Globalization

Why Big Business Loves Desperate Workers

And how a strong social safety net can make us all more free

by Stephen Pimpare

We don’t think enough about the economic functions of social welfare policy, or about the relationship between the safety net and labor markets, and this hinders our ability to make sense of why some people fight so hard against programs that aid poor and low-income people: We mistake them for anti-welfare ideologues, and dismiss them as cruel or ignorant, but there’s an economic logic to their activism, one that’s revealed if we look at the relationship between welfare and work from both the employee’s and the employer’s perspective. Let me explain.

Imagine that we have two workers, worker K and worker O, each with two young children.

Worker K is laid off when the company “downsizes.” K is nervous, but has some savings, is eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and TANF, has access to free local day care, and lives in a Section 8 apartment, with their monthly rent tied to their income.

Unpatriotic US Corporations Becoming Hot Political Issue That Unites Right and Left

by Ralph Nader

CEO Greg Wasson of the giant Walgreen drugstore chain may be thinking of other things than patriotism this 4th of July. He confirmed last month that, to save on taxes, he and his Board of Directors may be renouncing the company's U.S. citizenship and moving its incorporation to Switzerland or some nearby tax haven.

Were Mr. Wasson to quit America, where the company rose to great profits and where it receives one quarter of its annual $72 billion in sales from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, he would be grossly underestimating the reaction of many Americans.

Following intentions by corporate welfare kings Pfizer and Medtronic to quit their native country to get further tax escapes, Walgreen is unique in that it has 8000 pharmacies -- convenience stores well situated for citizen picketing.

Imagine the signs:

"Walgreen Goes For the Green Instead of the Red, White and Blue."

Or "Walgreen: Where's Your Patriotism?"

Power Play: Why the Left Needs to Get Down to Building a Radical Civil Society

Jacobin Editorial

Being a leftist today is a lot like playing pinball.

(Illustration by Rob Pybus / Jacobin)

Every machine has two flippers with a gulf between them. They’re used to knock balls toward bright and shiny bumpers. When a collision inevitably occurs, the bumper can propel the balls all across the board. For a little while, it looks and sounds promising — a lot of noise and flashing lights. Sometimes, the ball stays up for a while, racking up point after point. It feels like it’s never going to come down.

But blink and it’s over. Nothing changes the fact that the playing field itself is tilted downward. And with the gap between the flippers, it’s only a matter of time before the ball passes through and the game is over.

Eric Cantor Loses to a Conservative Who Rips Crony Capitalism

by John Nichols

The DC-insider storyline about this being a great year for the Republican establishment might need to be rewritten. And the rewrite might even require pundits, Republican chieftains and Democrats who are trying to figure out the politics of 2014 to consider complexities they had not previously entertained.

House majority leader Eric Cantor, the face of the GOP establishment and one of its most prodigious fundraisers, lost his Virginia Republican primary Tuesday to a challenger who promised, “I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful.”

Corporations Are Not People. Period.

On not settling for half measures when it comes to our democracy

by Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap

(Photo: Move To Amend / cc / flickr)

Remember back in 2009 before the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling when the U.S political and legal system wasn’t about prioritizing the interests of the extraordinarily wealthy, but instead was fair and just no matter what your social status?

Remember when the electoral system wasn’t corrupted by big money, and your average person had real influence over who could win for political office?

Wait a minute! You don’t remember that? Yeah… neither do I.

Protest Music and People Movements: The Tradition Continues

by Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks

In the most recent Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, the protagonist -- a struggling Greenwich Village folksinger in 1961 -- is based, very loosely, on Dave Van Ronk, a little-known (outside folk music circles) but influential folk-singer who helped define the folk music revival of the late fifties, and mentored the young Bob Dylan and others during the early 1960s when what Van Ronk called the "great folk scare" took off. To understand the atmosphere of that music scene, the Coens relied on Van Ronk's memoir (coauthored with Elijah Wald), The Mayor of McDougall Street. Van Ronk recounts his serious involvement with various left-wing factions of the period.

Fighting Poverty Wages

by Saita Gupta

(Photo: Low Pay is Not Okay/ Facebook)

We’re at a critical moment in our economic recovery that requires real leadership and people power to ensure true economic democracy in our country. There is incredible work being done to build a strong antipoverty movement, and spaces like these are fundamental to encourage an open dialogue about our strategies and tactics as well as our successes and failures.

Greenwald: From MLK to Anonymous, the State Targets Dissenters Not Just "Bad Guys"

The opportunity those in power have to characterise political opponents as "national security threats" or even "terrorists" has repeatedly proven irresistible.

Don't believe the argument that mass surveillance is only a problem for wrongdoers. Governments have repeatedly spied on anyone who challenges their power

by Glenn Greenwald

The following is an excerpt, as it appeared in The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, from Glenn Greenwald's latest book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, published on May 13, 2013 by Hamish Hamilton:

Citizens v. Subjects in a Democratic Society: The American Case

by Rochard Falk

"Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t
Escape from silence?…"

        —Robert Bly, “Call and Answer”

In my understanding silence is passivity as a way of being. Silence can be much more than the avoidance of speech and utterance, and is most poignantly expressed through evasions of body, heart, and soul. Despite the frustrations and defeats of the period, America was different during the years of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. It was then that alienated gun-wielders assassinated those among us who were sounding the clearest calls for justice and sending messages of hope. In a perverse reaction, Washington’s custodians of our insecurity went to work, and the sad result is this deafening silence!
 

The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment’s Nightmare)

by Robert Reich

(Image credit: Salon.com)

More Americans than ever believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business and their enablers in Washington. We’re five years into a so-called recovery that’s been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class. “The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Which is fueling a new populism on both the left and the right. While still far apart, neo-populists on both sides are bending toward one another and against the establishment.

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