THE REMARKABLE thing about the American middle class is that we still have one, given the job losses, housing bust, and 401(k) wipeout of the past three years—and considering that for 35 years, politicians (and the bankers who own them) have been hammering away at middle-class institutions. The assault began in the 1970s, when New York City's fiscal crisis and California's property-tax revolt marked the start of a long decline in public services. Next came the recession and anti-union policies of the early 1980s, whose whip's end hit the black working class especially hard. (Automakers have long been among the nation's largest private employers of African Americans. In the late '70s, one in every 50 African Americans in the workforce was employed in the industry.) Thanks to the UAW, the automakers provided good jobs and pensions for workers who, in many cases, had a high-school education at best. When Chrysler hit the ropes in 1979, Congress did pitch in with a $1.5 billion loan guarantee (I worked on that bill as an economist for the House banking committee), but the decade that followed still pummeled autoworkers—as they did all of American manufacturing.
The consequences are still unfolding. Total employment of manufacturing workers peaked in 1979, and three decades later, we're in the endgame. Jobs in the sector are down by about a third since 2000—some 6 million lost. Most of them will never be replaced. Nothing can stop the Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and others from making shoes and ships and sealing wax at wages we can't compete with. And nothing will.
In response to the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) long-term fiscal forecast released today, Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, released the following statement:
“The LAO's new forecast underscores the fiscal challenges that California continues to face. The outlook suggests that revenues will lag the optimistic forecasts used as the basis of the 2011-12 spending plan and that shortfalls will persist absent significant additional revenues. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, both nationally and here in California, and state and local government job losses are weakening overall job growth.
“The LAO's report provides a first look at the state's fiscal outlook for the remainder of this year and beyond. It is important to note, however, that due to the timing of certain personal income tax payments, policymakers lack critical information needed to develop an accurate picture of the state's fiscal situation. Still, the budget shortfalls forecast by the LAO highlight the need for policymakers to take a balanced approach to addressing the state’s ongoing budget gaps. Without additional revenues, policymakers will be forced to make even deeper cuts to our public schools and universities and other public structures that underpin a strong economy and are essential to the lives of Californians.
“Policymakers should strive to address the state’s fiscal challenges with a multi-year approach that fosters long-term stability. Deeper spending cuts, such as those that would be imposed by the so-called 'triggers' in the June budget agreement, will only serve to slow an already struggling economy.”
The California Budget Project (CBP) engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians. Support for the CBP comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions. Please visit the CBP’s website at www.cbp.org.
As judge Jed. S. Rokoff said and the cost is obscured rather than revealed and the
punishment is less than the profits made by Citi Corp in a few days. This weak
agreements apply to each of the other deals proposed, JP Morgan, Bank of
America, Chase, USB and others.
This should be a time of legitimate enforcement of financial
regulation and fraud. What would it take ? The Dodd-Frank bill has passed. It is too limited.
It did not re-establish the 1936 Glass- Steagall rules. At present the Republican Party is working night and
day to limit and restrict even the limited Dodd-Frank rules. Each of the Republican candidates for
President campaigns to even further restrict regulation.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in their report
described the even existing oversight functions as cramped and not enforced
because there are insufficient regulators. That is, the Republicans protect the banks by preventing the
hiring of sufficient regulators even for the present rules. That means that the entire financial
crisis could be repeated in any day.
Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve and the big banks
fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S.
history a secret. No one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated
$13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates,
Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue. Betty Liu reports on
Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve and the
big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout
in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was
The Fed didn’t tell anyone
which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on
Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took
tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans
at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no
one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income
by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine
reports in its January issue.
Dean Baker. The Wages of Economic Ignorance By Robert Skidelsky
Politicians are masters at “passing the buck.” Everything good that happens reflects their exceptional talents and efforts; everything bad is caused by someone or something else.
The economy is a classic field for this strategy. Three years after the global economy’s near-collapse, the feeble recovery has already petered out in most developed countries, whose economic inertia will drag down the rest. Pundits decry a “double-dip” recession, but in some countries the first dip never ended: Greek GDP has been dipping for three years.
When we ask politicians to explain these deplorable results, they reply in unison: “It’s not our fault.” Recovery, goes the refrain, has been “derailed” by the eurozone crisis. But this is to turn the matter on its head. The eurozone crisis did not derail recovery; it is the result of a lack of recovery. It is the natural, predictable, and (by many) predicted result of the main European countries’ deliberate policy of repressing aggregate demand.
On A Nation of Change. http://www.nationofchange.org/wages-economic-ignorance-1322149463
Even asOccupy Wall Street protestshave turned America's attention to the economic inequality that has soared as banks have come to dominate our economy, those banks have been quietly working to cut themselves still one more sweet deal. Whether they get away with it may ultimately depend on California Atty. Gen.Kamala D. Harris. The deal — which the 50 state attorneys general and the Obama administration have been haggling over with our biggest banks for more than a year — would require the banks to pay roughly $25 billion to certain beleaguered or former homeowners, chiefly as compensation for the "robosigning" abuses the banks engaged in as they zealously sought to foreclose on hundreds of thousands of homes. In return, the states would agree not to pursue claims against the banks for whatever fraud and abuse they may have committed in originating dubious mortgages. This get-out-of-jail-cheap card (the five banks involved in the talks —Bank of America,JPMorgan Chase,Citigroup,Wells Fargoand Ally Financial — can afford the $25 billion) would also let the banks escape liability for misrepresenting those mortgages to the investors on whom they unloaded them.
Assemblyman Jim Nielson, R. has a viewpoint in the Sunday Bee. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/20/4065890/dems-made-choice-not-to-fully.html
This is a response.
viewpoint is simply dishonest.Yes
funds forthe needed Veteran’s
Home were cut.But, it is
deceptive to pretend that these fund cuts happened independent of the economic
crisis we all live in. Also cut were schools, police, fire protection,
children’s protective services,parks, libraries,senior
services, and more. They were all cut because the Republicans, including
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, blocked any tax increases to pay for needed state
resources. When you force a cut of everything, that includes veteran’s homes.
The nation including
California is suffering a severe recession – the worst since the Great
Depression. Twenty Six million are unemployed and under employed.
This crisis was created by finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street
,ie. Chase Banks, Bank of America, AIG, and others. Finance capital
produced a $ 2 trillion bailout of the financial industry, the doubling of the
U.S.unemployment rate and the
loss millions ofmanufacturing
jobs and the tax revenues produced by people at work.
Thursday, Nov 17, thousands of faculty members
made history by participating in the first-ever strike of the California State
The message to the Chancellor was loud and clear
from six in the morning until dark: “If you don’t start making decisions based
on what is right for the 99% this system serves – instead of the 1% of
executives and upper managers running the system -- these actions will
At CSU Dominguez Hills in Southern California,
2,000 people over the course of the day picketed the ten gates surrounding the
At CSU East Bay in Northern California, according
to published reports, 93% of classes were canceled for the day. Traffic was
backed up for over a mile and a half into the city of Hayward. At noon, police
were forced to cordon off the main entrance on Carlos Bee Blvd, effectively
closing campus for the rest of the day.
DSA Honorary Chair Cornel West participated in the support rally.
“This week, we sent the Chancellor a powerful
message,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a professor of History at CSU Los
Taiz continued, “People are fed up with his
‘management first’ priorities. The CSU community is tired of seeing the
Chancellor give huge raises to executives while student fees are hiked, faculty
pay is stagnant, class sizes keep growing, and class offerings and faculty jobs
“Huge numbers of people came out to support the
faculty this week – students, community members, staff, supporters from other
unions, political leaders, and parents.
We have often discussed the problems of establishing democratic practices in our schools today. This is something you have written about extensively, and it is integral to your pedagogical ideas. Today, the question of democracy looms large as we see increasing efforts to privatize the control of public schools. There is an even more worrisome and allied trend, and that is the growing influence of money in education politics at the state and local levels.
My recent book included a chapter on "The Billionaire Boys Club," in which I described the ideological convergence of the three foundations that spend the most money in the K-12 education sector: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.
The Walton Foundation has long been known as staunchly conservative, a steadfast funder of school choice, of vouchers and charters. Now Walton, Gates, and Broad fund many of the same programs, including KIPP and Teach for America, and the Gates foundation funds ultra-conservative advocates of charters and vouchers, such as Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education.
Since my book first appeared, I have learned that there are many more members of the billionaires' boys club (although I do not know which of them are mere multi-millionaires rather than billionaires).
The Fire Next Time is Now: Environmental Historian Angus Wright’s Call for a Planetary Patriotism
(Angus is a friend)
By Robert Jensen
Angus Wright has a way of saying things we may not want to hear in a way that’s hard to ignore.
An example: During a meeting of environmentalists about shaping the public conversation on our most pressing ecological crises, folks were wrestling with how to present an honest analysis in accessible language -- how to talk about the bad news and the need for radical responses, without turning people off. During the discussion about the effects of climate change, Wright offered a simple suggestion for a slogan: “No more water, the fire next time.”
Those words from a black spiritual, made famous by James Baldwin’s borrowing for his 1963 book “The Fire Next Time,” are usually invoked metaphorically. Wright was suggesting that we might want to consider the phrase literally. After a summer of drought and forest fires in Texas where I live, Wright’s comment reminded me that climate disruption isn’t part of some science-fiction future, but is unfolding around us in ways that are both complex and hard to predict, but devastating simple: We’re in deep trouble, ecologically and culturally, as we try to face up to unprecedented planetary problems in a society in denial.
Wright is one of our most astute observers of these troubles. His willingness to face these issues, and his ability to grasp the interplay of complex systems, is no surprise to readers of his book The Death of Ramon Gonzalez: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma, first published in 1990 and revised for a 2005 edition. Looking at one region in Mexico, Wright explains how political and economic power, combined with the arrogance of experts who believe they have all the answers, have radically changed people, communities, and land -- mostly for the worse.
Important report: Public education faces two significant challenges. The population of students that schools have traditionally underserved is growing rapidly at the same time there is greater pressure for improving outcomes for all students and for equipping them with the knowledge and skills for success in the 21st century. Meeting these challenges will require a redoubling of the civic investment, the authors write. Around the country, community members have formed organizations to channel their support for public schools. A recent report identified public education funds (PEFs) -- twice the number from a decade before -- that provided $1.2 billion in funds to support public schools in 2007, serving more than 20 million children. These organizations can only function effectively, however, if they meet high standards for efficiency, effectiveness, and ethics. The National Commission on Civic Investment in Education therefore created a set of standards specifically for PEFs in five areas: mission and policies; evaluation and transparency; responsible stewardship; legal compliance; and personal and professional integrity. PEFs can lead the advocacy efforts necessary to set policymakers' priorities straight, but can only do so effectively if they have the strong support of the public they represent and who work as part of these organizations. Read more: http://www.publiceducation.org/pubs_20111108_VUE.asp See the standards: http://publiceducation.org/pdf/2011_National_Conference/Conference_Standards.pdf
Paul Karrer: Bean counters and educational
About 4,000 schools in California are in "failing" status. And
of those, a measly 85 have managed to "unfail" themselves. That is
just a squeak over 2 percent.
What gets schools and even entire districts in failing status, called
program improvement, or P.I., is a Byzantine formula. If any one group of
students—Anglo, special education, Latino, one-legged hemophiliacs—scores below
basic (a very low average), the entire school is placed in failing status. When
that occurs, a downward spiral kicks in. Everything must now be focused on this
specific group of under-achieving students. It is a Sisyphean task.
Spreckels School, which has a super high score and high performing kids,
is in failing status because two kids dragged down the score.
Now, imagine the reality of teaching in a district where 40 percent or
more of the students are low performers.
No Child Left Behind has destroyed public education, contaminated its
noble mission, and sold out to private industry in the name of reform. Those of
us left in the educational trenches are blamed for conditions we have not
caused, cannot fix, yet are held accountable for.
"Reform" plays itself out like this in my failing school.
State Schools Chief Torlakson Issues Statement on NCLB Waiver
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today regarding the State Board of Education's initial discussion of whether to seek a waiver* from the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act:
"I commend President Michael Kirst and members of the State Board of Education for their thoughtful discussion today, and their willingness to examine both the benefits and the costs associated with the extensive conditions California would have to meet to seek a waiver of the provisions of No Child Left Behind.
"As a state, we are being asked to make wholesale changes that would affect the operation of every school—with very little time and no new resources—all to receive temporary respite from a law that, thankfully, Congress is in the process of rewriting.
"I continue to believe that the best answer for addressing a bad law is to replace it with a good one. However, recognizing the immediate need for relief among so many schools, the State Board will continue to examine the option of applying for a waiver in a manner that reflects the state's priorities, timetables, and budget constraints."
Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5--Gov. John Kasich's attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio. We pieced together a short, powerful video summing up the amazing energy that went into this. I hope you'll take a moment to watch: [http://act.aflcio.org/c/18/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=6115] Tonight's victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, working families and workplace rights. But it's more than that. It's a long-overdue return to common sense.
Make or Break Moment for Public Education in California
Posted on 07 November 2011
By Pablo Rodriguez Communities for a New California
On Friday, November 4th, I proudly joined a growing movement of students, teachers, parents, and workers and sent the open letter below to the fifty corporate elite who serve on the boards of California's public colleges and universities. We are the 99%, and through our taxes we are already paying more than our fair share to save public education and vital social services in California. We are at a make-or-break moment for the future of public education.
We have endured $17 billion in cuts to public education and 200% increases in tuition for the University of California, California State University and community college students since just 2008. Now, $2.5 billion in additional cuts to education and essential services are under consideration for December. We call on those corporate elite to sign theReFund California pledge to make Wall Street pay for refunding public education.
A week of actions at fifteen California university campuses will begin at Fresno State University on November 8th (see video below) and will demand the corporate elite on the boards of our colleges and universities sign the pledge. The week of campus actions will conclude Nov. 16 at the meetings of the University of California and California State University governing boards and reinforce the message, “It is time banks, corporations, and the wealthiest 1% PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE.
While thousands marched to support OCW in Oakland,
a group of less than 200 anarchists stepped on the media coverage and
encouraged police repression.
This is how the AFL-CIO reported on the march on
“More than 7,000 Occupy Oakland protesters, union
members and community and faith activists peacefully rallied against
Wall Street greed, bank foreclosures and for good jobs yesterday in one of the
largest demonstrations since the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month.
The Alameda County Labor Council endorsed the Day
of Action and encouraged local unions and union members to take part. Many of
the union members who joined in the action took unpaid time off work to make
their voices heard. Unions also worked with the city government, the Oakland
school system and other employers to make leave arrangements.