This little NYT story greeted me this morning which I am filing under the 'The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same' tab. I think we need to establish a rule for private, 'capitalist,' companies--we won't raise your taxes but we won't give you ANY public money either. I think what pisses me off most on the first example they give is that the company markets a product to the Pentagon which the Pentagon has been reluctant to buy and which it may NEVER USE. Talk about a triple waste--the earmark money + low tax rates + the purchase price of the goods that may not be used.
I found this story on HuffingtonPost. When one segment of the economy represents more than two-thirds of economic activity and that segment takes a big hit, the economy is in trouble. It is even worse when that segment is entirely devoted to consuming products no longer, for the most part, made or grown in this country. I think it is absolutely amazing how all of the economic pundits can wax enthusiastic about the 'expected' rise in 'consumer confidence' or 'consumer spending' and then totally ignore the dismal news that the expected rise did not happen. I did see a very interesting segment on the ABC local morning news. The commentators noted that the drop in unemployment last month came because over 600k people were 'no longer looking for work' and so no longer counted. They also noted the anemic creation of 83k private sector jobs and the lower than expected consumer spending data. Then they mentioned how the news media had let the dismal numbers slide barely mentioned to focus almost exclusively on the 'positive' data. They wondered if the reporters were getting somewhat exhausted by the negative data--to the point where they were ready to simply say 'The economy sucks' before moving on to other stories. That was, I think, the most honest report I have seen in a long time.
I notice another story has gotten the 'glide over without comment' treatment. BP has started to pressure its partners in the blown-out oil well for contributions to costs of the spill which have now topped $3 billion. And they are looking for an investor to buy a 10% stake in the company. I saw this on the televised news and so don't have a link. But none of the articles I have found so far mention anything other than the scale of the costs.
Firedoglake has an interesting piece which adds to the discussion started with the piece on earmarks with which I started today's post. Why in the hell does an industry dominated by a very few huge international companies that rake in trillions of dollars a year need public money and tax breaks? You can get the outrage from Firedoglake and more of the story from the NYT article which spells out the facts. I really do wish that all of those lovely idiots who think we have capitalism would show me where it is. I can't see it. Chris In Paris (at Americablog) also has a few well chosen remarks on our system of "corporate socialism."
We have heard a good deal over the last couple of months about the deficits that most countries have been running up to combat the recession and how to tame them. Austerity has become something of a watchword in politics today. As anyone with half a brain realizes, the devil is always in the details. Over here we have a drumbeat going on that hammers on the 'entitlements' (though very seldom does anyone mention spending on two useless wars). I think we have every reason to be skeptical about austerity measures and should ask serious question about who will be hurt most and who will benefit most. Chris has a link to a Guardian story which indicates that women in Great Britain will shoulder some 75% of the burden of austerity (from a combination of increased tax burdens and benefit cuts) while men (still better paid and wealthier) will only bear 25%.
Although I haven't yet finished going through my blog list but this had gone on long enough for today. See y'all next time. Have a good day.