2011/07/31: HuffPo: The Goons of August
Let us face the momentous truth: The United States has been rendered ungovernable except on the extortionate terms of the far-right.
For the first time in modern history, one of the two major parties is in the hands of a faction so extreme that it is willing to destroy the economy if it doesn't get its way.
And the Tea Party Republicans have a perfect foil in President Barack Obama. The budget deal is the logical conclusion of Obama's premise that the way to make governing partners of the far right is to keep appeasing them. He is the perfect punching bag. He can be blasted both as a far-left liberal and as a weakling.
2011/07/27: VoxEU: Europe's 200 billion euro reverse wealth tax explained by Harald Hau
Last week, the European heads of government added 109 billion euro to the existing 110 billion euro rescue plan for Greece.
As Europe’s financial sector would have otherwise taken a huge hit, this column address the question:
How did the financial sector manage to negotiate such a gigantic wealth transfer from the Eurozone taxpayer and the IMF to the richest 5% of people in the world?
2011/07/27: CPunch: The Enemy is Washington -- An Economy Destroyed
Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase. The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat. Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
2011/07/26: BBC: Downturn widens racial wealth gap
The wealth gap between American whites and minorities has grown wider during the recession, according to an analysis of US Census data.
It found the median wealth of white US households in 2009 was $113,149 (£69,000), compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks.
This left whites with about 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics.
Those ratios compared with 7:1 for both groups back in 1995.
2011/07/25: BBC: Iran in '$10bn deal to export gas to Europe'
Iran has signed a preliminary $10bn (£6.25bn) deal with Syria and Iraq to export some of its natural gas, local media have reported.
The memorandum of understanding signed by oil ministers from the three countries would see a 3,100 mile pipeline built through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean.
The deal may allow exports of gas to Europe - according to the Iranian Oil Ministry's website, Shana.
It would also supply gas to Syria.
2011/07/21: NYT: The Lesser Depression
These are interesting times -- and I mean that in the worst way. Right now we’re looking at not one but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of state fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe -- which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.
We can only hope...
2011/07/19: CBC: U.S. House passes sweeping deficit-cutting plan -- Senate Democrats will oppose the House measure
Defying a veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted Tuesday night to slice federal spending by $6 trillion US and require a constitutional balanced budget amendment to be sent to the states in exchange for averting a threatened Aug. 2 government default.
The 234-190 vote marked the power of deeply conservative first-term Republicans, and it stood in contrast to rising support at the White House and in the Senate for a late stab at bipartisanship to solve the nation's looming debt crisis.
2011/07/15: TAP: The Right to Double Speak
The most recent Supreme Court term featured an array of blockbuster rulings. Here's the one everyone missed.
...the Court held the Janus Corporation and its executives were not responsible for the statements contained in the prospectuses of the mutual fund.
2011/07/15: EurActiv: Titanic spectre looms large over world finance
As Italy struggled to unravel its debt crisis yesterday (14 July), Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti unequivocally compared the euro crisis to the sinking of the Titanic. Across the ocean US President Barack Obama struggled to avoid a debt default by the world’s largest economy.
2011/07/13: BBC: UK unemployment total falls, but claimant count up
UK unemployment fell 26,000 in the three months to May to 2.45 million, official figures show.
The unemployment rate was 7.7%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), down from 7.8% in the previous quarter.
However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in June rose by 24,500 to 1.52 million - the biggest such increase in two years.
It follows an upwardly-revised 22,500 rise in the claimant count for May.
2011/07/09: NYT: Somehow, the Unemployed Became Invisible
GRIM number of the week: 14,087,000.
Fourteen million, in round numbers -- that is how many Americans are now officially out of work.
Word came Friday from the Labor Department that, despite all the optimistic talk of an economic recovery, unemployment is going up, not down. The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.
What gives? And where, if anywhere, is the outrage?
2011/07/08: EUO: China: EU bailout leaves 'fundamental problems' unresolved
China's ambassador to the EU has said Greece might default despite EU and IMF efforts, but indicated that Beijing will continue to support the single currency.
"Despite the recent payment of 12 billion euros by the EU and IMF, some of the fundamental problems in Greece have not yet been resolved ... People are still discussing if there will be a restructuring [of Greek debt] or a default, obviously a restructuring would have much smaller negative consequences," ambassador Song Zhe told press at an event in Brussels on Friday (8 July).
2011/07/05: CCurrents: PASOK: Pan Hellenic Socialist Kleptocrats
"George Papandreou is not bought, he is rented. He sells public enterprises to the multinationals. He reduces wages, pensions and employment at the behest of the IMF. He turns over the public treasury to the European banks. He supports NATO’s war against Libya. He directs the Greek Coast Guard to enforce Netanyahu’s blockade of Gaza." According to a demonstrator in Syndigma Square, Athens, July 3, 2011
2011/07/03: NakedCapitalism: Look What You Can Buy in the Greek Liquidation Sale!
Up for sale are 39 airports, 850 ports, railways, motorways, sewage works, a couple of energy companies, banks, defence groups, thousands of acres of land for development, casinos and Greece’s national lottery.
George Christodoulakis, Greece’s special secretary for asset restructuring and privatisations, said the sell-off would raise 50bn euros (£44bn) to help pay back the country’s 110bn euro bailout debt.
2011/07/04: G&M: There are bigger threats to our fragile recovery than the postal dispute
Now that the mail is being delivered again, Canada’s economic prospects have brightened considerably. That is, if you believe the Harper government’s claims that the phony shutdown of Canada Post by its own management constituted a real and present danger to the national recovery.
Canada Post’s management wanted to cut wages for new hires and, ultimately, abolish the company’s defined benefit pension plan. The union, naturally, resisted. But fearing back-to-work legislation, it organized rotating job actions rather than an all-out strike. So management shut down the whole operation, precipitating the desired government intervention. The resulting legislation imposed a wage settlement lower than what Canada Post had already offered.