Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
Fed Chair Bernanke Warns on Europe, Jobs Crisis
It's astounding to me, that even the big banker in chief knows the jobs crisis and what's going on in Europe can bring the U.S. to it's knees, unlike most of the punditry these days:
Although the Fed would obviously do all that we could to maintain stability and to keep monetary policy as easy as necessary to try to minimize the damage, I don't think we would be able to escape the consequences of a blow-up in Europe
If we don't immediately reduce CO2 emissions the effects will be irreversible in 5 years:
International Energy Agency (IEA) realeased its 2011 World Energy Outlook today in London. The report warns that if urgent action is not taken the world is headed for irreversible climate change within five years. "If we do not have an international agreement whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door will be closed forever," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol warned.
Oh yeah, oil will never be cheap again. Probably a good thing since it's killing the planet.
Who can forget Enron and Arthur Anderson? Seems quite a few. David Cay Johnston goes into a little history of audits and asks this:
Why do we let corporations pick their auditors? Why do we have only four big firms instead of a dozen, a score or more? Why doesn’t government do the audits, as the IRS does tax audits? Why is law enforcement handcuffed by inadequate budgets and rules that hinder investigations? Why are auditors allowed to quietly resign instead of being required to blow the whistle?
Naked Capitalism has found a comprehensible legal analysis of MERS, the electronic registry and trading of mortgages.
The persistence of MERS as Lender A’s agent in the public record in effect accomplished with smoke and mirrors—and it conjures a host of evils. Yes, every MERS member establishes its own agency relationship with MERS. But immediately upon transfer of the mortgage from Lender A the agency relationship between MERS Lender A ends. The agency between MERS and Owner B is in fact a new and distinct agency relationship—and, given the functional identity between principal and agent, a new and distinct “MERS” as well. Again, in the absence of a valid assignment, the status of MERS as the mortgagee in the public records becomes a misrepresentation of material fact at the very instant the mortgage is assigned by Lender A, and from that point on the mortgage industry is, in effect, using a ghost to do its bidding—and one of dubious character at that. Only the name “MERS” remains; the “continuity” is a chimera, an illusion, the purpose of which is to make an end run around the need for a formal assignment. It has also served as a red herring, distracting courts from the sober fact that the role of MERS as a “common agent,” for all of its theoretical elegance and self-proclaimed validity, simply cannot in its present form be fit into the framework of existing law without inflicting collateral damage upon the very principles of fairness and transparency on which that framework has been built over many years and through many efforts and sacrifices. What this all boils down to it this: in order for MERS to remain the mortgagee of record at the local land office without fraudulently misrepresenting itself as such three things must occur.
We've covered the MERS mortgage fraud scandal for sometime.
Slave Labor Trading Desk - The Web
By now most have seen websites forcing workers to bid on projects which mean they are working for 24¢ an hour in the end. Finally someone else notices these auction sites are glorified slavery auctions in electronic form.
For $25, Daniel H will help debug your software. Valerie asks just $20 to pick your folks up from the airport. Miss Minty, for $50, will teach you to drive a stick-shift. Those are some of the services being offered on Coffee and Power, a web site that looks to match up tasks with willing workers. Like it or not, it may be the future of work — and pay.
Illegal Immigrants? Try Illegal Employers
We all know corporations and special interests put out article plants to promote whatever agenda they want in the press. This, from Bloomberg is quite amusing. It's supposed to say how we must have illegals to do the jobs America won't do, but ends up documenting slave labor conditions. Not intentional, the article shows exactly why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Big Agriculture demand illegal labor. It's all about no benefits, wages below minimum and even no bathroom breaks.
Since heading into the fields at 7 a.m., they haven’t stopped for more than the few seconds it takes to swig some water. They’ll work until 6 p.m., earning $2 for each 25-pound basket they fill. The men figure they’ll take home around $60 apiece.
You got immigrants doing more than what blacks or whites will. Look at them, they just work and work all day. They don’t look at it like it’s a hard job. They don’t take breaks!”
It's more than illegals shouldn't be taking jobs. What those employers are demanding is also illegal....last time I checked any labor laws.
Europe to Regulate Credit Rating Agencies
Did you know, unlike the United States, Europe is looking to regulate the credit rating agencies? Just about the time their rules are going into effect, seems S&P made a huge mistake on France:
Just days before it was to propose sweeping regulations for credit rating agencies, the European Commission on Friday joined calls for an investigation into Standard & Poor’s after the company erroneously sent out an e-mail suggesting that it had lowered the rating on France’s sovereign debt.
Republicans Target American Workers
Someone over at Market Watch notices the GOP agenda is all about hurting the U.S. workforce:
It’s a mark of how far right the national conversation has swung that we’ve heard endlessly about the Obama administration’s so-called “War on Business” with little notice of the Republicans’ strategy of targeting workers.
Stripping workers of their rights — their right to a fair wage, their right to organize and bargain, their right to a secure retirement — is at the center of the economic plan of congressional Republicans.
The Republicans’ ideas to fix the economy hinge heavily on the bizarre notion that what plagues American business is high costs: High labor costs, high taxes and too many regulations.
It’s not so. Labor costs are cheap, and falling.
Death of the Euro
Paul Krugman in predicting the Euro's demise, explains why debt is such an issue for Spain, Greece and Italy:
What has happened, it turns out, is that by going on the euro, Spain and Italy in effect reduced themselves to the status of third-world countries that have to borrow in someone else’s currency, with all the loss of flexibility that implies. In particular, since euro-area countries can’t print money even in an emergency, they’re subject to funding disruptions in a way that nations that kept their own currencies aren’t — and the result is what you see right now. America, which borrows in dollars, doesn’t have that problem.
Work life Sucks and We're Depressed About It
This is a no brainer, 25% of workers are depressed.
The survey, which rogenSi calls its “Global Mindset Index,” also found that 92% of workers “responded that their emotions were in someway being controlled by the results they have been achieving at work” as opposed to more positive factors such as their own belief in self.
Why anyone gives any credibility to an employer these days, beyond doing what it takes to keep the paycheck, is beyond me. Why look for help with self-esteem to a glorified slave overseer?
Dr. Doom Predicts End of Eurozone
He's back....and predicting the inevitable, the Eurozone will break apart:
The eurozone's problems are much deeper. They are structural, and they severely affect at least four other economies: Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, and Spain.
For the last decade, the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) were the eurozone's consumers of first and last resort, spending more than their income and running ever-larger current-account deficits. Meanwhile, the eurozone core (Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and France) comprised the producers of first and last resort, spending below their incomes and running ever-larger current-account surpluses.
Banks Try to Stop Customers From Closing Accounts
Dailykos stopped their never ending unlimited migration, if you don't agree, you're a racist xenophobe, text stream for a second to write up a useful post, complete with videos, showing banks trying to stop customers from closing accounts. This is true, in case you don't believe the videos. I had a similar problem when closing my Wells Fargo account earlier this year.