Monday, August 06, 2012

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Moira Herbst is the latest to comment on the connection between the lack of good jobs and an excess of corporate cash hoarding:
(I)t would be refreshing if the pundit-political class considered a radical but obvious idea: tapping the multitrillion-dollar stockpiles of corporate cash currently sitting on the sidelines and benefiting no one. Compulsive hoarding is unhealthy for individuals. It's even worse for whole economies.

The sorry facts are these: job growth is still half of what is needed to keep up with population growth. Meanwhile, more than 14% of the US workforce is unemployed, underemployed or discouraged from looking for work. The numbers for July aren't expected to budge much. Absent a massive inflow of tax dollars, jobs aren't going to come from the public sector. State and local governments are broke, and the fight over federal deficits has turned into an all-out war in Congress.
It turns out that US-based mega-corporations are hoarding cash. How much cash? Record sums. It's about $1.73tn in US assets, according to the Federal Reserve – 50% more than they held in 2007. When you count worldwide holdings of US companies, the figure is a staggering $5.1tn, estimates Reuters' David Cay Johnston. Apple alone has $117bn.

Banks are also stockpiling cash; they're sitting on more than $1.5tn in excess reserves in the US.

Not only are mega-companies not creating enough decent jobs with this cash, they continue to offshore work and underpay workers. Many are not even rewarding investors or accelerating their growth with the money, thereby causing harm to themselves, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young. Economists also say that cash hoarding is blocking a recovery in Europe.
- But sadly, Tom Tomorrow makes it clear that nothing can be done:

- It's actually somewhat of a pleasant surprise that at least as of last year, the Cons hadn't yet excised all references to renewable energy from internal briefing notes. But it's all the more shameful that they continue to push a short-term reliance on high-speed, low-safety oil extraction when they can't plead ignorance as an excuse for their neglect.

- And lest there be any doubt, Alberta's drinking water sources and B.C.'s coast aren't the only sensitive areas due for a coating of petrochemical sludge if the Cons get their way.

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