Apple, Google add 45 minutes to commuter-bus run to avoid 280 highway, where the buses' windows keep getting smashed

No one's sure how the windows on commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley keep getting smashed on a stretch of the 280 -- maybe it's a pellet gun, maybe it's thrown rocks -- but Apple and Google have informed employees who use the service that their commute is about to get 45 minutes longer as they take alternate routes to avoid that highway. Read the rest

To keep their bond-ratings, hedge-funds have to publicly demonstrate that they are the most ruthless of landlords

After the subprime crisis, vulture funds swept into the hardest-hit areas and bought thousands of foreclosed-upon homes at firesale prices and floated bonds based on the expected returns from the rents they'd be able to charge in an America with the lowest levels of home-ownership in modern history. Read the rest

Scottish police confirm requests from world governments to find money laundered through "the UK's homegrown secrecy vehicle"

Scottish Limited Partnerships (previously) are notorious corporate entities whose true owners are easily disguised, making them perfect vehicles for money laundry. Read the rest

UK tax authority, gutted by austerity and buried by Brexit, can't deal with the crime revealed by the Paradise Papers

HMRC, the British tax authority, is 'struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak,' according to Parliament's public accounts committee, whose new report describes an already understaffed agency whose workload has been increased by the preparations for Brexit. Read the rest

After a manager at a Dollar General asked about the unionization of a nearby store, the company fired her

Missouri, an overwhelmingly poor, GOP-dominated state, where a new "right-to-work" bill will face a referendum on the 2018 ballot, is at the heart of the battle over the nation's surging trade union movement. Read the rest

Modern Monetary Theory: the economic basis for expanded social spending and greater shared prosperity

The last 40 years has seen a steady rise of deficit-hawking, in which the world's postwar social safety nets are shredded because the state "can't afford" them -- think of all the times you've heard of national debt being money that "the taxpayers" will have to pay back, and misleading comparisons between sovereign governments (who print their own money) to households and businesses (who don't), as though sovereign state finance was just a scaled-up version of balancing the family check-book. Read the rest

Astounding coincidence: Intel's CEO liquidated all the stock he was legally permitted to sell after learning of catastrophic processor flaws

Five months after learning of the devastating Spectre and Meltdown bugs, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold off more than $39,000,000 worth of his Intel stock, all he was permitted to liquidate. Read the rest

Hedge funds killed the newspaper industry, not the web

The web came of age with no-holds-barred finance capitalism, so it's hard to decide which of the last twenty years' worth of changes are the result of the tech industry, or of financialization, or a toxic mix of both. Read the rest

Does capitalism breed greed, or elevate the greedy?

When a billionaire Koch heir announces that he's taking a break from suing ex-fiancees to give back their engagement rings and playing tennis at Mar-a-Largo in order to produce designer shirts covered in money-bags, it's worth asking: did capitalism turn this guy into a useless asshole, or does capitalism find the useless assholes and shower them with money? Read the rest

American inequality is unequally distributed, and got lumpier after the Great Recession

Since the Great Recession, the wealth gap between poor whites and poor blacks and Hispanics collapsed (all the poor people are living in similar poverty), but the wealth gap in the middle class grew: middle class blacks and Hispanics are worse off than middle class whites, a phenomenon that's increased since 2008/9. Read the rest

Virginia is the most unequal state in the union, and is more unequal than at any time in (post-Reconstruction) history

20% of the Virginia workforce is earning $10.33/hour or less, while wages for the top 20% of earners have soared to $50/hour or more -- the top two deciles are earning, on average, 280% more than the bottom two deciles. Read the rest

The majority of US workers live in "employment monopsonies" where there is little or no competition for workers

In Labor Market Concentration, a new working paper from economists at U Penn, U Navarra and the Roosevelt Institute, researchers analyze a large US government data-set to determine how many workers live in markets where there is effective only one or two employers, a situation called "monoposony" (when a single buyer has a monopoly). Read the rest

Wells Fargo CEO promises to spend not one cent of the GOP tax gift on investment or wages

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan -- who inherited the most scandal-haunted bank of them all this year -- reassured his investors in a CNN Money interview that not one dime of the tax savings the GOP will deliver to his company will be reinvested or used to increase wages: instead, it will all go to buy-backs and dividends. Read the rest

Trump's Department of Labor proposes rule that lets employers steal employees' tips

Under a new rule proposed by the Department of Labor, restaurants can take servers' tips and "pool" them in order to disperse some to dishwashers, bussers, etc: but it doesn't actually require them to do so, and, instead, allows employers to pocket some or all of the wait-staff's tips. Read the rest

The final draft of the GOP tax plan transfers even more wealth to the 1%: now they get 83%

The GOP tax plan is a thousand-plus-page dog's breakfast of last-minute additions, giveaways, and complexity larded upon complexity, making it nearly impossible to parse out (so much for simplifying the tax code!), but the nonpartisan, Brookings-backed Tax Policy Center's new analysis goes a long way to untangling this ugly mess. Read the rest

Ted Chiang: Elon Musk's fear of runaway AI is a projection of his repressed terror of runaway corporations

Why do billionaires like Elon Musk make terrified pronouncements about the imminent rise of self-aware, murderous AIs that use us to reproduce themselves, controlling us instead of serving us? Read the rest

The Tea Party's baseless claims of IRS discrimination left the agency on life-support, unable to police dark money gushing through "charities"

In 2013, Tea Party activists claimed that they'd been singled out by the IRS for political reasons, and that's why their associated nonprofits were not being approved by the tax agency. In reality, a longrunning investigation found that the IRS was merely incompetent and understaffed, but the Tea Party's tactic of going after the referee rather than the system worked for them: the result was an IRS that has had its resources cut even further, leaving it less -- nor more -- able to evaluate charitable organizations that apply for tax-exempt status. Read the rest

More posts