telling the SEC that Germany’s biggest bank had hidden billions of dollars of losses with mismarked derivatives positions.

In this complaint, seen by the Financial Times, Mr Ben-Artzi named Mr Rice, along with four other Deutsche executives, as a respondent. The complaint describes several meetings with Deutsche officials, including Mr Rice…

Mr Ben-Artzi, along with at least two other former Deutsche employees acting independently, went to the SEC with a range of allegations against the bank during the past three years. The common thread was a claim that Deutsche executives reduced their losses during the financial crisis by not properly marking derivatives positions known as leveraged super senior trades. The former employees estimated Deutsche should have recognised losses of $4bn-$12bn during the crisis."

 

The Mysterious New Housing Bubble

Wondering why prices are soaring when everyone is broke? You're not alone:

Housing is arguably the most maligned and manipulated market of all time. Mortgage rates are artificially low due to Fed intervention (QE3). Inventory is artificially low due to the banks withholding of distressed backlog. Down payments are so minuscule (FHA=3.5%) that homebuyers end up leveraged at a 30 to 1 ratio, the same as the big Wall Street investment banks prior to the Crash of ’08. And, finally, government-backed mortgage modifications (HAMP) provide generous refinancing to high-risk “underwater” applicants with LTV at 125%, a process that makes subprime mortgages look like a model of prudent lending. So much is fake about today’s housing market, that it’s a stretch to call it a market at all.

 

Lehman Back From the Dead

This is an amazing story where defunct Lehman Brothers has managed to raid nonprofits:

Almost five years after Lehman Brothers Holding Inc (LEHMQ). filed for bankruptcy and set off the global financial crisis, managers of the bank’s estate are demanding millions of dollars from retirement homes, colleges and hospitals.

After selling most of its assets, Lehman now says it was shortchanged by scores of nonprofits that were forced to pay to exit derivatives that were unwound after the firm filed for Chapter 11 protection.

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, gave Lehman $2 million in October 2008 to cancel a swap contract used to manage fluctuating interest rates. Lehman says it wants $12.1 million more and has assessed at least an additional $4.7 million in interest, the research center said in its most recent financial statement. The amount Lehman is seeking is more than half of what Buck spent last year researching Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases.

“Lehman is sort of a zombie-like bankruptcy entity: Instead of looking for brains, it’s looking for cash,” said Chip Bowles, a bankruptcy lawyer with Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Austerity Built Off Of A Lie

It is over five years since Europe first started implementing their austerity and we see the results.  Reinhart And Rogoff Harvard econ professors Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff that claimed countries with debt to GDP above 90% experience much lower growth.  University of Massachusetts grad student Thomas Herndon. Herndon debunked this paper and an insuring firestorm erupted.   Herndon responded to the attacks, as did his adviser his adviser .  While we suggest you read Dube's analysis in full, here is the meat of his conclusion,  Reverse casualty, means instead of high debt killing the economy, low growth causes high debt.  Felix Simon also helps explain.

The raw correlation between debt-to-GDP ratio and GDP growth probably reflects a fair amount of reverse casualty. We can’t simply use correlations like those used by RR (or ones presented here) to identify causal estimates.

 

Food Less Nutritious

In this OpEd is a startling fact, our food is less nutritious.

tudies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

These insights have been made possible by new technology that has allowed researchers to compare the phytonutrient content of wild plants with the produce in our supermarkets. The results are startling.

Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.” A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets.

 

Cheap Labor Advocate Tells Americans to Become Plumbers

Become a plumber and skip college!  So says uber-rich Mayor Bloomberg and unfortunately, he is right.  Not only do plumbers make enough money to support a middle class life, these days they get more respect than the typical PhD.  Overflowing toilets cannot be offshore outsourced.  Bloomberg has been a major advocate of flooding the United States with cheap labor, so this is the ironic considering he is part of the problem which caused the current crisis for College grads not being able to get a job.

Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal,” he reportedly said. “You don’t spend ... four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income.

Pretty clear corporate America has offshore outsourced everything but the kitchen sink.  While new college graduates cannot find jobs, Congress is busy preparing to give away even more American jobs through Comprehensive immigration reform.

 

Tax Haven Corporate America

While Congress blasted Apple for paying no taxes, there are 18 more which cost the U.S. $92 billion.

At least 18 companies, including Nike, Microsoft and Apple, are stashing profits in offshore tax havens likely in a bid to avoid paying taxes, according to a new report from the Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning research group. If the companies brought that money home, they would pay combined more than $92 billion in U.S. taxes, the report found.

“It’s misguided to say it’s some unique thing that Apple has created," said Matthew Gardner, the executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research partner of CTJ. "A lot of big companies are very likely doing it.”

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Comments

Senate ignores labor, votes to proceed on immigration, S.744

Here are the votes, 85 to 15. That is almost all of the Senate, perfectly willing to destroy American jobs.

This also makes the bill easier to pass. Folks, you need to flood your Senators offices for the AFL-CIO, IFPTE, Black engineers, black businesses, a huge list of other unions, everyone whose jobs will be at further risk is against this bill and the Senate could care less.

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First, hello NSA! Second, politicians love $ and themselves

First, let's just give a shout out to all those monitoring any Americans expressing their 1st Amendment rights on blogs and in emails and on street corners. Because nothing says democracy and a shining beacon on the hill like taking taxpayer $ and enriching the dumb bastards that make billions through fraud and idiocy, but spying on anyone that dares voice dissent or anything at all regarding society, the government, evil banksters + big CEOs like Gates and Dimon and Zuckerberg is okay?! Here's to ya! Keep spending that tax $ to crush free speech. Way to go and be a model for everyone around the world.

Second, the sky is blue, water is wet, and Senators and all politicians love $ and their egos above all, including the people they are purportedly supposed to represent according to their oaths. In other news, politicians and the big CEOs will do whatever it takes to get as much money and power before they are in office, during, and after - news at 10. Which channel though? MSNBC etc will praise Obama listening to people dissenting and Murdoch will just listen to my phone calls. Damn! We're screwed either way. Bye bye USA, it was a good run. Sure hope all that immigrant labor enjoys being spied on. You want to be treated like us, well, have it. Thank the government and NSA. That's the price of a visa and the race to the bottom post-NAFTA and globalization - enjoy it.

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NSA and this site

I think they would have to intercept at the router and data mine directly since we own our own servers. But yeah, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and your ISP (thanks!) sound like they are handing over network traffic at least no problem and this site uses ads to pay for it, so there ya go in terms of privacy, although I will not and have repeatdly refused to sell this site's accounts, logs, emails and on and on.

Unbelievable it is asked and even more unbelievable is how quickly others will sell it!

Unreal isn't it. I think this one is finally making those Obama supporters wake up to what he really is and that's clearly not a "Progressive", as much as that term has been corporatized.

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How Austerity Pushed Americans To Revolt:

I am watching Turkey right now, and thinking this is what it would look like today if we did "revolt". And I just can't see many in our domesticated, schooled population rising to that level.

I wonder why the CNN reporter is lying about the Pres of Turkey? The current president is moving them further away from a secular state, away from the very things that brought them success.

Now she seems to be trying to make out like the protestors are the bad "guys", when nearly every thoughtful thing that has come out of that mess today says they are not, that they are now protesting against the elimination of rights that they previously enjoyed.

We will see what happens when a modern government attempts to push governing from a more extreme religious position than the people are used to, or desire.

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Bloomberg probably got stuck with a big plumbing bill - he's mad

This guy is so irritating. He probably got stuck with a big plumbing bill and now wants to punish plumbers. Because only big bankstas and politicians can make $, no one else is allowed. At first these guys claimed we were uneducated and needed to go to college and we'd have jobs. Problem was many of us already had many degrees at many levels in many fields (e.g., EE, Chem. E., physics, psych., computer sci., chemistry, etc.). Then we were all "lazy" despite military service, job histories of 30+ years. Then there weren't "enough STEM folks" (despite millions and millions of people in Silicon Valley and the rest of the US that had STEM degrees who were unemployed). Now it's "screw college, become a plumber"? Really?! If you listen to people like Bloomberg, you will just jump all around, waste time and $ and not gain any time in any field that you enjoy and have aptitude for, and in the end, per Bloomberg, you'll just blame yourself when the economic situation is the fault of people making policies and enforcing them (e.g., Bloomberg, Murdoch, DC, etc.).

People need to ask what advice Bloomberg gives to people close to him. Is he telling fellow plutocrats and their kids to forget college and become plumbers? Hmmm, because that's what's the most telling - it's all a lie, double standards, and hypocrisy. Is he telling all his friends and their kids to go work in the North Dakota oil fields (even if they have physical limitations, houses underwater, can't move their families, etc.), become plumbers, or if they have no aptitude in math or science to go STEM?

Why should anyone take any advice from a guy that made his $ from creating a desktop device that banksters, media folks, etc. use? Really? He made $ from it, but did it really help humanity one iota? Nope. So he needs to just concentrate on running NYC (he doesn't even do that or do it well) and stop with his labor arbitrage BS world tour with phone hacking/cop bribing/child murder investigation tampering Murdoch. The two of them together = sickening sight that represents everything wrong with the USA. But hey, they have $, Murdoch will never be prosecuted for obvious FCPA/RICO violations and Bloomberg can change the rules of the game to remain in power for perpetuity.

I'm sure plumbers are thrilled with him trying to flood the market to lower their wages. Same with truckers. Same with attorneys, doctors, nurses, etc.
Bloomberg, the man that now runs ads bashing soda because bashing $ laundering banksters and cartel/terrorist aiding financial organizations would hurt his friends. Bloomberg, the man that is okay with crushing 1st Amendment protests but can't talk about how his banking buddies failed, still have trillions of dollars in derivatives, and have settled and/or pled to many, many cases of bribery, violations of $ laundering laws, etc. He has $, that's all. Now he needs to be quiet already, $ doesn't mean anything regarding intelligence, ethics, or patriotism. It just means he has $.

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