Economy

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The Green Alternative to Austerity Budgets

by Howie Hawkins March 25, 2014 Austerity budgets mean a whole generation of school children bear the burden of closing budget gaps with cuts in state funding for public schools. They mean scores of towns, school districts, counties, and most upstate cities bear the burden of fiscal distress and impending insolvency because state revenue sharing has been slashed. How long must we wait for meaningful steps on progressive goals like living-wage jobs for the unemployed in public works and services, fully-funded public schools, tuition-free public colleges, health care for all, affordable housing and mass transit, and climate-safe clean energy?  …


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The Stone that Brings Down Goliath? Richmond and Eminent Domain

The Web of Debt  by Ellen Brown March 3, 2014 In a nearly $13 billion settlement with the US Justice Department in November 2013, JPMorganChase admitted that it, along with every other large US bank, had engaged in mortgage fraud as a routine business practice, sowing the seeds of the mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging; yet no prominent banker has gone to jail. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all mortgages nationally remain underwater (meaning the balance owed exceeds the current value of the home), sapping…


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Budget Realignment Reflects Pentagon’s Vision of Covert and Endless War

by Brian J. Trautman The Pentagon’s budget proposal for next year was announced last week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In an interview with The New York Times, Hagel argued that to meet today’s national security needs, the Department of Defense (DoD) must shift its focus and capabilities away from “fighting grinding ground conflicts” and towards “new arenas of combat.” To achieve these ends, the budget calls for a realignment of the military that would reduce the total number of ground troops to its lowest level since 1940 and discontinue some military equipment deemed obsolete or unnecessary. According to…


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Secretive trade agreement would undermine democracy

Post-Standard by Ursula Rozum January 20, 2014 Any speck of democracy and sovereignty we the people have left in this country is under attack. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new international trade pact crafted by multinational corporations and currently being negotiated in secret by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) along with 11 other foreign governments. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) describes the agreement as “an attack on democratic governance” and “a punch in the face to the middle class of America.” The TPP began as trade talks among a few Pacific Rim countries, but has been expanded…


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Reasons to Lose Sleep over the Shutdown and Obamacare

by Scott McLarty Common Dreams, October 6, 2013 Sure, the government shutdown and Republican demands regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are reprehensible, but let’s not delude ourselves about the ACA itself. It’s needlessly complex. It preserves medical treatment as a commodity rather than a right: low-cost policies will provide low-quality insurance. It imposes a direct public subsidy to feed the insurance industry, which helped write the legislation. It isn’t universal. Millions of people who lacked it will now have health insurance, but the coverage they get won’t approach the level of health-care access guaranteed to every citizen in every…