All of Puerto Rico loses power

1.4 million people in Puerto Rico lost power yesterday in an outage that lasted for a day and left part of the island without power even after service was mainly restored. Read the rest

A hive of scum and villainy: meet the right-wing "Democrats" the DCCC is planning to win 2018 with

Ann Kirkpatrick cast the vote that kept Guantanamo Bay open and voted against cap-and-trade, and has been a consistent opponent of EPA air-quality measures; Jason Crow says he won't take corporate PAC money, so instead he's funded by his law firm which lobbies for casinos, fossil fuel companies (he also opposed gun control after the Aurora shooting happened on his watch in his district, having received large sums from the gun lobby) and he's the beneficiary of Bain Capital's largesse; Paul Davis voted to bar cities from enacting gun control rules, and for a ban on the use of state funds to support gun control lobbying, he's supported drug tests for welfare recipients and a corporate tax cut during the recession. Read the rest

If the UK's minimum wage had risen with its executive pay, the lowest paid jobs in the country would be worth £26K/year

Britain is one of the most unequal countries in the world, thanks to the Tory-in-sheep's-clothing policies of Tony Blair, and the naked banker-coddling and brutal austerity of the real Tories who followed on from Blair. Read the rest

The white supremacist origins of "public choice theory," the bedrock of contemporary libertarian thought

Hang around libertarians long enough and eventually one of them will start talking about "public choice theory" (I last heard it raised by a prominent libertarian scholar to justify corporations imposing adhesion contracts on their customers to force them to buy expensive consumables and service). It's a kind of catch-all theory that can handwave away any negative outcome from unregulated capitalism, the "freedom" of which is key to a kind of libertarian thought, above freedoms like "the freedom not to starve to death". Read the rest

Margaret Thatcher sold off public housing to create "the dignity of ownership" and today 40% of that housing is owned by gouging landlords

The theory behind Margaret Thatcher's sell-off of publicly funded council housing under the "right to buy" scheme was that poor people would buy their houses and then the structural factors keeping them poor would vanish in a puff of smoke, and the poor people would stop being poor (also, and as a completely unintentional side-effect, owning a home is correlated with voting for Tories and renting is correlated with voting Labour, but again, that was totally not what old Maggie was thinking, honestly). Read the rest

How an influential economics paper used imaginary environmental overregulation to spur low-density luxury housing

Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth is a 2015 paper written by University of Chicago and UC Berkeley economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, which purports to show that the reasons cities are so expensive is that bourgeois NIMBYism drives affluent people to raise spurious environmental challenges to new developments, stalling growth. Read the rest

A viral "angriest librarian" explains why America needs libraries now more than ever

When New Yorker columnist/blowhard Andre Walker "Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools", librarians all over the net gave him what for, and one of the best responses came from self-described "Angriest Librarian" Alex Halpern, a student librarian in Portland, OR, whose tweetstorm went viral. Read the rest

The DNC picked a bunch of sleazy lobbyists as superdelegates, can't figure out why no one is donating

The 2018 "superdelegates" to the Democratic National Convention will include lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp, CITGO petroleum, Citigroup, and other large corporations. Read the rest

The copay assumes the 99% treat healthcare like spiteful buffet gorgers

The basis for the health-insurance copay is that the 99% need to be disincentivized from "abusing" their health-care and going to the doctor for frivolous ailments (if this was really a thing, we'd have sliding-scale copays that charged rich people astounding sums to see the doctor, to ensure that everyone's incentives were properly aligned). Read the rest

Spain's right-wing government orders brutal police crackdown on Catalan independence referendum

The 2015 Catalan elections were widely viewed as a proxy referendum on independence from Spain and the brutal austerity imposed by Madrid, whose courts declared independence referendums to be illegal, augmenting its legal attacks against the Catalan independence movement with withering cyber-attacks, a brutal move that drove support for Spain's left-wing/anti-austerity parties. Read the rest

The Democrats' tax-credits for job training idea has been discredited for decades

Chuck Schumer is trying to reconcile the neoliberal and left wing factions in the Democratic party by offering a slate of policies that are supposed to appeal to both sides: some ($15 minimum wage) are solid, but one recommendation is so face-palmingly dumb that it's almost impossible to believe they made the cut. Read the rest

Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust." Read the rest

Traditional capitalism needs "extra" people, but managerial capitalism has no use for them

The Nation's outstanding roundtable  What Will Kill Neoliberalism? has many admirable interventions (including a notable one from Paul "Postcapitalism" Mason), but the one that got me right between the eyes was William Darity, Jr's "A Revolution of Managers." Read the rest

The electable Mr Corbyn

UK Theresa May called snap UK elections (after promising not to) in order to consolidate power in her own party, shutting up the MPs who didn't fall into line with her policies -- this was the same logic behind her predecessor David Cameron's decision to call a referendum on Brexit, and both banked on the idea that the UK electorate wasn't willing to vote for an "unthinkable" alternative in order to tell the establishment to go fuck itself. Read the rest

Flint threatens to take away 8,000 families' homes for failure to pay bills for poisoned water

The city of Flint, Michigan notoriously poisoned a generation of its children with lead in the water supply, having ignored and covered up reports from whistleblowers and denied complaints from residents. Read the rest

40% of households in Philadelphia can't pay their water bill

America is in the midst of an "invisible water crisis" as the post-war water infrastructure reaches the end of its duty-cycle and cash-strapped public utilities struggle to find the money to rebuild it. In cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit, families increasingly find themselves in water debt, and in Detroit, 50,000 households have had their running water cut off because of delinquency. Read the rest

After a century of resisting monopolies, Democrats became the party of finance capitalism and it cost them the election

Monopolies are a well-documented drain on the economy, holding back growth and raising prices to the benefit of the 1% and the detriment of everyone else, and for 100 years, the Democratic party was the party of anti-monopoly, fighting for vigorous anti-trust enforcement, trade unionism, and decentralized power. Read the rest

More posts