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Demeter

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Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 01:04 PM
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Every Progressive Should Know About the "Budget for All" That Would Support the 99%

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/873696/every_progressive_should_know_about_the_%22budget_for_all%22_that_would_support_the_99/#paragraph4

Every progressive should know about the Congressional Progressive Caucus's "Budget for All." In fact, every American should know about this budget. But the corporate news media sure isn't going to tell people. So you should help get the word out. Read and Share the One-Page Handout.
http://grijalva.house.gov/uploads/CPC%20Budget%20One-Pager%20FINAL.pdf
Email this post to friends, relatives, and especially to your right-wing brother-in-law.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has put together a "Budget for All" that "puts Americans back to work, charts a path to responsible deficit reduction, enhances our economic competitiveness, rebuilds the middle class and invests in our future." This budget "makes no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits, and asks those who have benefited most from our economy to pay a sensible share."

Our Budget Puts Americans Back to Work

Our budget attacks America’s persistently high unemployment levels with more than $2.9 trillion in additional job-creating investments. This plan utilizes every tool at the government’s disposal to get our economy moving again, including:

• Direct hire programs that create a School Improvement Corps, a Park Improvement Corps, and a Student Jobs Corps, among others.

• Targeted tax incentives that spur clean energy, manufacturing, and cutting-edge technological investments in the private sector.

• Widespread domestic investments including an infrastructure bank, a $556 billion surface transportation bill, and approximately $2.1 trillion in widespread domestic investment.

Our Budget Exhibits Fiscal Discipline

• The Budget for All achieves $6.8 trillion in deficit reduction, hits the same debt to GDP ratio as the Republican budget, and has lower deficits in the last five years, but does so in a responsible way that does not devastate what Americans want preserved.

• We achieve these notable benchmarks by focusing on the true drivers of our deficit – unsustainable tax policies, the wars overseas, and policies that helped cause the recent recession – rather than putting the middle class’s social safety net on the chopping block.

Our Budget Creates a Fairer America

• Ends tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans on schedule at year’s end

• Extends tax relief for middle class households and the vast majority of Americans

• Creates new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires

• Eliminates the tax code’s preferential treatment of capital gains and dividends

• Abolishes corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies

• Eliminates loopholes that allow businesses to dodge their true tax liability

• Calls for the adoption of the “Buffett Rule”

• Creates a publicly funded federal election system that gets corporate money out of politics for good

Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home

• Responsibly and expeditiously ends our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving America more secure at home and abroad

• Modernizes our military to address 21st century threats and stop contributing to our deficit problems

Protects American Families

• Provides a Making Work Pay tax credit for families struggling with high gas and food cost 2013-2015

• Extends Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit

• Invests in programs to stave off further foreclosures to keep families in their homes

• Invests in our children’s education by increasing Education, Training, and Social Services

Let people know that there is a budget alternative that respects We, the People.
By Dave Johnson | Sourced from Campaign for America's Future

Weekend Economists Seek a 1% Solution March 30-April Fool's Day 2012

Well, not only is it the end of the week, it's also the end of the month. And what a month it was! There was revelation after revelation of outright criminality from the 1%, special treatment written into tax law and other laws, wheeling and dealing in basics that the 99% couldn't begin to dream about, let alone have access to.

Well, WEE don't forget, and we are keeping a list. Along with the latest scandal and scuttlebutt, I'm planning to repost the "lowlights" of March, for those that missed it and for posterity...I think that would be good practice for each end of each month.

Top sales reps, weight loss champs, blue chip firms, Warren Buffett, Navy SEALs, Olympians, and other winners all understand the power of 1%. Packed with actionable ideas, The 1% Solution shows you how to power up your next 30 days and then keep on going at a permanently higher level. Because it's based not upon opinion, but upon solid research that's backed up with real-life examples, this book is for those who want to be better right now.

Connellan notes, for example, that while it's virtually impossible to be 100% better than your competition, it's very possible to be 1% better in hundreds of things.

Connellan draws on three sources for the practical solutions he offers:

1. His background as a Research Associate and Program Director at the Michigan Business School where he was responsible for the design and implementation of 72 management development programs a year.

2. His street experience as an entrepreneur who started a company in the health promotion field and built it into a network of 1200 instructors serving 300 hospitals and most of the Fortune 500 companies. More than 1,000,000 people went through its programs and two different Surgeon General reports cited the firms program quality.

3. His current work as a keynote speaker and consultant whose clients include such diverse organizations as FedEx, TD Canada Trust, Marriott, Sobeys, Sony, Acura, BMW, Rogers Communications, Canadian Tire, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, Target, and the military.

As part of his research, he looked at individuals who worked to improve their personal and work lives. While most everyone put in a lot of effort, he found one key difference between those who won that battle and those who lost that battle.

The winners had a structure a structure that gave them a disciplined focus and the losers didn't.

If you're interested in a proven structure for work and personal success, this book belongs in your library right now because as one reviewer said The 1% Solution really does give you the magic formula for 'How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever.'


There's a snake oil salesman born every minute, and the modern ones all go to business school to teach the next generation.... http://www.amazon.com/The-1-Solution-Work-Life/dp/0976950626


This is a special weekend, too. Tomorrow is Birthday Frenzy, my own personal form of March Madness, which started 29 years ago with a frantic trip from Nashua to Concord General, where the midwife's backup worked. I managed to avoid a Caesarean by half an hour (the operating rooms were full), and the Kid was born with minimal invasive procedures, for which I am eternally grateful.

And then of course, Sunday is April Fool's Day. I wish I could promise typical April foolery, but in a thread like this, it's all a matter of $$$ and sense, or lack thereof. Economics as currently practiced is exceptionally foolish. It would be hard to top that. But everybody is welcome to try.

?w=593

With my luck, it will snow....

Villagers fight over patents in rural China


Chinese villagers, once migrant workers and pig farmers, now fight over patents in a sign that reflects the sophistication of the economy

Read more >>
http://link.ft.com/r/VKY5JJ/ZGIMA3/T10SH/HY3HE1/SP5F0C/36/t?a1=2012&a2=3&a3=30

While we're at it: Bashing Buffett…Once Again With Feeling By Eric Fry

http://dailyreckoning.com/bashing-buffett-once-again-with-feeling/

...“Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” Buffett pleaded last summer in an infamous op-ed piece for the New York Times. “Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched…Last year,” Buffett continued, “my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.”

Ah shucks!… Gee whiz!… and Golly gosh! Mr. Buffett must feel just awful about this injustice. If only he had discovered it earlier, he could have paid tens of billions of dollars more in taxes during his lifetime. And, gee willickers, he could have told all his mega-rich friends about his great discovery so that they, too, could have paid tens of billions of dollars more in taxes. Golly gee, isn’t that just the way life is? You always discover the best stuff after it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s just too darn bad that Buffett and his mega-rich friends had already amassed their mega-billions of dollars during the “unfair” tax regime of the last two or three decades before Buffett discovered how unfair it was. But, shucks, you can’t turn back the clock. So despite Buffett’s profound regret, he will simply have to keep all those billions of dollars that the IRS did not permit him to contribute to the US government. Gee whiz…life just ain’t fair sometimes. You try to be magnanimous with the US government and the IRS just won’t let you. Hey, but at least you can publicly proscribe for others the identical high-tax regime that you methodically and assiduously avoided throughout a career spanning several decades.

And fortunately for the US government, there is a brand-new generation of folks who aspire to become billionaires like Buffett, or perhaps merely millionaires. And as Buffett astutely observes, it’s not too late to tax them. At this point, a few Dear Readers may be saying to themselves, “Well, okay, but even if Buffett should have said something earlier, at least he said something now… and that means that he would start paying higher taxes now.

False.

Implementing a higher income tax would barely move the needle on Buffett’s annual tax bill, as the nearby chart illustrates. Buffett paid $6.9 million in taxes on his 2010 personal income of $39.9 million dollars — or 17.4%. But he paid zero personal taxes on his portion — $2.9 billion — of Berkshire Hathaway’s net income. (Of course Berkshire paid corporate tax, but that fact is not germane to the discussion of personal taxes that Buffett addressed in his article last year). In other words, even if you bumped the personal income tax all the way up to 100%, and literally confiscated every cent of Buffett’s direct personal income, the effective tax rate on the totality of his increased wealth in 2010 would have been only 1.4%!



Buffett’s “tax fairness” ideas — focusing as they do on personal income, dividends and capital gains taxes — would leave Buffett, himself, virtually unscathed. That’s because:

1) His personal income represents less than 2% of his annual wealth accumulation;

2) Berkshire Hathaway has never paid a dividend in its history;

3) Buffett, himself, has no intention of generating any capital gains because he has no intention of selling a single share of Berkshire Hathaway.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!



Nine Strategies to End Corporate Rule

http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7999:nine-strategies-to-end-corporate-rule

...(RECENT) history notwithstanding, We the People, and our government representatives, do have the power to hold companies accountable for the wrongs they commit. The challenge is to mobilize sufficient political pressure to demand that available tools be used and new mechanisms of accountability be created.

One powerful way to hold companies accountable is through debarment—denying corporate wrongdoers the right to obtain government contracts. Almost every major company does significant business with the government, so debarment is a penalty with teeth. Similarly, federal, state, and local governments should deny other government benefits to corporate criminals and wrongdoers. Denying BP the right to drill in the Gulf is a penalty that would sting. Drug companies that can’t sell to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veterans Affairs are deprived of more than a third of their market. The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to deny broadcast licenses to media corporations that do not exhibit “good character.” Federal and state governments do frequently debar companies, but typically only smaller firms that engage in massive fraud or operate as criminal enterprises.

A second tool to discipline corporate wrongdoers is charter revocation. Establishing a new corporation requires that a state government grant a charter to operate. (This is typically a perfunctory requirement, as evidenced by the state of Virginia’s grant of a charter to Licensed to Kill, Inc., a company whose articles of incorporation state that it will engage in “manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products in a way that each year kills over 400,000 Americans and 4.5 million other persons worldwide.”) State governments have the right to revoke charters from companies that do not serve the public interest. Free Speech for People has petitioned Delaware to revoke the charter of Massey Energy. Charter revocation effectively constitutes the death penalty for a corporation. Even occasional use against large corporations would be a major deterrent to corporate wrongdoing.

A third form of control on corporate wrongdoing is civil litigation. Lawsuits against corporate wrongdoers not only afford victims an opportunity to receive some compensation for the harms they have suffered, they work to strip corporations of ill-gotten gains. The civil justice system is a vital deterrent to corporate misconduct, because it means corporations will at least sometimes be forced to pay for the harms they cause. And lawsuits provide direct justice to victims of corporate wrongdoing, without the need to persuade government officials to act. In many ways, the U.S. civil justice system is the most important form of corporate accountability we have.

It’s for exactly these reasons that corporations have worked for decades to undermine the functioning of the civil justice system, making it harder to file cases, interfering with the ability of victims to join together in class actions, making it harder for victims to obtain evidence, capping the damages that victims may recover, limiting punitive damages, and forcing victims out of the civil justice system (real courts) and into arbitration tribunals biased to favor giant corporations....

The 1 Percent’s Doctrine for the 99 Percent

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8108-the-1-doctrine-for-the-99

A little over a year ago, while researching the Confederacy's economy, I stumbled across this unnerving graph charting the value of America's "stock of slaves" in the last decades before the Civil War.



This graph tells the real story behind the South's secession: the value of the South's "slave stock"—the property of the ruling class — soared as secession approached, reaching an almost 90-degree angle in those final years before Harper's Ferry. The South's ruling class seceded to protect their riches, period. From afar, if you didn't know that human "slave stock" was the asset being charted, you could easily mistake this graph, and its parabolic trajectory, for one of the many destructive asset bubbles this country has suffered right up through our own time...The graph comes from a grim working paper, "Capitalists Without Capital," written in the late 1980s by a UC Berkeley economist, Richard Sutch, and a UC Riverside historian, Robert Ransom. As they showed, slavery produced huge profits for southerners who invested in slave capital — to the detriment of all other portfolio investments, as the value of slaves soared in the mid-19th century. By that time, by far the largest cotton-growing states' wealth was in slave stock, not in real estate or other investments. The slave trade was outlawed in 1808; but the slave population quadrupled from 1 million in 1800 to 4 million in 1860 — encouraged by slaveowners who "bred" their human stock, thereby multiplying their profits as the value of each slave rose. Slavery is often portrayed by revisionist historians as somehow antithetical to market capitalism; in reality, slavery was a winning portfolio investment, the very incarnation of just how evil "free-market" capitalism can be. As the authors write:

"If slaves ... were an investment included in the asset portfolio of the planter/entrepreneur, they helped satisfy the owner's demand for wealth. But unlike most other forms of capital, which depreciate with time, the stock of slaves appreciated. Thus, the growth of the slave population continuously increased the stock of wealth."




Soaring Profits

What makes this graph so disturbing for us in 2012 is what it suggests about today's "1 percent" — and how they view the rest of us. It gives form to the brutal crackdown on the Occupy protests — and suggests darker things to come as we try to free ourselves from their vision of civilization, and our place in it. Contrast that with this McKinsey report put out a few years ago by the director of the consulting group's New York office. Titled "The New Metrics of Corporate Performance: Profit Per Employee," the report argues that the best performing firms in our increasingly financialized era are those companies that have learned to squeeze ever-larger profits out of each employee — and not by the more traditional "return on investment" metric. The McKinsey report looked at the world's 30 largest companies between 1995 and 2005, and found that their return on human capital more than doubled, from an average of $35,000 profit per employee to $83,000, leading to this rather frank and nauseating conclusion:

"If a company's capital intensity doesn't increase, profit per employee is a pretty good proxy for the return on intangibles. The hallmark of financial performance in today's digital age is an expanded ability to earn 'rents' from intangibles. Profit per employee is one measure of those rents. If a company boosts its profit per employee without increasing its capital intensity, management will increase its rents."


Extracting rent from "employees" as a business strategy: This is supposed to be the language of feudalism, not modern advanced capitalism — and yet this is the cutting edge in 21st century capitalist thinking, unashamed and unvarnished
:

"One way to improve a company's profit per employee is simply to shed low-profit employees. But if they generate profit greater than the cost of the capital used to support their work, shedding them actually reduces the creation of wealth."


As with slave stock in a Southern investor's portfolio, the McKinsey report argues that as a corporation learns to successfully extract rent from its employees, the more employees it extracts rent from, the greater its aggregate profits. To compare "the 99 percent" to African slaves would be crude; but the mindset of "the 1 percent" then, as now, is eerily consistent. They view the rest of us not as human beings with rights, but as livestock whose meat is "rent" to be extracted. This is the language of plutocratic capitalism, a brutal system totally incompatible with democracy and antithetical to republican government and civilization. It is the language of misery, and misery is what "the 1 percent" is promising "the 99 percent" for years to come, in ever-greater doses.

Mark Ames

Mark Ames is editor of The eXiled Online and author of the book Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and co-author with Matt Taibbi of The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia.

Hitler’s Blackberry By Dan Denning

http://dailyreckoning.com/hitlers-blackberry/

Poor old Ben Bernanke has a deflation phobia. He sees it everywhere the way the kid in The Sixth Sense saw dead people. And Bernanke is equally terrified of falling stock prices (and their effect on consumer confidence). Falling stock prices are what some people call deflation, or asset price deflation. Bernanke, the governor of the US Federal Reserve, believes the Fed made the Depression a Great Depression by raising interest rates too soon during the US recovery. He won’t make that mistake again! He will simply not allow stocks to fall...The Fed chairman’s recent speech to the National Association for Business Economics lit a fire under US stock prices. All the US indexes charged ahead. And even gold got off the mat to close higher. Stocks are addicted to lower interest rates and yesterday they got a nice satisfying hit. Bernanke is on the record for saying he’ll keep US rates low until 2014. Yesterday he repeated his willingness to keep rates low, saying,

“Further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies.”


It’s a bizarre world. The Fed chairman thinks lower rates are needed to produce more economic growth. Growth will produce jobs. Jobs will lead to spending. Only then can interest rates — the price of Fed money — be raised. It’s a shame he can’t understand that the US rate policy is unsound. And since the rest of the world more or less keys off from US interest rates, an unsound US monetary policy leads to an unsound global monetary policy. By “unsound” we mean a policy that keeps interest rates too low, leads to asset price inflation, and a giant boom in debt.

This is all well-worn territory to long-time Daily Reckoning readers. If there’s anything comforting about the tenacity of Bernanke’s stupidity it’s that you have time to narrow down your stock holdings in a rising market. It’s much better to exit the market when stocks are floating along on a sea of liquidity than when they are crashing down. But then that’s the issue now, isn’t it? As scared as Bernanke is of the 1930s, he and his central banking colleagues around the world are even more scared of another Lehman Brothers. This was a point we made at our Sydney conference. The lesson of Lehman is that central bankers will simply not allow another major financial institution to fail. They can’t afford to.

The financial system is still so leveraged and interconnected (mostly through the derivatives market) that regular infusions of credit and the monetization of government debt are required to keep it at a steady level. In some ways, the deflation you’d normally expect at the end of a credit bubble is actually happening right now — it’s just disguised by the huge growth in central bank balance sheets. In other words, stock markets have become a giant charade. The indexes don’t communicate useful or accurate information. Prices have become more influenced by the supply of credit in the system than the underlying earnings of the businesses on listed exchanges. The whole thing looks suspiciously like a racket designed only to benefit the banks, the brokers, and the bureaucrats who nominally regulate them. It’s kind of refreshing to say that, although we concede we could be wrong. It’s refreshing because once you acknowledge that the game you’re being asked to play is rigged, you can choose not to play the game. This makes your asset allocation decisions a lot easier. For instance, we bought more gold bullion this morning...

Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity

http://www.alternet.org/story/154518/why_we_have_to_go_back_to_a_40-hour_work_week_to_keep_our_sanity?page=entire

40 HOURS WOULD BE A VACATION, FOR ME

One hundred fifty years of research proves that shorter work hours actually raise productivity and profits -- and overtime destroys them. So why do we still do this?

BECAUSE STUPID GREEDY BOSSES ARE GETTING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, ESPECIALLY SALARIED SLAVES WHO AREN'T COVERED BY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING....

If you’re lucky enough to have a job right now, you’re probably doing everything possible to hold onto it. If the boss asks you to work 50 hours, you work 55. If she asks for 60, you give up weeknights and Saturdays, and work 65.

Odds are that you’ve been doing this for months, if not years, probably at the expense of your family life, your exercise routine, your diet, your stress levels, and your sanity. You’re burned out, tired, achy, and utterly forgotten by your spouse, kids and dog. But you push on anyway, because everybody knows that working crazy hours is what it takes to prove that you’re “passionate” and “productive” and “a team player” — the kind of person who might just have a chance to survive the next round of layoffs.

This is what work looks like now. It’s been this way for so long that most American workers don’t realize that for most of the 20th century, the broad consensus among American business leaders was that working people more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous, and expensive — and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot.

It’s a heresy now (good luck convincing your boss of what I’m about to say), but every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul. And it may sound weird, but it’s true: the single easiest, fastest thing your company can do to boost its output and profits -- starting right now, today -- is to get everybody off the 55-hour-a-week treadmill, and back onto a 40-hour footing.

SHE'S PREACHING TO THE CHOIR

Matt Taibbi: Fraud and Bailouts Secret of B of A's Success

http://www.nationofchange.org/reporter-matt-taibbi-says-fraud-and-bailouts-are-secrets-bank-america-s-success-1332691057

TRANSCRIPT AT LINK

The Myth of the ‘The Knowledge Economy’ By Alexander Cockburn

http://www.nationofchange.org/myth-knowledge-economy-1332512349

Only 25 percent of all Americans go to college, and only 16 percent of those actually try to learn anything.
Welcome a nation of helots. (Helot: One of a class of serfs in ancient Sparta, neither a slave nor a free citizen. 2. A person in servitude; a serf.)

"In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a first-class education," President Obama famously declared in his 2010 State of the Union address, just as millions of high-schoolers across the nation were going through the annual ritual of picking their preferred colleges and preparing the grand tour of the prospects, with parents in tow, gazing ashen faced at the prospective fees. The image is of the toiling students springing from lecture room to well-paying jobs, demanding advanced skills in all the arts that can make America great again — outthinking and out knowing the Chinese, Japanese, Indians, South Koreans and Germans in the cutting-edge, cut-throat, high-tech economies of tomorrow.

Start with the raw material in this epic knowledge battle. As a dose of cold water over all this high-minded talk, it's worth looking at Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum's recently published "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses." The two professors followed more than 2,300 undergraduates at 29 universities, selected to represent the range of America's 2000-plus four-year college institutions. Among the authors' findings: 32 percent of the students who they followed in an average semester did not take any courses that assigned more than 40 pages of reading per week. Half did not take any courses in which more than 20 pages of writing were assigned throughout the entire term. Furthermore, 35 percent of the students sampled spent five hours or less a week studying alone. Typical students spent about 16 percent of their time on academic pursuits, and were "academically engaged," write the authors, less than 30 hours a week. After two years in college, 45 percent of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36 percent showed little change. And the students who did show improvement only logged very modest gains. Students spent 50 percent less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.

One of the study's authors, Richard Arum, says college governing boards — shoveling out colossal sums to their presidents, athletic coaches and senior administrative staff — demand that the focus be "student retention," also known as not kicking anyone out for not doing any measurable work. As Arum put it to Daily Finance, "Students are much more likely to drop out of school when they are not socially engaged, and colleges and universities increasingly view students as consumers and clients. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all students want to be exposed to a rigorous academic program."...In his one sensible sally Rick Santorum briefly struck out at ingrained snobbery about going to college, a piece of derision it didn't take him long to retract. It turns out only about 30 percent of Americans over the age of 25 have bachelor's degrees. Jack Metzgar had a useful piece recently on the Talking Union site with this and other useful facts. The U.S. government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010 only 20 percent of jobs required a bachelor's degree, whereas 26 percent of jobs did not even require a high school diploma and another 43 percent required only a high school diploma or equivalent. Please note that the latter 69 percent were therefore devoid of the one debt in America that's even more certain than taxes — student's loans. At least if you're provably broke, the IRS will countenance an "offer in compromise." In fact, they recently made the process slightly easier. No such luck with student loans. The banks are in your pocket till the last dime of loan-plus-interest has been extorted. Now for the next dose of cold water. The BLS reckons that by 2020 the overwhelming majority of jobs will still require only a high school diploma or less and that nearly three-fourths of "job openings due to growth and replacement needs" over the next 10 years will pay a median wage of less than $35,000 a year, with nearly 30 percent paying a median of about $20,000 a year (in 2010 dollars). In other words, millions of Americans are over-educated, servicing debt to the banks and boosting the bottom lines of Red Bull and the breweries. The snobbery stems from the fact that America's endless, mostly arid debates about education are conducted by the roughly one-third who are college-educated and have OK jobs and a decent income. The "knowledge economy" in the U.S. now needs more than 6 million people with masters or doctoral degrees, with another 1.3 million needed by 2020. But this will still be less than 5 percent of the overall economy.



So what is the best anti-poverty program? Higher wages for the jobs that are out there, currently yielding impossibly low annual incomes. The current American minimum wage ranges between $7.25 and $8.67 per hour. On a fairly regular basis, executives of Wal-Mart call for a rise in the minimum wage since, in the words of one Wal-Mart CEO, Lee Scott, "Our customers simply don't have the money to buy basic necessities between pay checks." The minimum wage in Ontario, Canada, is currently well over $10 per hour, while in France it now stands at nearly $13. Australia recently raised its minimum wage to over $16 per hour and nonetheless, it has an unemployment rate of just 5 percent. Any Republican candidate seriously pledging to raise the minimum wage to $12 would gallop into the White House, unless — a solid chance — he wasn't shot dead by the commentarial or maybe by a Delta team acting on Obama's determination relayed to him by the bankers, that this pledge constituted a terrorist assault on America. As Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative recently wrote (calling for a big hike), "The minimum wage represents one of those political issues whose vast appeal to ordinary voters is matched by little, if any, interest among establishment political elites."
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