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Daily Kos Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:55 GMT  

Economics Daily Digest: Corporate investment, shareholder payouts, governance over elections

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

Why Companies are Rewarding Shareholders Instead of Investing in the Real Economy (WaPo)

Lydia DePillis looks at Roosevelt Institute Fellow J.W. Mason's new white paper on how the shift towards increased shareholder payouts since the 1980s has decreased corporate investment.

If you’ve noticed the steep upward trajectory of the stock market over the past few years, looked around and wondered why cash doesn’t appear to be raining down upon your friends and neighbors, you’d be justified in wondering: What’s going on here? If corporate America is doing so well, shouldn’t we feel like things are getting better, too?

In the past several years, profits have been increasingly paid back out to shareholders, rather than invested in hiring more people and paying them better. And lately, companies have even been borrowing money to make those shareholder payouts, because with interest rates so low, it’s a relatively cheap way to push stock prices higher.

That’s according to a new paper from the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning think tank that's launching a project exploring how the financialization of the economy has unlinked corporates from the well-being of regular people.

Read J.W. Mason's paper, "Disgorge the Cash: The Disconnect Between Corporate Borrowing and Investment," here.

Follow below the fold for more.


Pensito Review Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:56 GMT  

Giuliani Proves That Patriotism Truly Is the Last Refuge of Draft-Dodging, Adulterous Scoundrels
Samuel Johnson said it 240 years ago: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Rudolph Giuliani proved it last week at a fundraiser in New York for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he exhumed commie-baiter Sen. Joe McCarthy by asserting that while he and Republican fatcats like himself were America-loving patriots, Pres. Obama and […]

photo-giuliani-flag

Samuel Johnson said it 240 years ago: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Rudolph Giuliani proved it last week at a fundraiser in New York for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he exhumed commie-baiter Sen. Joe McCarthy by asserting that while he and Republican fatcats like himself were America-loving patriots, Pres. Obama and his family were not.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say,” Giuliani said, “but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

In the media frenzy that ensued, Giuliani — who spent $50 million campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 only to win just one (1) delegate to the Republican convention — embarked on a victory lap of right-wing media outlets during which he doubled down on his petty spitefulness.

That seemed to come to a halt yesterday when he issued a banal non-apology, which included this delicious tautology: “My bluntness overshadowed my message.” Bluntness was his message. After all, when you’re accusing the president of being anti-American, why be polite?

Of course, hardly anyone in the mainstream media questioned Giuliani’s standing to make such a blood libel against the president. After all, a large percentage of the reporters and pundits who covered the controversy live in New York and remember when, for reasons that remain mystifying to the rest of the United States, they anointed him “America’s Mayor” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The fact is, Giuliani has no standing to accuse Pres. Obama, or anyone, of being unpatriotic — or of being badly brought up, for that matter. When it comes to patriotism, Rudy is a quintessential chickenhawk — a warmongering draft dodger. In fact, he received more Vietnam-era Selective Service deferments — six — than even the bloodthirstiest chickenhawk, Dick Cheney, who sought and received a mere five deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam.

In fact, it’s hard to find a patriot in Giuliani’s family. His father, Harold Giuliani, avoided the draft in World War II by outing himself as a convicted felon. He’d served time under the name Joseph Starrett in Sing Sing for robbing a milkman in Harlem at gunpoint. Harold Giuliani was later employed as a thug working for Rudy’s mother’s brother, who ran a loan sharking business out of a bar in Brooklyn. That uncle and the uncle’s four brothers all managed to dodge the draft in World War II.

Pres. Obama was just 13 when the Vietnam War ended, but, in contrast with Giuliani’s family, Obama’s antecedents were bona fide patriots. His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, not only served in World War II, he was among the troops who invaded France on D-Day. The president’s great-uncle — his grandmother’s brother — Charlie Payne, served in the 89th Infantry Division, which liberated the concentration camps at Buchenwald. The president’s grandmother was a warworker who built B-29 fighter planes.

Giuliani has behaved like a scoundrel in his personal life, too. He married his childhood sweetheart, and second cousin, Regina Peruggi, and then cast her aside by having the marriage annulled on the grounds that they were cousins. Later, when he was mayor of New York, he failed to inform his second wife, Donna Hanover, an actress and news presenter, that he was leaving her for a younger woman, before announcing their separation at a press conference.

Finally — since Rudy chose to bring the president’s family into this squalid affair — it should be noted that, in 2010, Giuliani’s daughter Caroline, then 21, was arrested for shoplifting, which speaks to his own poor parenting. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young, of course, and to Caroline’s credit, she reportedly voted for Pres. Obama in 2008.


http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/feed/ Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:56 GMT  


ThinkProgress Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:56 GMT  

GOP Hopeful Slams Hillary For Clinton Foundation, Forgets To Mention Her Own Extensive Involvement

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO failed to mention that she's involved with $5.7 million in commitments to the nonprofit organization run by the Clintons.

The post GOP Hopeful Slams Hillary For Clinton Foundation, Forgets To Mention Her Own Extensive Involvement appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Carly Fiorina with Bill Clinton at a Clinton Foundation event last year.

Carly Fiorina with Bill Clinton at a Clinton Foundation event last year.

CREDIT: YouTube

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina had some harsh words for Hillary Clinton and her family’s foundation for allegations that it has accepted money from foreign governments at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

“Mrs. Clinton, name an accomplishment. And in the meantime, please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Global Initiative from foreign governments do not represent a conflict of interest,” Fiorina said at the event in the D.C. area, referring to a report published by the Washington Post on Wednesday evening. The report found that the Clinton Foundation had accepted millions of dollars from foreign governments for charitable causes while Secretary Clinton was at the State Department and such donations violate the State Department’s ethics agreement.

“I will say this, if Hillary Clinton had to face me on a debate stage, at the very least she would have a hitch in her swing,” Fioria went on to say.

But Fiorina may have a hitch of her own. She failed to mention during her speech that she appeared at a Clinton Foundation event in Denver last year and is on the advisory board of one organization and the chair of another that have an active commitments to the foundation.

The commitments to the Clinton Foundation come from the The National Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which has agreed to put $3.7 million toward creating “an exhibition space near the National Mall in Washington, DC to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in America” and “programs to reach 50,000 youth with in-person experiences that foster interest in entrepreneurship,” and Good 360, which partnered with Hilton Worldwide in “finding alternative ways to recycle, donate, or reuse waste instead of sending it to the landfill” for a $2 million commitment.

Fiorina appeared on a panel at the Clinton Foundation’s event in Denver last year on economic opportunities, a panel that also had President Bill Clinton.

You can view video of the panel:

Fiorina voiced her opposition on that panel to raising the minimum wage. “I think there’s no question that if you’re making minimum wage you think you want to make more. On the other hand, the sad truth is that raising the minimum wage will hurt those who are looking for entry-level jobs,” she said, pointing out that women and young African-American men are often the “last hired and first fired.” She also blamed “crony capitalism” for increasing inequality in America.

Fiorina has been rumored to be plotting a presidential run for the 2016 Republican nomination, though she has only run for office once before, when she lost to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D). During that race, she struggled to name solutions to cutting spending during an appearance on Fox News and said she didn’t “think John McCain could run a major corporation,” but she didn’t think any other presidential candidate could run a corporation either.

Though Fiorina did run a major corporation, her time there was troubled, and the board eventually forced her out. After her departure, the company’s stock jumped 6.9 points. “The stock is up a bit on the fact that nobody liked Carly’s leadership all that much,” one analyst told CNN Money at the time.

The post GOP Hopeful Slams Hillary For Clinton Foundation, Forgets To Mention Her Own Extensive Involvement appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scott Walker: I Crushed Wisconsin Unions, So I Can Handle ISIS

Governor Walker compared the unions in his state to terrorists as he promoted a controversial "right-to-work" bill.

The post Scott Walker: I Crushed Wisconsin Unions, So I Can Handle ISIS appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scott Walker

CREDIT: AP

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) just outside Washington, DC, Wisconsin Governor and likely presidential candidate Scott Walker was asked what his plan would be, were he in the White House, to combat the terrorism perpetuated by the Islamic State In Syria (ISIS).

As an enthusiastic crowd cheered, he responded not with a plan but with an argument for why his battles against organized labor in his state makes him the most qualified for the job.

“We need have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message that not only will we protect American soil, but…freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need that confidence,” he said. “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Watch it:

Walker focused a good deal of his prime-time speech on the anti-union measures he has championed in Wisconsin, including a so-called “right-to-work” bill that he previously called a “distraction” that he did not support. He also touted his restrictions on teachers’ unions, telling the CPAC audience: “We don’t have tenure anymore. We can hire and fire anyone we want.”

The post Scott Walker: I Crushed Wisconsin Unions, So I Can Handle ISIS appeared first on ThinkProgress.

China Cut Its Coal Use 2.9 Percent Last Year, Will They Peak Even Before 2020?

No one should be surprised if China peaks in coal use before 2020. That would help them peak CO2 emissions before 2030, which is what they told the world last year they would try to do.

The post China Cut Its Coal Use 2.9 Percent Last Year, Will They Peak Even Before 2020? appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Miners shovel coal at a north China mine near a power plant and chemical factory.

Miners shovel coal at a north China mine near a power plant and chemical factory.

CREDIT: AP/Oded Balilty

China cut its coal consumption 2.9 percent in 2014, the first drop this century. Domestic coal production fell 2.5 percent.

As we reported last year, the Chinese government announced in November it would cap coal use by 2020. The new data raise the possibility the peak in coal consumption will come even sooner.

This reversal on coal utterly refutes the GOP claim that China’s recent climate pledge with the United States “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years.”

ChinaCoal

CREDIT: Greenpeace

In reality, what a stunning turnaround this is for Chinese energy policy, where the focus has been building one or more coal plants a week for some for two decades — a key reason China was responsible for about half of the world’s recent growth in carbon pollution.

Now they’ll be building the equivalent in carbon-free power every week for decades to meet their commitment, made in the deal with the U.S., to “increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.” That means adding some 800-1,000 gigawatts of zero-carbon power in 16 years, which is “more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.”

Melanie Hart, the Director for China Policy at the Center for American Progress, notes that the 2014 coal drop suggests the country is “well on track to peak coal use by 2020″ but “if coal growth remains sluggish over the next few years Chinese coal use could possibly peak even earlier.” Also, she points out that “most models indicate that China’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak about ten years after coal.”

Remember, the CO2 deal Chinese President Xi Jinping announced with Obama in November was that “China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early.” Hart notes that the italicized “language was critical and we should assume it was not issued lightly. It suggests that Chinese leaders are open to making even more ambitious climate moves if the economics allow, and this new data suggests that the economics are looking very good indeed.”

Put another way, why would China announce with such public fanfare they are going to “make best efforts to peak early” if they didn’t think they could and would? Failure to peak early would show the “best efforts” of the Chinese failed. That is not how China rolls.

So no one should be surprised if China peaks in coal use before 2020 — as that would be key for them to peak CO2 emissions before 2030.

The post China Cut Its Coal Use 2.9 Percent Last Year, Will They Peak Even Before 2020? appeared first on ThinkProgress.


PoliticusUSA Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:56 GMT  

Here’s To Booting A Chicago DINO Out Of The Mayor’s Office
Incumbent Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to have to labor a bit extra for the next six weeks if he hopes to continue to occupy that legendary office.

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Two Years After SCOTUS Gutting, GOP Rep Insists Congress Is Ready To Amend Voting Rights Act
It should be no surprise by this time, but whenever present-day Republicans point a finger and cry "foul," you can be reasonably sure the crime is an inside job.

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House Republicans Are Already Trying To Block The New Net Neutrality Rules
House Republicans are trying to block the new net neutrality rules passed by the FCC, and are turning a victory for the open internet into an Obama conspiracy theory.

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Paul Krugman Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:56 GMT  

Quantitative Easing and Monetary Aggregates
Hoocoodanode?
Despicable Monetary Me
Terrible true things I've said.
Chris Christie, Peacock
Just like the rest, only louder.

Media Matters for America - Latest Items Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:57 GMT  

After FCC Passes Net Neutrality, Fox Attacks New Rules As Government Power Grab That Will Slow Down The Internet

A Fox News Special Report segment attacked new rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure net neutrality, claiming the rules were done in secret and would slow down the Internet. But the FCC received millions of public comments in favor of net neutrality, and experts say the rules will ensure Internet fairness.

Today, the FCC passed "net neutrality" rules, which allows the agency to regulate Internet service as a utility and prohibits "Internet service providers from granting faster access to companies that pay for the privilege."

On the February 26 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier reported that "the FCC approved sweeping new rules that no member of the public has even seen." Correspondent Peter Doocy called the new regulations a government "power grab" that will result in consumers having slower Internet.

In fact, the public overwhelmingly supports new net neutrality regulations. During the public comment period, the FCC received a record 3.7 million comments on the topic of net neutrality. According to a report by the Sunlight Foundation, fewer than one percent of the first 800,000 public comments were opposed to net neutrality enforcement.

Furthermore, tech experts have called net neutrality the guiding principle that has made the Internet successful. Google's director of communications explained that the new net neutrality rules would promote competition and help the economy. And the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that "there is unlikely to be any negative impact from such regulation on [Internet Service Provider] investment." 

The Washington Post reported that new rules could make the Internet faster by "mak[ing] sure services such as Google Fiber can build new broadband pipes more easily."


Right Wing Watch Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:57 GMT  

Scott Walker Compares Union Protesters To ISIS

During a question and answer session at CPAC, Ned Ryun of American Majority asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker how he would take on ISIS if he were president.

Walker responded in a characteristically vague way, simply stating that he believes in protecting America’s freedom and “wants a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil.”

However, Walker boasted that he is fully capable of taking on the terrorist group since he pushed through anti-union legislation in his state in the face of massive protests: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”


http://blog.buzzflash.com/rss.xml Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:20:57 GMT  


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liberal adj.
  • Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
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  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
  • Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.




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