Lees and Orts

Moyers & Winship have an item up over at Truth Out that perfectly sums up why I won’t be viewing the presidential debates, even though I’ve watched them since the inaugural ’60 Kennedy-Nixon debate. 1 Indeed, I may never watch them again unless & until an outside organization reclaims then for the American public; if I wanted to watch gilded stump speeches disguised as intellectual honesty, I’d spend my time hanging out down at city hall, waiting for Mayor James to come out of his office and offer up some bullshit.

Lees and Orts

Also at Truth Out:

We’ll have to do something drastically different to employ people in the future. Our jobs are disappearing. The driverless vehicle is here, destined to eliminate millions of transport and taxi-driving positions. Car manufacturing is being done by 3-D printing. An entire building was erected in Dubai with a 3-D printer. Restaurants are being designed with no waitstaff or busboys, hotels with no desk clerks, bellhops, and porters. Robot teachers are interacting with students in Japan and the UK….

Most of our new jobs are in service industries, including retail and personal health care and food service. The only one of the eight fastest-growing occupations that pays over $33,000 per year is nursing — and even nursing may give way to Robotic Nurse Assistants. The evidence for downsized jobs keeps accumulating. A US Mayors study found that ‘recovery’ jobs pay 23 percent less than the positions they replaced. The National Employment Law Project estimates that low-wage jobs accounted for 22 percent of job losses but 44 percent of subsequent job gains. Business Insider, Huffington Post , and the Wall Street Journal all concur: the unemployment rate is remaining low because of low-paying jobs.

We’re fooling ourselves by believing in a future with satisfying middle-class jobs for millions of Americans. It’s becoming clear that income should be guaranteed, so that recipients have the wherewithal and incentive and confidence to find productive ways to serve society.

Credible research overwhelmingly supports the concept. A World Bank analysis of 19 studies found that cash transfers have been demonstrated to improve education and health outcomes and alleviate poverty…concerns about the use of cash transfers for alcohol and tobacco consumption are unfounded. An MIT/Harvard analysis of seven cash transfer trials found “no systematic evidence that cash transfer programs discourage work.” The Brooks World Poverty Institute found that money transfers to the poor are used primarily for basic needs. Basic Incomes have been shown to lead to reductions in crime and inequality and malnutrition and infant mortality.

One of the earliest experiments with guaranteed incomes was the “Mincome” (minimum income) program conducted in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba during the 1970s. The results were never made clear, partly because of a change to a more conservative government, which put the program’s records in storage, unevaluated. One study, however, found improved health outcomes for the recipients of the basic income payments.

In the U.S. , the Alaska Permanent Fund has thrived for 35 years, even with anti-socialist conservatives in power. Texas has long employed a “Permanent School Fund” to distribute funds from mineral rights to the public education system. Wyoming has used a similar “Mineral Trust Fund” to help eliminate state income taxes. Nebraska distributes low-cost electricity from a publicly owned utility. Oregon has used the proceeds from wind energy to return hundreds of dollars to households. Vermont has proposed “Common Assets Trust” to raise money from taxes on pollution and pay dividends to residents. A pilot basic income experiment is set to begin in Oakland.

Lees and Orts

So it turns out Bernie Sanders was right.

The long and short of it? The poor are poorer and deeper in debt, what’s left of the middle class has gained no traction, and —surprise, surprise, SURPRISE— the rich are getting richer: “The distribution [of wealth] among the nation’s families was more unequal in 2013 than it had been in 1989.”

The CBO notes that the average wealth of the richest families was $4 million, as opposed to $36,000 for those in the 26th to 50th percentiles – half of all American families.

Care to guess which group opposes basic income?

Lees and Orts

You knew it had to be something like this, right?

Lees and Orts

Twins born in Toyama aquarium’s female-only shark tank stump officials…

We expect the Phelps clan, the Family Research Council and Y’all Qaeda to immediately declare the event as yet another sign of The (eternally) Coming Apocalypse.

Lees and Orts

The Guardian’s documentary on guns – well worth the watch.

Lees and Orts

Oh fuck sweet baby Jebus on roller skates! OF COURSE we need to increase the defense budget!


Lees and Orts

Show 1 footnote

  1. “I know how to win,” Trump will undoubted respond to one of Clinton’s finely honed skewers. He will say it sneeringly, forgetting that he didn’t win in New Jersey when his casino {a casino (allegedly) backed by the Mob} failed. Miserably. “What are the odds?”, says the man not able to run a casino profitably.

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