Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

December 7, 2014

Congress: Just Like You, Only Much Richer

“Congress is rich. The average net worth in Congress is a bit more than $6 million, while the median net worth is $1 million. To put that in context, $4 million in net worth is enough to put someone in the top 1 percent, and $660,000 is enough to put an individual in the top 10 percent. Meanwhile, the median family wealth for whites is $134,000 and for blacks is $11,000. Emerging political science research suggests that the implications of this class bias are profound and important.”

– “The death of working-class politics: How the wealthy conquered Congress and abandoned blue-collar America,” Sean McElwee, Salon

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers

November 29, 2014

Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers
On this Thankgiving holiday, many low-paid Walmart employees held food drives — for each other. They typically make under $25,000 a year, have no medical benefits, and many must use food stamps. Activists thought Walmart owner Alice Walton might want to pitch in, so they put a giant food drive bin outside her $25 million Park Avenue condo.

Robert Reich has some background:

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Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday. Shop Local.

Yesterday, on “Black Friday,” millions of Americans spent billions of dollars with the multi-national corporations that sell imported products in U.S. shopping malls. Some of us resisted this retail feeding frenzy and bought nothing. Today people from both camps will buy local, shopping with neighborhood shops on Small Business Saturday.

$100 spent with local businesses returns $68 to the community vs. $43 spent at big box stores. So think outside the big box and shop local. The Small Business Saturday campaign was started by American Express, but your local shopkeepers will really thank you if you pay cash and leave your Amex card at home (they have to pay Amex swipe fees).

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Image (“Small Business Saturday, after Edward Hopper”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Big Savings!

November 28, 2014

Big Savings!

The Friday after Thanksgiving or ”Black Friday“ is reserved by global corporations for whipping Americans into a frenzy of over-consumption.  Millions camp out and line up for hours hoping for bargains. Most end up buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford.

Save big today. Don’t buy a single thing. If you want to spend something, spend the day with friends and family. Spend time at the library; borrow a book and spend time reading it. Spend time making something. You’re not what you buy. You’re not a “consumer.” You’re a human being.

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John Oliver Plays (With) the Lottery

November 12, 2014

John Oliver Plays (With) the Lottery

Americans spent $68 billion playing the lottery last year, more than they spent on movie tickets, music, professional sports, video games and porn combined.. You can think of state lotteries as a tax on the dreams of the poor, since the poor spend more on these state-sponsored gambling schemes than more well-off people. Lottery ads sell hope, but the odds of winning are hopeless (1 in 176 million).

States sold the lottery concept to voters by saying the money earned would go to good causes like education, but it doesn’t, it merely displaces existing funding instead of supplementing it, so school budgets are flat or reduced.

Lottery winners are notoriously bad with their money. Hey, if they were good with money, would they play the freakin’ lottery in the first place?

John Oliver recently analyzed the lottery on his television program:

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Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

October 14, 2014

Paul Ryan, Republican Intellectual

Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) is running for reelection, and he’s rolled out his Big Ideas:

In the realm Higher Mathematics, he’s figured out how to cut taxes but keep popular tax deductions and government benefits. The method seems to involve lots of sleight-of-hand and wishful thinking. Maybe there’s a secret formula in Atlas Shrugged.

In Climate Science, Mr. Ryan has determined that humans have not contributed to Global Warming, despite decades of research that indicate otherwise with a 97% consensus. This isn’t just a tree-hugger matter; the Pentagon says Climate Change is a threat to National Security.

Related:

“How Paul Ryan Convinced Washington of His Genius,” Alec MacGillis, The New Republic

“Like Newt Gingrich? You’ll Love Paul Ryan.” NotionsCapital.com

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-k3f

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Mind the Gap

October 9, 2014

Mind the Gap

“According to calculations from the Equal Payback Project, American women are owed $29,811,746,430,000 (that’s U.S. dollars, also known as U.S. golden dollars with Sacagawea on them) due to the wage gap.

Working female Sarah Silverman is fund-raising for this exact amount. She promises that if this fund-raising goal is met, each woman in America will receive a check. If not, the money will go the National Women’s Law Center, which advocates for legal and structural changes to support professional women. They’re only trillions dollars away from removing this gap off the list of gaps facing women today.”

– “Sarah Silverman Is Fund-raising 29 Trillion Dollars,” Maggie Lange, New York Magazine

More:

“Sarah Silverman creates provocative new video on women’s salaries and ‘the $500,000 vagina tax,'” Siri Srinivas, The Guardian

“Everything you need to know about the gender wage gap,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

“Pay Equity & Discrimination,” Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

 Video after the jump (NSFW, of course, it’s Sarah Silverman.)

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A Day Without Burgers

September 4, 2014

A Day Without Burgers

Don’t forget to pack a lunch this morning. Fast-food workers across the country are striking for a living wage, so’ll you’ll want to stay out of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King. Don’t like cold sandwiches? Read this.

More:

“Fast food workers plan biggest US strike to date over minimum wage,” Dominic Rushe, The Guardian

“Fast Food Workers Plan Another Strike in 150 Cities,” Victor Luckerson, TIME Magazine

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Caffè Latte Is Not What You Think It Is

August 23, 2014

Caffè Latte Is Not What You Think It Is

“Perhaps the latte’s most popular association, at least currently, is with a certain level of affluence. Conservatives complain about ‘latte liberals’ who are out of touch with the working class ….

But the notion that lattes are a sign of privilege may be off-base. Kyla Wazana Tompkins, a professor of English and gender and women’s studies … told Op-Talk that ‘the latte, while it may be attached on a certain level to too much upper-class food knowledge and pretension, it really is no longer an upper-class drink.’ She explained: ‘No matter how many kale salads Starbucks puts in their case, Starbucks is a fast-food purveyor.’ The latte, she argued, ‘is a high-calorie food that’s being pushed in an industrialized way largely to working-class people.’ And, she added, ‘it’s important to think about the explosion of all of these industrialized lattes, all these frozen lattes, all the Frappuccinos, as links to a larger problem of creating cheap, high-calorie, low-nutrition food for working-class people.’”

More:

“If You Read This, You Might Never Drink a Latte Again,” Anna North, New York Times

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Image (“Lady with iPad, after Rafael de Penagos”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Karl Marx Cashes In

July 8, 2014

Karl Marx Cashes In

In recent antiquarian book irony financial news: Commodity Fetishism?

“Copy of Das Kapital sells for $40k just as Dow Jones hits record high,” Richard Davies, AbeBooks

Related:

“Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy,” George Magnus, Bloomberg View

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-jw0

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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