Obama's legacy: eight years of not holding executives criminally responsible for their companies' misdeeds

The most remarkable criminal justice story of 2017 is that the FBI has arrested a real corporate criminal, a VW executive who tried to engineer a coverup of the Dieselgate scandal, and that he might go to jail -- it's remarkable because the Obama administration spent eight years resolutely not sending criminal executives to jail, preferring instead to let their corporations buy their way out of criminal sanctions with huge fines, a doctrine pioneered by Obama Attorney General Eric Holder back when he worked for Bill Clinton's administration. But while Clinton rejected this idea, Obama put it into practice. Read the rest

The Triumph of the 1%

Colin Gordon at Dissent summarizes new national income statistics for America's wealthiest, something that seems likely to worsen under Trump. Since Reagan, the US has been been edging toward income share levels not seen since before World War II. Read the rest

San Francisco ponders letting luxury property developers take away symbolic "public spaces"

Like many cities, SF asks fancy property developers to create "public spaces" in their buildings to make up for parks and other public sites they displace, and these are usually a joke, hidden away far in the buildings' depths and deliberately hidden from the public. Read the rest

Translating plutocrat economic campaign-speak into plain English

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a coalition of hyper-rich CEOs and bankers that's been formed to campaign for social safety net cuts, seizing the "fiscal cliff" moment as a chance to change the public debate and protect tax breaks to the richest 1% while slashing services upon which the rest of the country relies. Alternet's Lynn Parramore provides a handy crib-sheet for translating the Campaign's manifesto to plain English:

1. “Fix” means cut: When they say “fix” Social Security, they mean cut Social Security. Fixers want to convince the public that a well-managed, hugely popular program that does not add to the deficit (it’s self-funded) is somehow in crisis and requires intervention in the form of various cutting schemes. They seek this because many of the rich do not want to pay taxes for Social Security, and financiers want very much to move toward privitization of retirement accounts so they can collect fees on such accounts.

2. “Reform” means rob. When the say “reform” the tax code, they mean “make taxes even lower for the rich.” The wealthy do not pay their fair share of taxes in the United States, which is a major reason there is a large deficit in the first place. When the very wealthy pay lower tax rates than ordinary working people, the result is an increasing redistribution of income upward that puts the U.S. in the top 30 percent in income inequality out of 140 nations, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. We’re a shameful #42.

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