By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Director of the Iowa DOT: “And so the reality is, the system is going to shrink. There’s nothing I have to do. Bridges close themselves. Roads deteriorate and go away. That’s what happens. Let’s figure out which ones we really want to keep” [Strong Towns]. Sounds like something the Archdruid would say. I’m filing this under 2016 because in the possibly vain hope that a candidate can be brought to say something about it, in Iowa.
“In a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, [Jebbie] will argue the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq under President Barack Obama paved the way” for ISIS [Wall Street Journal, “Jeb Bush to Attack Hillary Clinton for Islamic State’s Rise in Iraq”]. Well, Clinton did all she could to help out Jebbie’s brother by voting for the AUMF. Jebbie’s got a problem with Clinton’s boss, Obama, not Clinton.
Clinton’s proposes to make college affordable. I do like like that the plan claims to incentivize, er, education as opposed to rec centers and administrative bloat. And I like the focus on state schools [WaPo]. Being a Clinton plan, it’s got a lot of moving parts, too many to summarize here:
At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.
“‘[This proposal] does not go far enough,’ said Art Motta, a senior at the University of Santa Cruz, who serves on the board of the United States Student Association. ‘We are looking for politicians and decision-makers to fully commit to a vision of free, public higher education for all. We have not heard that commitment from Clinton’s proposal.'”
Exactly. Whenever the Overton Window gets dragged left, it’s important to say: “Great! But what have you done for us lately?” Clinton would also finance the plan by closing “tax loopholes,” which is mere handwaving. Sanders would finance his plan with a tax on Wall Street transactions (leaving aside the misunderstanding that Federal taxes fund Federal spending for now; they do not).
[Wall Street Journal, “Clinton Student-Loan Plan Draws on Bipartisan Bill”]. Ooooh, “bipartisan.” Here comes the big weinie…
The $350 billion plan to make college more affordable unveiled by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday takes a page from the left wing of her party, but it also champions an idea gaining traction on the right: holding schools liable when a student’s education doesn’t pay off.
So now the colleges — or, more precisely, the parasitic college administrative layer, which should be gutted — will hire the collection agencies instead of the Feds? So awesome.
“The so-called New College Compact is designed to do the same thing for higher education that the Affordable Care Act did for health care” [Bloomberg]. I don’t think this means what they think it means…
“Last year, the laptop of a dead libertarian activist was stolen from his parents’ home. Police are investigating Paul’s deputy campaign manager in connection with the theft” [Mother Jones]. Well, I’m sure the theft took place in a totally rights-respecting manner.
“Hillary Rodham Clinton told a cheering crowd at her largest rally so far that “the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money” must be stopped. Two weeks later, the main super PAC backing her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination accepted a $1 million contribution that cannot be traced” [AP]. Ka-ching.
“Rick Perry Stops Paying South Carolina Staff” [National Journal]. Puzzling, after a debate performance like that…
“Governor Scott Walker’s fiscal conservatism will collide with the reality of sports-team subsidies when he commits Wisconsin taxpayers to pay $400 million for a new basketball arena” [Bloomberg]. The co-owners of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks donated [$200,000] to a group backing Walker. Ka-ching.
“One of the biggest questions in next year’s presidential election will be what role gender will play in the voting and outcome, particularly if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wins the nomination” [National Journal]. Round-up of polling data.
Trump: “I do whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win” [CNN]. The many is a money quote machine, I’m tellin’ ya. A machine!
“Admit It: You People Want To See How Far This Goes, Don’t You?” [The Onion].
“The photo above is what 19,000 people packed into a basketball arena to hear Vermont socialist/independent Sen. Bernie Sanders looks like. What you don’t see are the 9,000 other people who couldn’t get into the arena but listened on loudspeakers outside” [WaPo]. More small donors.
“Symone Sanders — Bernie Sanders’ new national press secretary who is not related to the candidate — opened the program and talked at length about racial injustice” [AP]. Oakland: A woman in the crowd yelled, ‘Senator, do black lives matter to you?’ ‘Yes,’ he said.” Scripted or not….
Sanders: “[L]et me be frank – and I’m running against her – some of [the criticism of Clinton] is sexist. I don’t know that a man would be treated the same way that Hillary is” [MSNBC]. Nothing like 2008, so far.
National Nurses Union endorses Sanders [The Hill]. NNU has been totally bad-ass on single payer, so no wonder.
“If Joe Biden ever heeds the close friends urging that he run for president, he’ll need a groundswell of support from friendly constituencies. At last week’s Iowa AFL-CIO summit in Altoona, no such Joe-mentum was apparent” [Bloomberg]. Trumka: “Joe isn’t doing any of the things that a candidate needs to do at this point in time to get into the game.”
Productivity and Costs, Q2 2015: “Output in the second quarter rose 2.8 percent vs a depressed 0.5 percent in the first quarter” [Bloomberg]. “Looking at year-on-year rates, growth in productivity is very slight.” But: “Bottom line: the year-over-year data is saying that costs are still rising faster than productivity” [Econintersect]. In addition: “The current levels are well above recession territory.”
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, July 2015: Small business optimism, plans for employment an”d capital improvement all up [Bloomberg]. NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg: “My first reaction was relief that the index didn’t go down. My second thought was that there’s really nothing there that’s going to support a second-half surge (in the macro economy)” [Dunkelberg]. Idea: Continue Fed policy of free money for those who have lots of it.
Wholesale Trade, June 2015: “Inventories in the wholesale sector had look bloated earlier in the year but have since stabilized” [Bloomberg]. “Stock-to-sales ratio steady.”
Fed Labor Market Conditions Index: “This Fed indicator, whatever it means, just went down some” [Mosler Economics]. “Unemployment may be down but hiring has been soft and the 2015 trend for this index is the weakest of the recovery.”
Disemployment: “According to the BLS, the bogus nature of who is counted as “employed,” is even worse than [Gallup’s Jim] Clifton suggests [in “The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment.”] . Not only is a person counted as employed if they are working one hour a week in a lawn job paying $20, but a worker who makes no money at all donating his or her services to a family business for 15 hours or more per week is also considered employed” [Wall Street on Parade].
The dismal labor force participation statistics are completely consistent with a tepid economy that can’t get out of the mire of 2 percent annual GDP growth, negligible wage growth, extended periods of unemployment (28 weeks versus the typical 16 weeks in the two decades prior to the 2008 crash), sluggish consumer demand, collapsing commodity prices and persistent warnings of the threat of global deflation.
Disemployment: “Of the 19m jobless Europeans, more than half have not worked for the last year. And over 15% have not had a job for more than four years. … But in contrast the number of people who have been looking for work for a long time in America fell when its economy recovered; the long-term joblessness rate now sits slightly above 20% of the total” [The Economist, ” Why long-term unemployment in the euro area is so high”]. Neither figure is anything to brag about.
“Japan is unlikely to wrap up domestic ratification procedures for an envisaged Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact by the end of the year after the 12 negotiation member states failed to reach a broad agreement at ministerial talks in Hawaii late last month” [Japan Times]. “With the schedule for a next ministerial meeting still up in the air, the government will likely face an uphill battle to obtain Diet approval for the regional free trade deal during an expected extraordinary session in the autumn.” I’m reluctant to stick a fork into anything as multi-tentacled and monstrous as TPP, but this is starting to look dispositive; remember Abe’s August 29 deadline? If so, the battle the elites lost in Maui was decisive and means the loss of an entire campaign. Naturally, our betters will conclude the solution is improved public relations, and base their next campaign on that, but delay only serves sanity.
“Avoid TPP pact for now” [Bangkok Post]. The Thai technocratic middle class speaks.
IP provisions in TPP would protect ‘clinical trial data submitted to regulatory agencies from use by competitors'” [TechDirt]. “[D]ata exclusivity is a kind of super-patent in that it can’t be challenged or revoked: if a drug company has run clinical trials to establish the safety of its new drug, it has an absolute and irrevocable monopoly on the use of that data [for a period of years].” Wait. That sounds like Big Pharma doesn’t want science done on their products….
Black Injustice Tipping Point.
Cops whack a white kid, but #AllLivesMatter outrage is muted [AOL]. And they shot him in the back…
One year anniversary in Ferguson:
“‘[A] group of five white men who call themselves the Oath Keepers arrived on the scene,’ St. Louis Public Radio reports. ‘They carried assault weapons, which raised alarm from protesters'” [NPR]. Can anyone imagine the hysteria if the protesters had carried weapons? Then again, the nice thing about open carry is that people don’t need to wear cumbersome sheets anymore. So there’s that.
A thoughtful piece on the #BlackLivesMatter disruption of the Sanders Seattle event from someone who organized it and was there [The Stranger]. And a useful explication of “white allies” [@FeministaJones] (see the whole thread). Still waiting for disruption at an event where the Democrat has actual power.
“How did African Americans discover they were being ‘redlined’?” [TalkingPointsMemo]. Redlining forced non-whites to rent. And it took a generation to even address the problem, which started in Federal agencies like FDR’s (sigh) Home Owner’s Loan Corporation. So if you want an example of how accumulating wealth intergenerationally — say, with an estate that includes a home — sorts by racially-based categories, there’s a big one [Brookings].
“The Ferguson Protests Worked” [HuffPo]. This is good reporting, in that it shows how the problems of law enforcement for profit in St Louis — and race-based extraction of said profits — have been known for years. Not so good in that it conflates protesters and rioters. Different cohorts, different motives….
“Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end” [Deray McKesson, Guardian]. “I will always remember that the call to action initiating the movement [in Ferguson] was organic – that there was no organizing committee, no charismatic leader, no church group or school club that led us to the streets. It is powerful to remember that the movement began as everyday people came out of their homes and refused to be scared into silence by the police.” Everything I’ve read and seen testifies that this origin story of how #BlackLivesMatter originated a year ago in Ferguson is correct.
“New York’s State Assembly in May overwhelmingly passed a bill to establish a single-payer-style health care system” [In These Times]. “[G]etting it through, with unprecedented support from big unions, shows that state-level campaigns are still a fertile ground for health care justice organizing, despite the recent setback in Vermont.”
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
“If it is true that we are mysteries even to ourselves — as the original Socrates suggested — the eavesdroppers at the NSA invade our privacy without learning who we really are” [First Look]. Very good long-form.
“The pay for 20 top-paid healthcare executives who earned both a base salary and bonus and incentive income in 2012 and 2013 soared 29.6% year over year,” the last year for which figures are available [Modern Health].
Doing the math on IBR (Income-Based Repayment) student loan forgiveness programs [Business Insider]. The reporters used a handy online calculator:
We made a hypothetical situation where a new borrower took out $100,000 in direct subsidized loans at a conservative 4% annual interest rate, has an annual income of $45,000, is single, lives in New York, and has no children.
That IBR program has a couple of big downsides. First, she would be paying far more interest than she would with a standard plan — $76,563 under the income-based plan versus $21,494 with the standard plan.
Second, under the income-based plan, our borrower would have a balance of $72,050 left after 20 years. The government would then forgive that balance, but it would count as taxable income in that year. Assuming 2014 tax brackets and rates, along with her initial $45,000 income, this would increase her tax bill in that year by almost $19,000.
Yes, the overall amount owed is lower. However, someone who is barely able to make ends meet is unlikely to be able to save another $19,000 to pay the tax bill that comes with the loan forgiveness.
If the government really wants to address the student-loan problem, it should look at this conservative example and realize .
Exactly like HAMP! So who are the Feds foaming the runway for this time?
News of the Wired
“Edit distance is only computable in quadratic time” [WaPo].
“Ramblings on New Browser Features, Interoperability, Craft, and the Future of the Web” [Aaron Gustafson].
“Code ‘transplant’ could revolutionise programming” [Wired]. Like bacteria exchanging genetic material…
“Don’t Hit Send: Angry Emails Just Make You Angrier” [Wall Street Journal]. But anger isn’t always bad….
“City delays business side of controversial cloud tax until Jan. 1” [Chicago Tribune]. “Start-ups” get a break. But then, don’t they always?
Ocean travel by freighter [Atlas Obscura].
“Toxic algae blooms in Pacific Ocean worse than first feared” [CTV Vancouver].
“The Physics of Butterfly Wings” [Azimuth]. Gorgeous images.
Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, but that’s based on “observational studies” [WaPo]. “One of the primary troubles in observational studies is what scientists refer to as ‘confounders’ — basically, unaccounted factors that can lead researchers to make mistaken assumptions about causes.” I would think that “confounders” are everywhere in complex systems…
“Rather than telling viewers what to think, as Cronkite and his kind did generations ago, Stewart and Colbert—almost certainly inadvertently—taught viewers to think.” [Vanity Fair]. Maybe.
“TALK LOUDER: A Military Guide To Group Work” [Duffel Blog]. IRRC, the Federal government gives veterans preferential treatment in hiring….
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:
The term APHERCOTROPISM refers to the response an organism makes as it grows to overcome an obstacle in its way. pic.twitter.com/DD7jN4a3kP
— HaggardHawks Words (@HaggardHawks) July 5, 2015
Great metaphor, eh?
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And cover the travel home, as opposed to the first leg of the trip….