Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
Obama Gives Corporations Free U.S. Labor
As we alluded to, there are many pieces of Obama's jobs plan that plain won't work and worse. Naked Capitalism adds commentary on the work for free while on unemployment benefits agenda item in the bill:
The Times piece focuses on a Georgia “tryout” program in which workers still on unemployment get to work for free for prospective employers for a maximum of 24 weeks. The employer is under no obligation to hire anyone. Needless to say, this program is more than a tad skewed in favor of companies. But it costs no money and creates the impression the government is Doing Something. So since no one in DC wants the government to spend more money, particularly on little people, this gimmick is perfect fit with the “let them eat cake” zeitgeist.
Populist for a Day
We noticed Obama got a spine for a second, but alas, it was just a second. The piece Populist for a Day outlines the great blink. Did you know now Medicare and social security are back on the dismantling table again, all under the guise of deficit reduction?
It only took 24 hours for President Blinker to re-shuffle the pack.
A day later, the New York Times lead, after Boehner has emphasized that meeting the deficit-reduction target should come largely from overhauling benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security:
“President Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that uses entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, administration officials said.”
Suddenly we have “entitlement cuts” leading the charge.
WTO as Big Bad Bully
Thank God for Public Citizen monitoring bad trade deals. In WTO is the big kid on the seesaw, we have some facts on how often the WTO rules against the United States, and how:
The recent WTO attacks on U.S. consumer and environmental policies have revived discussion of whether current trade agreements leave enough space for countries to regulate in the public interest.
Those who think not can cite to the fact that the WTO rules against challenged policies 90 percent of the time.
ABC News Asks Why Public Infrastructure Jobs Are Going to the Chinese?
It doesn't get more outrageous than this. Infrastructure jobs are going to Chinese companies and they are importing Chinese workers. ABC news has been running a series, Made in America and this week they exposed U.S. taxpayer money going straight out of the country. The Alliance for American Manufacturing hightlighted the ABC news segment:
As ABC News reporter Chris Cuomo explains, U.S. firms don't face a level playing field. Chinese companies are state-owned. That's why Buy America laws were passed, to give U.S. firms a chance. We need to enforce these laws.
Solyndra, Green Jobs & China
Trade Reform points out the debacle, or loss of half a billion in taxpayer dollars has more to do with Chinese mercantilism than corruption:
The real story is China’s mercantilism. House and Senate committees should look at that issue. Too bad that addressing foreign mercantilism causes a painful cognitive-dissonance explosion in the heads of free trade utopians.
Solyndra was collateral damage in a trade war with China
… Beginning in early 2009, the Obama administration’s use of stimulus money under the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program went not just to help out a handful of businesses, but to jump-start a market. Funds doled out under the stimulus have gone, or are going to, a portfolio of renewables. The complete list of 32 “section 1705″ (stimulus-funded) loan guarantees, available on the DOE website, is more than half solar — it includes four solar manufacturing companies (including Solyndra) and 15 solar generation plants, along with assorted wind, geothermal, and biofuel businesses.
Count on Dean Baker
Economist Dean Baker is always busy calling out the fiction spewed in the major press. This time he blasts the New York Times and notes China could fix their inflation problem by simply allowing the Yuan to float. Got that one right.
While the article implies that the slowdown makes it less likely that China would raise the value of its currency, which would increase its imports from the rest of the world and reduce its exports, a rise in the value of the yuan would be an obvious way to achieve the desired slowdown. In other words, as an alternative to the measures taken by China's central bank to reduce lending, the bank could simply raise the value of its currency against the dollar and other major currencies. This route would also have the advantage of directly reducing the inflation rate by making the goods China imports from the rest of the world cheaper.
Quantifying Age Discrimination
There is a new Congressional Research Service Study out which shows what we all know, anyone over the age of 50 and in many occupations, 35, is subject to harsh age discrimination. The Huffington Post:
Older workers are less likely to lose their jobs than younger workers, but once they do, they're more than twice as likely to be out of work for 99 weeks or longer.