Category Archives: The destruction of the middle class

What Happened to the “Feel Good” Economy?

Even though this video is from December (hat tip Philip Pilkington), it gives an informative and nuanced explanation of the rise in income inequality and consumer debt levels, and how they play into our unimpressive “recovery”. The interview of Steve Fazzari and Barry Cynamon by Marshall Auerback discusses how the rise of inequality has many drivers, but the biggest appears to be financialization which is so pervasive and well-protected politically as to make it hard to roll back. It also put focus on key metrics that often get lost in conventional coverage. For instance, inflation and productivity adjusted wages would now need to be over $20 to match the levels of the 1960s.


Obama Administration Makes Unverifiable Claim of 545,000 IT Job Openings; H-1B Visa Boosting Likely Culprit

Two stories on Slashdot say a great deal about the reality of the labor market versus the official hype. It’s noteworthy that the comments, which are typically fractious at Slashdot, line up almost uniformly on the “employers are looking for insanely specific and often unrealistic experience.” And why might that be? In the case of tech in particular, to justify bringing in more H-1B visa candidates.


Troika Tightening the Noose on Greece as Government Cash Crunch Worsens

“I begin to discern the profile of my death.” That arresting sentence, culled from early drafts, served as the anchor for one of the finest novels ever written, Margarite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian.

The Troika and Eurogroup look to be working towards the Greek government to start having similar thoughts. However, given the high level of popular support for Syriza, and press reports that Greek citizens fully expect that the new government to at best only be able to deliver on a small portion of its campaign promises, the end game for Greece is looking more and more likely to be a failed state rather than a more neoliberal-friendly government.


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Forced Into Historic Runoff

This Real News Network interview describes why the coming mayoral runoff in Chicago is in many ways a referendum on failed neoliberal policies, such as privatizing schools. The very fact that this race is taking place at all reveals an unexpectedly large degree of popular discontent with misrule by what passes for our elites


Mathew D. Rose: Greece – Dead Man Walking

Rose focuses on an issue that reader Swedish Lex and other have pointed out: the heavy-handed actions of Germany in the tempestuous negotiations between the Eurozone and Greece have wound up being a major own goal.

But the bigger issue that Rose raises is that last week’s ugly negotiations, in combination with the fiasco in Ukraine, is exposing Germany as a lousy hegemon, which he argues is producing a political crisis in Germany and fracture lines in Europe.


TransPacific Partnership: Fast Track to Financial Instability

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama said he would submit a bill to Congress that would grant him the fast track authority to finalize the TransPacific Partnership (TPP)—a trade pact with Pacific Rim countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Peru, and Chile.  While free trade has brought benefits in the past, tariffs in the world economy are at an all time low and new deals like the TPP offer few new gains in terms of growth and jobs for the American people. And the TPP in particular comes at unacceptably high cost.