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Earlier conservative press reports-8

This is a relatively new website and “the conservative financial press” is going to be a huge file. To keep downloads faster, it’s broken up into stages. This is the overflow from the previous one.


 

Forbes magazine, America’s leading defender of greed and materialism, again comes to the defense of the top 1% against the growing “disdain” of the bottom 99%.

From Forbes, June 4, 2012 issue:

The 99% Movement Scorns American Creativity

By Maura Pennington

An attitude continues to grow in America that is being reflected in public policy, which heaps disdain on the creative and successful.

Even if fully 99% of the population support it, this mentality will never lead to progress and cannot be sustained. To really move forward, we have to reassess what it means to be creative and start respecting again what the best and the brightest do for us….

Creativity is an individual gift, individually expressed. Success, too, is unique. When people seek to impose the universal measurement of dollars to regulate both, they lose appreciation for the extraordinary nature of an ¬innovative mind. They quickly revile the exceptional few who can both dream big and follow through. It’s a mistake to do this.

There is already a huge barrier to trying something different: the threat of failure. Yet the self-proclaimed 99% continue to make success seem like a worse fate. The labor unions and non-profits that signed the 99% Spring letter think that by holding the high achievers back they are going to move us all forward.

This is irrational. They use the word “richest” and will say they’re after an indolent, politically insidious class of top earners, but they are assaulting our creative class in the process.

Ms. Pennington totally ignores the primary reason the 99% are disgusted with the “success” of the top 1%: their success is the result of getting Republicans like Mick Mulvaney and Wall Street Democrats elected to public office. Their paid-for politicians make sure that the top 1% benefits economically at the direct expense of the bottom 99%.

They do it by:

 

    • Passing legislation like NAFTA that allows corporations to pit workers of the world against each other in offering the lowest wages and worst working conditions.

 

    • Appointing Wall Street economists to the Federal Reserve who think that the economy is doing great if corporation profits are skyrocketing and the stock market is going up—but also think that they need to cool down the economy if workers’ wages begin to inch up, no matter how little.

 

  • Appointing pro-corporate judges to the federal courts who, for example, consider corporate money in political campaigns is “free speech” and is just fine.

 

For more insights into these issues, as well as many other ways the top 1% takes ruthless advantage of the bottom 99%, check out the free downloadable book, Class War in America, at Amazon.com.

 


The following two articles describe one of the reasons our economy is in so much trouble. As historians Will and Ariel Durant described in their classic book, Lessons of History, bankers always rise to the top of the economic pyramid.

Bankers, the manipulators of money, have finally reached the top in the U.S. and they’re sucking huge amounts of our nation’s vitality through their control of the money supply and their “aggressive credit-and debit-card operations.”

From the Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2012:

Families Study Plan B With Possible Stafford-Loan Rate Spike

The rates on popular federal student loans could shoot up before the next academic season, depending on the outcome of a political battle brewing in Washington.

A provision in a law that has kept rates down on subsidized Stafford loans is set to expire June 30. After that, rates will jump to 6.8%—double the current rate.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to extend for another year the lower rates, which are part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Some Republicans, however, have said they are concerned about the cost of keeping the current rates, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said will cost $6 billion for one year….

A jump in rates would be broadly felt: If rates were to stay at 3.4% for several years, a bachelor’s degree recipient with roughly $11,300 in total subsidized Stafford loans—the average amount, according to FinAid.org—would pay $15,630 over 20 years. If rates shoot up to 6.8% and remain there, this individual would pay an extra $5,125, or $20,755, over that period.

Many predict any rise in rates could push more families to seek out less-expensive colleges—furthering a shift that is already underway. Roughly 22% of students from families making $100,000 or more a year attended a community college during the 2010-11 school year, compared to 12% the year before, according to the latest data from student lender Sallie Mae.

Students are already borrowing at record levels to keep up with rising tuition costs. Total student debt outstanding surpassed $1 trillion for the first time last year, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


From Barron’s, April 23, 2012:

Cut-Up Credit Cards vs. Banks

Holders of bank stocks, especially the ones whose revenues are heavily dependent on aggressive credit- and debit-card operations, should hedge themselves for the possibility that the sword of justice will come slashing down on the industry’s neck in the months ahead.

Revolt by the merchant class over lofty credit- and debit-card fees hangs thick in the air. Convenience stores complain that card costs, including interchange fees, are their second-highest operating expense, behind payrolls.

But because so many of us consumers are hooked on card-reward programs, few businessmen can afford to chuck their credit card machines… Instead, they have marched off, lawyers-in-hand, to the federal courts.

Holders of bank stocks, especially the ones whose revenues are heavily dependent on aggressive credit- and debit-card operations, should hedge themselves for the possibility that the sword of justice will come slashing down on the industry’s neck in the months ahead.

The credit-card companies themselves — MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V), and American Express (AXP), along with the middle-man “merchant acquirers” like Global Payments (GPN), Alliance Data Systems (ADS) and Heartland Payment Systems (HPY), might face some headline risk, but no real revenue risk, says Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst who covers the credit-card industry for investment-bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

In fact, he sees them outperforming the market; MasterCard made a new 52-week high two weeks ago, an indication that investors are shrugging in the face of the lawsuits. …

The Federal Reserve Board is the defendant in one of the most closely-watched lawsuits, which was brought by retailers, restaurateurs, supermarkets, department stores, and gas and convenience store owners claiming to be pinched by exorbitantly high debit-card interchange and network fees charged by banks to cover the cost of transmitting, authorizing and clearing every purchase.

In 2010, Congress, in response to merchant complaints about skyrocketing fees for debit cards, bestowed on the Fed the power to set debit-card fees.

Credit-card fees were unaffected by the law. The Fed last year promulgated a new fee schedule that reduced debit-card fees to about 12 cents per transaction, from about 44 cents. The final rule allowed the banks to charge about 24 cents. The merchants sued, claiming that the Fed did not reduce fees enough.

With regard to student loans: America’s GI Bill gave millions of veterans a free college education. Even if they hadn’t had to go to war to get it, it would have been a very good for our economy. Investing in education is vital to a nation’s future productivity and economic success.

The federal government should not only subsidize student loans for needy students, it should, at the very least, provide them with interest-free loans. As it stands now, bankers have a captive consumer group—desperate college students—to make money off of. And the bankers even got Congress to pass laws that prevent students from declaring bankruptcy—ensuring a permanent indebted class of payers.

Of course, this would cost government more money, and Republicans would find it more difficult to defend their mantra of “no new taxes on the wealthy.”

With regard to credit card fees: As usual, the ones doing the work of actually servicing the needs of the nation–retailers, supermarkets, department stores, and gas and convenience store owners–are seeing the money managers take huge chunks of their incomes.

If you ever thought that the credit card companies were very generous to give you rebates on your credit card, forget it. They pass the costs on to the merchants who have also become a captive group of payers to the bankers.

Bankers have used their political power to ensure that they get a huge share of the profits of the businesses who feel forced to use their services. Consumers get the convenience of credit cards, and even get rebates from the card companies—but it all comes out of the hides of the businesses who are doing most of the work.



 

Read about Ireland’s problems and note the similarities to what is happening in the U.S.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, globalization advocates for U.S. investors promised workers in the U.S. that they would benefit from unregulated international trade. Sure, they would lose the low wage jobs to workers in the developing world, but they would more than make up for that with an increase in more desirable, higher paid jobs.

Internationally, the world’s investors were promising the same thing throughout the developed world, like England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and so on.

Ireland benefitted tremendously at first when American and other nations located facilities there. Not only did workers realize higher incomes and better jobs, their incomes stimulated a housing and real estate boom and national prosperity. As always, investors and bankers benefitted most, pocketing huge profits while they created a huge indebtedness among members of the general public.

Now we’re seeing the long term effects. The best, what-should-be higher paid jobs, are now being done by trained workers, (trained by corporations from the developed world), in low wage countries—not workers in the U.S and the developed world.

And all workers in the developed world are now being told that they must accept lower incomes if they are to have any jobs at all.

From The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2012:

A Bedraggled ‘Celtic Tiger’ Struggles to Retrain Workers

BALLINASLOE, Ireland—Michael Brennan once earned as much as €1,000 ($1,300) a week as a carpenter installing roofs during Ireland’s housing boom. But after about three years without steady work, the 29-year-old is starting over in a freezing meat hall here, trying to carve out a new—and much less lucrative—future.

Mr. Brennan is enrolled in a training course where he is learning to excise bones from bloody slabs of cow. In the end, he hopes to land an entry-level job at a meat-processing factory. The likely pay: €350 a week.

Mr. Brennan is part of a mass reinvention of Ireland’s workforce that is under way in one of the euro zone’s most hard-hit economies. Four years after Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” was slain by the global financial crisis, the country’s 14.6% unemployment rate is higher than it was in the doldrums of 2009, and the country has slipped back into recession….

Because it’s tied to the euro, Ireland hasn’t been able to devalue its currency like it could before joining the monetary union. So the country has had to regain its competitiveness relative to the rest of the world in a more excruciating way: by lowering the prices of goods and labor in real terms. For many, that means less pay for similar work, or a switch to a lower-paid job, after years of wage increases that followed Ireland’s adoption of the euro.

The Irish government has responded in part with a massive retraining program. People who built careers, and comfortable lifestyles, in sectors such as construction, hospitality and retail are being trained for new lives often in jobs their parents and grandparents once held—in industries such as farming and meat processing.

It is a painful recalibration for many, promising a bleaker existence and less-exciting work…

Experts, however, say training programs might quicken a recovery once it comes but cannot cause a recovery. For that, Ireland needs growth.

“There are much fewer jobs available than the supply of labor,” says Alan Gray, managing partner at Indecon International Economic Consultants in Dublin. “Re-skilling people is a good thing, but I don’t think it’s going to solve the unemployment problem.”

The most important statement in the above article: “So the country has had to regain its competitiveness relative to the rest of the world in a more excruciating way: by lowering the prices of goods and labor in real terms. For many, that means less pay for similar work, or a switch to a lower-paid job, after years of wage increases that followed Ireland’s adoption of the euro.”

That’s the story that the world’s investors are now telling all workers, in both the developed and the developing world: the only way you’ll be able to work—as assembly line worker, engineer or scientist—is to work for lower wages than others are willing to work for.

The world’s economy will be in permanent decline until middle and low income citizens regain some power in the endless battle between investors and their bankers—and those who actually work for a living.

 



The Republican and conservative Democrat strategy of increasing corporate profits by pitting the world’s lowest paid workers against American workers has brought the U.S. economy to the brink of utter disaster.

The following pair of articles from the current Businessweek describes what has become an almost irreversible process: the total takeover of industrial production by China and other countries offering the least labor costs and fewest worker protections.

From Bloomberg Businessweek, April 9-15, 2012:

The Chinese Try to Harness the Nevada Sun

  • A struggling town strikes a bargain with a solar power supplier
  • “This could be an enormous economic boon”

Laughlin, Nev., is a dusty outpost 113 miles southeast of Las Vegas, a town of 7,300 people, 11 casinos, and not much else. With many citizens in dire economic straits and facing foreclosure, Laughlin’s civic leaders had long hoped to attract new businesses.

Nothing worked until China’s ENN Group came to town on the arm of U.S. Senator Harry Reid with a plan to build a $5 billion solar energy complex on a barren plot of land on Laughlin’s outskirts….

The deal comes at a time of escalating tension between the U.S. and China over the solar panel industry, with Washington accusing China of dumping cheap components manufactured with the help of government subsidies in the U.S.

According to the Department of Commerce, the number of panels imported to the U.S. from China jumped 247 percent from 2009 to 2011. That’s caused prices to plunge and at least a dozen U.S. solar companies to declare bankruptcy, fire workers, or close plants in the past two years.


China’s Export Machine Gets an Upgrade

  • Higher wages and a stronger currency force a change
  • “The typical…exporter is not a shoe factory in Guangdong anymore”

From its sprawling manufacturing base deep in China’s southwestern Hunan province, some 100 kilometers from where Mao was born, construction-machinery maker Sany Group plans to take on the world.

While workers in blue overalls and yellow hard hats crawl over huge mobile hydraulic cranes and cement mixer trucks in a gleaming factor, Sany President Tang Xiuguo sits in his expansive office nearby, discussion the opening of Sany factories in Brazil, India, and Alabama, as well as the soon-to-be-completed $475 million acquisition of Germany’s Putzmeister, the world’s largest maker of cement pumps….

The phrase “Made in China” summons up images of cheap shoes, plastic toys, and electronics assembled in the vast factory complexes of Foxconn Technology Group. While China built its powerful export business—increasing 17 percent a year over the last three decades—on such light industry and electronics assembly, that is fast changing…

Think of what these articles imply for our future. First, it’s now taken for granted that the only way we can regain our traditional industries—auto, heavy machinery, electronics, etc.—is to cut our workers’ wages to the Draconian pre-1980 levels.

Second, the U.S. can’t even count on the industries of the future—like the green power industries, solar, wind, battery technology, etc.—to return our country to its former greatness.

Of course, corporate executives and their investors will continue to realize huge increases in their incomes and living standards, because, after all, they are becoming investment bankers, not employers of working class laborers. They’re putting their money and whatever advanced technologies we still have, to wherever the labor is cheapest (assembly line workers, engineers, scientists, etc.)

Let’s face it. Investment bankers now control our economy, and Republican is their party—along with a few Republican-Lite Democrats.

 



As you read the following excerpt from an editorial in Forbes magazine—America’s premier advocate of greed and materialism–remember the two previous news items from Businessweek.

Gordon Chang does his level best to totally distort historical reality. His conclusion is wrong in so many ways, it’s hard to decide where to begin. Why don’t you try it?

From Forbes magazine, April 23, 2012:

 

The People, Not the Government, Authored China’s Revival

 

By Gordon G. Chang

 

China’s leaders are on an antireform kick as they seek to bolster the prospects of massive state enterprises and restrict opportunities for foreign investors and domestic entrepreneurs. Especially since the middle of the last decade they have blocked ­acquisitions of local businesses by foreigners, increased state control of enterprises, employed predatory tactics against multinationals and diverted credit away from private enterprises. As they say in China these days, “The Communist Party is now the economy.”

The central government’s misguided moves can only undercut the efforts of the Chinese people to recapture the magic of double-digit growth. So investors should become optimistic about the Chinese economy only when Beijing goes back to letting its farmers, shop owners and entrepreneurs do what they do best: building, expanding and growing their businesses across the country.

Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese people, not their government, created China’s miracle. It’s no wonder that, with the Communist Party grabbing more control now, the economy is faltering.

To begin with, it wasn’t the Chinese people or its government who “created China’s miracle.” Republicans and conservative Democrats created China’s miracle by allowing American corporations to give China our advanced technologies and seed money to manufacture products to sell duty free in the U.S.

Our corporations not only gave “the Chinese people” the necessary technologies and the money to build their industries, they trained their workers, engineers and scientists in the ways to develop the most advanced technologies.

This effectively cut higher-paid American workers, engineers and scientists out of the process, and resulted in huge profits for the corporate executives and their investors.

Of course, China’s government also had a crucial role in its miracle. It guaranteed American corporations that they could count on an exceptionally low-paid nonunion workforce with no workplace protections and fewer environmental regulations.

And now!? Mr. Chang expresses dismay about the fact that “China’s leaders are on an antireform kick as they seek to bolster the prospects of massive state enterprises and restrict opportunities for foreign investors.” No kidding. He’s surprised that an enlightened country like China has now decided that they don’t really need American investors anymore—the ones who created their miracle!

Next time you vote, remember who made China the industrial leader of world at our expense: Republicans and conservative Democrats.



 

Exceptionally bad news: “With wages falling for many young people and about flat for the nation as a whole, consumers have limited ability to pay down debts and revive the economy with more spending.”

This is the result of the top 1% using their power and influence in Washington to get legislation passed that benefits them at the direct expense of everyone else. From legislation that gave us “globalization” to tax breaks for the wealthy, for the past 30 years we’ve transferred wealth from the bottom 99% to the top 1%.

Today, the top 1%–especially corporate executives and their investors—are seeing their incomes rise, while, as described below, the rest of us are paying the price.

From the Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2012

Young Adults See Their Pay Decline

Young people entering the job market are taking the brunt of the downward pressure on wages caused by high unemployment, according to a new analysis of pay trends.

In data compiled for a coming report, the Economic Policy Institute, a center-left think tank in Washington, found that the average inflation-adjusted hourly wage for male college graduates aged 23 to 29 dropped 11% over the past decade to $21.68 in 2011. For female college graduates of the same age, the average wage is down 7.6% to $18.80.

“New college graduates have been losing ground for 10 years,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the institute, which derived the figures from regular government wage surveys. The drop in average wages for young adults is in contrast to U.S. government figures showing that average inflation-adjusted hourly wages for production and nonsupervisory workers of all ages and education levels are up 3% from a decade ago.

The EPI data are another sobering sign for college students and have implications for the economy. With wages falling for many young people and about flat for the nation as a whole, consumers have limited ability to pay down debts and revive the economy with more spending.

Voters should be aware of another wrinkle to this situation: the zero-sum nature of wealth. The more the top 1% takes out of the economy, the less is left for the bottom 99%. For more discussion about this, check out Wealth Is a Zero-Sum Game.



 

The following article demonstrates the incredible harm done to our economy because of globalization (duty free trade that allows imports from low wage countries to be sold in the U.S.).

Since 2010 we’ve only added 400,000 jobs, after having lost 5.8 million jobs from 2000 through 2010. What’s not included in the news reports is that most of those 400,000 jobs gained are at 1988 wage levels, and the 5.8 million workers who lost their jobs now are working at reduced incomes.

Of course, corporate executives and their investors are still having incomes at their stratospheric 2012 levels.

From the Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2012:

Economists Assail Campaign Proposals to Help Factories

Proposals by President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum to promote manufacturing are running into skepticism among economists who doubt modern factories can churn out many new jobs.

After shedding millions of jobs over the past three decades, U.S. factories are adding workers again. The White House says that with the right mix of policies—including tax breaks—the government can help sustain that growth. Mr. Santorum would go further, eliminating the corporate tax on manufacturing.

Critics of such proposals say the rise in manufacturing employment of the past two years is more a blip than a trend. Opponents of “industrial policy,” government efforts to promote certain sectors have long argued it’s folly for policy makers to try to pick winners and losers. But even some analysts more open to active government involvement in the economy doubt manufacturing can become a significant job creator in the U.S….

Multinational companies are increasingly moving production to the U.S., but “the problem is that there are few jobs created by insourcing activity,” Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group wrote in an analysis Tuesday….

U.S. manufacturers have added roughly 400,000 jobs since 2010, after losing 5.8 million jobs from 2000 through 2009. Manufacturing employed more than a third of the nation’s nonfarm workers in 1950, but now employs less than 9%.

We’re now seeing why Republicans and conservative Democrats supported globalization in the first place. By pitting American workers against workers in the developing world they have effectively put a lid on “wage inflation,” destroyed the power of unions to negotiate for higher wages, and achieved a permanent ability to dictate wages and working conditions.

And, incidentally, they’ve removed the main route to the middle class for most citizens. It’s time for radical change.



If you ever doubted the anti-labor, pro-wealthy-investor bias of the Republican Party, events like this should remove all doubt.

Republicans have consistently demanded tax breaks for the wealthy without any strings attached, and regardless of the level of our increasing deficit.

However, when it comes to giving tax breaks to middle and low income Americans, it’s an entirely different story. Tax breaks to mere workers must be offset.

In addition, Republicans will “risk collapse” of tax reduction legislation in order to get concessions from Democrats. Naturally, those concessions come at the cost of middle and low income citizens: public health, employee pensions, etc.

From the Wall Street Jorunal, February 16, 2012:

Lawmakers Finalize Payroll-Tax Agreement

Deal Also Renews Expiring Jobless Benefits and Comes
After Party Leaders Risked Collapse With Last-Minute Changes

Rank-and-file GOP lawmakers already dislike the package because lawmakers did not find a way to offset the cost of extending cuts to the payroll tax….

The costs of the payroll-tax cut would not be offset with spending cuts or revenue increases, in a major concession by Republicans, according to the framework being discussed earlier Wednesday. But the remaining parts of the package were to be funded by auctioning off spectrum, cutting the federal contribution to employee pensions and imposing spending cuts, including to President Obama’s health-care program….

At the same time, Democrats were fretting about the cuts to Mr. Obama’s health-care law. Outlines of the package called for tentative cuts of $5 billion from a “prevention and public health fund,” which had been set to spend $15 billion over 10 years.

It’s about time we recognized we’re in a class war, and Republicans have been winning big time for the past three decades.


“America’s conservative press” file is going to be huge. For faster downloads it will be broken up into segments. To view previous excerpts from the conservative financial press, go here.

 

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