recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : socialsecurity   19

The Making of a Democratic Economy | Ted Howard | RSA Replay - YouTube
"While not often reported on in the press, there is a growing movement – a Community Wealth Building movement – that is taking hold, from the ground up, in towns and cities in the United States and in the United Kingdom, in particular.

Ted Howard, co-founder and president of the Democracy Collaborative, voted one of ‘25 visionaries who are changing your world’, visits the RSA to share the story of the growth of this movement, and the principles underlying it. Join us to explore innovative models of a new economy being built in cities from Cleveland, Ohio to Preston, Lancashire, and to discuss how we might dramatically expand the vision and reality of a democratic economy."
economics  tedhoward  inequality  democracy  extraction  extractiveeconomy  us  uk  2018  capitalism  privatization  finance  wealth  power  elitism  trickledowneconomics  labor  work  universalbasicincome  ubi  austerity  democraticeconomy  precarity  poverty  change  sustainability  empowerment  socialism  socialchange  regulations  socialsafetynet  collectivism  banking  employment  commongood  unemployment  grassroots  organization  greatdepression  greatrecession  alaska  california  socialsecurity  government  governance  nhs  communities  communitywealthbuilding  community  mutualaid  laborovercapital  local  absenteeownership  localownership  consumerism  activism  participation  participatory  investment  cleveland  systemicchange  policy  credit  communityfinance  development  cooperatives  creditunions  employeeownership  richmond  virginia  nyc  rochester  broadband  publicutilities  nebraska  energy  utilities  hospitals  universities  theprestonmodel  preston  lancashire 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Wrongest Profession | Dean Baker
[via: https://economicsociology.org/2018/07/21/bb-populism-rostows-economics-and-vietnam-war-informal-economy-grows-universities-privatization-failures-deficit-hawks-deceive-you-inequality-one-sided-economists/ ]

"How economists have botched the promise of widely distributed prosperity—and why they have no intention of stopping now"



"OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, the economics profession has compiled an impressive track record of getting almost all the big calls wrong. In the mid-1990s, all the great minds in the field agreed that the unemployment rate could not fall much below 6 percent without triggering spiraling inflation. It turns out that the unemployment rate could fall to 4 percent as a year-round average in 2000, with no visible uptick in the inflation rate.

As the stock bubble that drove the late 1990s boom was already collapsing, leading lights in Washington were debating whether we risked paying off the national debt too quickly. The recession following the collapse of the stock bubble took care of this problem, as the gigantic projected surpluses quickly turned to deficits. The labor market pain from the collapse of this bubble was both unpredicted and largely overlooked, even in retrospect. While the recession officially ended in November 2001, we didn’t start creating jobs again until the fall of 2003. And we didn’t get back the jobs we lost in the downturn until January 2005. At the time, it was the longest period without net job creation since the Great Depression.

When the labor market did finally begin to recover, it was on the back of the housing bubble. Even though the evidence of a bubble in the housing sector was plainly visible, as were the junk loans that fueled it, folks like me who warned of an impending housing collapse were laughed at for not appreciating the wonders of modern finance. After the bubble burst and the financial crisis shook the banking system to its foundations, the great minds of the profession were near unanimous in predicting a robust recovery. Stimulus was at best an accelerant for the impatient, most mainstream economists agreed—not an essential ingredient of a lasting recovery.

While the banks got all manner of subsidies in the form of loans and guarantees at below-market interest rates, all in the name of avoiding a second Great Depression, underwater homeowners were treated no better than the workers waiting for a labor market recovery. The Obama administration felt it was important for homeowners, unlike the bankers, to suffer the consequences of their actions. In fact, white-collar criminals got a holiday in honor of the financial crisis; on the watch of the Obama Justice Department, only a piddling number of bankers would face prosecution for criminal actions connected with the bubble.

There was a similar story outside the United States, as the International Monetary Fund, along with the European Central Bank and the European Union, imposed austerity when stimulus was clearly needed. As a result, southern Europe is still far from recovery. Even after another decade on their current course, many southern European countries will fall short of their 2007 levels of income. The situation looks even worse for the bottom half of the income distribution in Greece, Spain, and Portugal.

Even the great progress for the world’s poor touted in the famous “elephant graph” turns out to be largely illusory. If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.

In this economic climate, it’s not surprising that a racist, xenophobic, misogynist demagogue like Donald Trump could succeed in politics, as right-wing populists have throughout the wealthy world. While his platform may be incoherent, Trump at least promised the return of good-paying jobs. Insofar as Clinton and other Democrats offered an agenda for economic progress for American workers, hardly anyone heard it. And to those who did, it sounded like more of the same."



"At this point, the deficit hawks typically start raising apocalyptic fears about higher taxes impoverishing our children. I have three responses to this claim.

The first is that we are all paying much higher Social Security and Medicare taxes than our parents and grandparents did. Are we therefore the victims of generational inequity? What’s more, the main reason Social Security costs are rising is that our kids will live longer lives than we will. In other words, the dire specter of a generously subsidized cohort of older Americans is actually a sign of widespread social progress. (High Medicare costs are due to an incredibly inefficient health care system, but that’s another story—one that deficit hawks are also in the midst of monkey-wrenching in order to delegitimize any state-supported solution.)

My second reply is that we should be worried about after-tax income, not the tax rate. Recall that austerity policies favored by deficit hawks may have already cost us the equivalent of an increase in the payroll tax of 14 percentage points. We’re supposed to get hysterical over the prospect that our kids may pay 2 to 3 more percentage points in payroll taxes, but be unconcerned about this huge and needless loss of before-tax income?

More generally, if we manage to reverse the wage stagnation of the past thirty-plus years and see ordinary workers once more take a share of the gains of economic growth, their before-tax pay will be 40 to 50 percent higher in three decades than it is today. If they have to give back some of these gains in higher payroll taxes in order to support a longer retirement, it’s hard to see just what the problem would be. (The bigger question, of course, is whether we can succeed in creating a political economy in which ordinary workers will once again share in generalized economic growth.) And taxes are just one way in which the government imposes costs on citizens. Donald Trump wants to have a massive infrastructure program financed by the creation of toll roads. These tolls will be paid to private companies and will not count as taxes. Feel better?

On a much larger scale, the government grants patent and copyright monopolies as an incentive for research and creative work. In the case of prescription drugs alone, these patent monopolies cost close to $350 billion a year (approximately 1.9 percent of GDP) over what the price of drugs would be in a truly free market. Even as deficit hawks try to convince us that the government can’t afford to borrow another $50 billion a year to finance the research done by the pharmaceutical industry, they tell us not to worry about the extra $350 billion we pay for drugs because of government-granted patent monopolies. This monomaniacal obsession with tax burdens, to the exclusion of any reckoning with the burden of patent monopolies, shows yet again that the deficit hawks’ oft-professed concern for our children’s well-being is purely rhetorical, and in no way serious.

We should remember that we will pass down a whole society to our kids—including the natural environment that underwrites the quality of life of future generations. If the cost of ensuring that large numbers of children do not grow up in poverty and that the planet is not destroyed by global warming is a somewhat higher current or future tax burden, that hardly seems like a bad deal—especially if the burden is apportioned fairly. Now suppose, by contrast, that we hand our kids a country in which large segments of the population are unhealthy and uneducated and the environment has been devastated by global warming, but we have managed to pay off the national debt. That is, after all, the future that many in the mainstream of the economics profession are prescribing for the country. Somehow, I don’t see future generations thanking us."
economics  economists  us  policy  politics  deanbaker  health  healthcare  deficits  government  governance  gdp  priorities  labor  markets  capitalism  socialsecurity  bubbles  greatrecession  2018  china  portugal  spain  españa  greece  eu  paulryan  timothygeitner  donaldtrump  taxes 
july 2018 by robertogreco
What "Causes" Poverty? | Demos
"Pundits of all stripes are relitigating this somewhat tired debate about what "causes" poverty. David Brooks, apparently with no self-awareness or self-reflection, bemoans nonjudgmentalism towards those who stray from specific family forms. Nicholas Kristof, previously famous for his hilarious fever dreams about a mysterious underclass of Kentucky welfare cheats, wrote a somewhat similar column, drawing upon the same tropes and no new analysis. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, Paul Krugman, and Jeff Spross push back, noting, among other things, that poverty can be dealt with in other proven ways and that impoverishment, the demise of good working class jobs, and precariousness are themselves at the root of a lot of relationship strife.

There is a problem in this entire debate that nobody ever seems to grapple with, and that is: what exactly is meant by asking what "causes" poverty? What exactly is being communicated when someone says X, whether that's declining morals or family values or whatever else, causes poverty? This might seem like a tedious question, but it's actually the most crucial question in the debate.

Elderly

Would it be correct, for instance, for me to say old age causes poverty? On first take, I guess the answer would be no, or not really. At 9.5%, the elderly poverty rate is the lowest in the country among the different age groups. But, this didn't used to be the case.

In 1967, the elderly poverty rate was 29.5%, and the highest among the age groups. Since then, Social Security retirement benefits more than doubled, which is why the elderly poverty rate has been pushed so low. If you subtract these benefits from the Census microdata file, the current elderly poverty rate shoots to over 40%.

So, once again, the question is posed: does old age cause poverty? Well, when we have low public pension benefits, the answer seems to be yes. But when we have high public pension benefits, the answer seems to be no. Whether old age entails poverty thus depends on our economic institutions. Standing alone, old age is not sufficient to result in poverty. It results in poverty only if it gets an assist by pro-poverty economic institutions.

Disability

The same question can be asked of disability: does it cause poverty? Before answering that question, consider this graph of disability poverty with and without public benefits: [graph]

Now, even counting transfers, disability poverty is higher than overall poverty by 5 to 6 percentage points. When we exclude transfers (which primarily come from Social Security and Supplemental Security Income), however, the disability poverty rate is over 50%.

So would we say disability "causes" poverty? Once again, it really seems to depend on what economic institutions you find yourself in. Under some sets of institutions (e.g. if we eliminated disability benefits), disability results in high and severe poverty. Under other institutions, it does not. Our institutions still make disabled people poorer than the overall population by a significant margin, but more generous and better designed disability benefits probably could close if not eliminate that gap.

I could replicate this same point for nearly anything else you could throw at me. Does child-having cause poverty? Seems to under US institutions, but not others. Does sickness cause personal bankruptcy? Seems to under US healthcare institutions, but not others. The same goes for unemployment, single parenting, low levels of education, bad jobs, and so on. What level of poverty attaches to each of those conditions is heavily determined by what set of economic institutions (whether liberal market, corporatist conservative, social democratic, or something else) they occur in.

We have this debate about poverty's "causes" as if economic institutions do not exist, as if we are pondering over poverty's causes in some kind of abstract ether denuded of any of the economic particularities of our time and place. Needless to say, this pretension is as useless as it is deluded.

Pundits never actually debate about what "causes" poverty in some universalist sense. They debate about what conditions are associated with high poverty in some specific economic system, without every clarifying that they are doing so and indeed probably not even realizing they are doing so themselves.

Given where the US is today, modifying our background economic institutions is clearly and indisputably the most effective way to reduce overall poverty. Across the board and across all sorts of different categories, the US features poverty rates that are much higher than those seen elsewhere in the world. This is directly attributable to its garbage institutions, in particular its bare minimum levels of social insurance benefits.

It's trivially easy to identify specific patterns within our across-the-board elevated poverty and then declare things associated with those patterns as "causes" (just as it used to be trivially easy to declare that old age was a major cause of US poverty). But if your goal is to actually cut poverty, fixing our pro-poverty institutions is what really matters, not treading in the murky waters of causation theory."
mattbrienig  2015  poverty  economics  socialsafetynet  us  policy  age  disability  parenting  socialsecurity  systemsthinking  causation  healthcare  unemployment  sickness  bankruptcy  socialinsurance  society  politics  disabilities 
march 2015 by robertogreco
08 | November | 2011 | AN EMPIRE OF ONE
"Two recent books, Alan Moore: Storyteller (which my wife was lucky enough to win from this site) and Grant Morrison’s Supergods, have re-sparked a question I’ve had regarding the connection between England’s social welfare system and the Eighties invasion of American comics by British writers and artists. There’s no doubt there were several factors, with perhaps the emergence, in the late Seventies, of comics magazines such as 2000 A.D., Warrior, the Marvel U.K. line being especially important. But the most intriguing factor? The dole.

So what is my hypothesis? That comic book artists such as Alan Moore and Grant Morrison would not exist without having had the benefit of being supported for several years by the British unemployment benefits system, otherwise known as “the dole,” thus giving them time to develop their skills such that they could survive without the dole.

The evidence?

Alan Moore: Storyteller:
Moore left the financial security of the office job [in 1977] and signed on at the Department of Health and Social Security for unemployment benefits. (p. 44)

Grant Morrison’s Supergods:
Perhaps at last, this [ie, superhero comics as represented especially by Alan Moore’s version of Marvelman, which first appeared in 1982] could be a way of making enough money to quit the dole and get noticed doing something I loved. (p. 186)
At twenty-four [1984],… I was still on the dole and living at home… (p. 208)

I do not know if Morrison and Moore are typical or exceptions, but I’m leaning towards their being representative of the writers and artists who constituted the British Invasion of American comics in the Eighties. The unemployment system in the USA in the Eighties did not allow anyone to continue collecting benefits for several years and, unlike Alan Moore’s case, it was not possible to obtain benefits after quitting or refusing a job. Another requirement was to have worked (on the books) for a certain number of weeks during the previous x number of months. In other words, to qualify for unemployment benefits in the USA, you had to have been employed a minimum amount of time, laid off (not fired), provide proof every other week of looking for work during the previous two weeks, and, even if you could not find a job, after a period of about six months the benefits would cease. The British system appears to have been very different.

Imagine an Earth-2 where Great Britain had no unemployment benefits. Would Alan Moore and Grant Morrison have been able to become Alan Moore and Grant Morrison without the benefit of the dole?"

[Continue reading for multiple updates to the post.]
alanmoore  grantmorrison  welfare  creativity  imagination  2014  uk  thedole  labor  work  cognitivesurplus  comics  socialsecurity  unemployment  comfort  money  benefits  2011 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Pure Capitalism = Pure Fantasy? | Interview Richard Wolff - YouTube
[See also: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/17256-pure-capitalism-is-pure-fantasy ]

"Abby Martin talks to Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, and author of 'Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism', about the recent school closures in Chicago, and how it reflects a systemic problem within the current capitalist model."
richardwolff  economics  2013  abbymartin  austerity  capitalism  policy  government  inequality  taxes  socialsecurity  democracy  employment  greatrecession  work  wealth  schoolclosures  chicago  politics  corruption  corporatism  horizontality  hierarchy  cooperation  grassroots 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Washington gets explicit: its 'war on terror' is permanent | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
"The genius of America's endless war machine is that, learning from the unplesantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible. That is accomplished by heaping all of the fighting burden on a tiny and mostly economically marginalized faction of the population, by using sterile, mechanized instruments to deliver the violence, and by suppressing any real discussion in establishment media circles of America's innocent victims and the worldwide anti-American rage that generates.

Though rarely visible, the costs are nonetheless gargantuan. Just in financial terms, as Americans are told they must sacrifice Social Security and Medicare benefits and place their children in a crumbling educational system, the Pentagon remains the world's largest employer and continues to militarily outspend the rest of the world by a significant margin. The mythology of the Reagan presidency is that he induced the collapse of the Soviet Union by luring it into unsustainable military spending and wars: should there come a point when we think about applying that lesson to ourselves?"
2013  glennfreenwald  militaryindustrialcomplex  economics  medicare  socialsecurity  education  government  military 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Occupy San Diego Tomorrow! | AGITPROP
"Toward the end of this video Chomsky speaks to the fact that much of the opposition from elites toward Social Security is not so much economic concerns, but rather that Social Security implies a social solidarity among individuals. It implies that people should care whether the kid across the street has an adequate education etc. It seems, despite the lack of specific demands, that this is what “Occupy” is really about. Combating the atomization of the individual in order to begin the process of working against the forces stated above and mentioned in the video below. Tomorrow afternoon is a chance to begin this process locally."
noamchomsky  occupywallstreet  ows  davidwhite  socialsecurity  solidarity  2011  sandiego  occupysandiego  economics  power  classwarfare  control 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Contract for the American Dream
"We, the American people, promise to defend and advance a simple ideal: liberty and justice . . . for all. Americans who are willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to find a decent job, get a good home in a strong community, retire with dignity, and give their kids a better life. Every one of us – rich, poor, or in-between, regardless of skin color or birthplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender – has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is our covenant, our compact, our contract with one another. It is a promise we can fulfill – but only by working together…

I. Invest in America's Infrastructure
II. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
III. Invest in Public Education
IV. Offer Medicare for All
V. Make Work Pay
VI. Secure Social Security
VII. Return to Fairer Tax Rates
VIII. End the Wars and Invest at Home
IX. Tax Wall Street Speculation
X. Strengthen Democracy"
2011  petitions  government  us  policy  infrastructure  taxes  socialsecurity  inequality  medicare  health  healthcare  education  jobs  employment  unemployment  money  work  change  democracy  wealthdistribution 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Madison a Foretaste of Things to Come: The Next Big Occupation Could Be Boomers Taking Over the Capitol Building
"My prediction: As the number of Boomers nearing or entering retirement soars, & the number anticipating or signing up for Medicare soars over the next few years, we will see massive national campaigns grow around not just saving these programs but expanding and improving them. W/ traditional pensions vanishing, and with IRAs & 401(k) plans having been exposed as the shams they are, we are going to see an irresistable demand grow for Social Security benefits to be raised, particularly for poorer retirees, so that all Americans can have a secure old age. And we will see another irresistable political drive to have Medicare not just improved but broadened to cover all Americans, as we Boomers recognize that it makes no sense at all to have a program that only covers the oldest and sickest of Americans, and not the younger and healthier population. We will realize that it is in our interest to have all Americans invested fully in supporting a well-funded national Medicare program."
socialsecurity  class  wisconsin  babyboomers  policy  medicare  healthcare  2011  iras  401k  boomers 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The case for economic rights: FDR said it and it holds 66 years later: There are benefits and opportunities every American should expect to enjoy - U.S. Economy - Salon.com
"In the ideal America of economic citizenship, there would be a single, universal, integrated, lifelong system of economic security including single-payer healthcare, Social Security, unemployment payments and family leave paid for by a single contributory payroll tax (which could be made progressive in various ways or reduced by combination with other revenue streams). Funding for all programs would be entirely nationalized, although states could play a role in administration. There would still be supplementary private markets in health and retirement products and services for the affluent, but most middle-class Americans would continue to rely primarily on the simple, user-friendly public system of economic security."
rights  economy  fdr  us  policy  human  healthcare  retirement  welfare  libertarianism  corporatism  corporations  capitalism  freemarkets  socialsecurity  economics  markets  via:cburell 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The coming age wars « Snarkmarket
"So how could the Obama admin­is­tra­tion stim­u­late the econ­omy by help­ing out younger peo­ple, who are actu­ally deeply suf­fer­ing, rather than by trans­fer­ring it from the young (includ­ing the unborn) to the old?
us  money  stimulus  barackobama  california  michigan  policy  politics  generations  age  agewars  2009  economics  healthcare  medicare  socialsecurity  timcarmody  snarkmarket  colleges  universities  crisis  tuition  future  unemployment 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Economic Scene - $250 Checks for Social Security Recipients Overlook Reality - NYTimes.com
"If you wanted to help the econ­omy and you had $14 bil­lion to bestow on any group of peo­ple, which group would you choose:
healthcare  government  economics  politics  socialsecurity  age  generations  policy  barackobama  2009  crisis  agewars  us 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Your Pension Awaits...
"Don't plan on retiring, even if it is only a few years away. Take these last few years you have of something like secure employment and develop some marketable skills. Learn programming. Learn carpentry. Auto repair. Something."
retirement  work  socialsecurity  pensions  stephendownes  economics  finance  collapse 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Taking Note: The Real Scandal
"If AIG spent $160 million on bonuses ...out of $30 billion bailout it received...from American taxpayer, what proportion...did not go to bonuses?... 99.5%...AIG is as pure as Ivory soap...bonuses are smaller than small change. What is shocking about the bailouts begun by Bush & continuing under Obama is how huge they are...impossible to imagine numbers involved except when they are set against one another...country that uses mind-boggling masses of resources to produce mind-boggling masses of output...economic crisis is showing us that policy battles of most years are concerned with nickles & dimes. Earmarks worth $8 billion – pennies...cost of healthcare for children – nickels...Social Security shortfall after 2041 – dimes. The really big money in the economy is as hard to grasp as distance to nearest star. We need to think not in miles but in light years of spending...2002-06...73% of additional income went to top 1% of households...system has failed...over last several decades"
crisis  aig  bailouts  money  numbers  economics  via:cburell  wealth  society  rich  poor  us  capitalism  georgewbush  barackobama  billclinton  bonuses  policy  politics  healthcare  socialsecurity  earmarks 
march 2009 by robertogreco
3quarksdaily - Still Not Wise
"The bottom line: We’re in trouble. The average American is worried about retirement but is doing little to provide for it. Maybe working longer is the best answer. After all, the retirement age was set at 65 in 1933, when average life expectancy was 63. With life expectancy today at 78 years, perhaps we should just plan to work until we’re 80."
comments  wisdom  retirement  socialsecurity  davings  401k  aging  employment  unemployment 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Trapped in the New 'You're on Your Own' World - The New York Review of Books
"The transfer of risk from social and private institutions to individuals transfers a burden, mainly from the strong to the weak. That is primarily an issue of equity. It will surely become more urgent in current circumstances, perhaps urgent enough to be seen as a central political issue. Suppose that the best way to relieve that burden is by sharing the risk through universal social insurance. The premium then has to be a tax, a tax on work or enterprise, or some productive activity, and such a tax is a distortion, a source of inefficiency, a true cost to society. What then? I know what Gosselin would say: a society that won't pay a small cost to preserve equitable and fair treatment of, among others, the sick, the old, the unemployed, and the victims of natural disaster is not much of a society. Is that a minority view?"
insurance  economics  politics  society  efficiency  equity  moralhazard  us  socialsecurity  unemployment  income 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Cover story: 'America still works' by Michael Lind | Prospect Magazine February 2008 issue 143
"Barring catastrophes, US in 2050...more racially integrated; remain culturally/linguistically homogeneous...easily afford social security & decent healthcare....challenges-not the ones usually identified....class lines are hardening"
us  economics  pessimism  race  politics  culture  society  religion  racism  diversity  history  future  health  healthcare  immigration  latinos  demographics  census  statistics  language  spanish  secularism  trends  socialsecurity  class  doomsayers  optimism  linguistics  productivity 
january 2008 by robertogreco
And Now, a Word From Chile ... - New York Times
"first measure of success of retirement system is not how much certain individuals manage to sock away, but whether system as whole provides basic dignity for all. By that measure, Chile’s privatized system has failed & Social Security has succeeded."
chile  us  socialsecurity  economics  policy  politics 
november 2007 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read