Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrea Germanos follows up on the IMF's realization that handing free money and power to corporations does nothing for the economy as it affects people's lives. And Susie Cagle examines the role of tech money - like other massive accumulations of wealth - in exacerbating inequalities in both wealth and political influence.

- Jeffrey Sachs points out that Bernie Sanders' economic policy prescriptions are exactly what the U.S. in particular needs in order to offer a more secure life for the population as a whole:
The United States unleashed the power of CEOs to enrich themselves with mega-salaries, weakened trade unions and gave massive tax breaks to the super-rich. Sanders’s policies would go after all of these unconscionable moves, bringing the United States back into line with the rest of the high-income world. He would, in short, end the age of impunity in which the rich and the powerful get their way, while the rest suffer. Sanders’s policies include higher taxes on the rich, strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage, supporting families, providing free tuition at public universities and cracking down on financial crimes.

There is nothing magical or utopian about Sanders’s recommendations. He is advocating policies of decency long ago adopted by other prosperous high-income countries. Our own neighbor, Canada, is a case in point. Canada has lower-cost health care, a life expectancy two years higher than in the United States, much lower college tuition, far lower poverty rates and, not surprisingly, more happiness (ranking sixth in the world in life satisfaction, behind Scandinavia and well ahead of the United States, which is 12th). 

Mainstream economists long ago lost the melody line. Their models are oriented to the status quo and underemphasize the benefits of public investment. They take America’s bloated health-care costs as a given, not as the result of the influence of the U.S. private health lobby. They treat low growth as natural (“secular stagnation”) rather than as the result of chronic underinvestment. They have come to accept cruelly rising income inequality and rampant impunity for financial crimes. Sanders knows better, based on worldwide experience, an abiding sense of decency and a strong and accurate vision for a brighter economic future.
- Meanwhile, Robert Skidelsky discusses the futility of trying to boost a stalled economy solely through monetary policy when direct public spending figures to accomplish far more.

- Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder chart the connection between union organization and income equality.

- Finally, Elizabeth Thompson reports on the federal government's lack of a clue as to how many temporary foreign workers are actually in Canada. And it's particularly worth contrasting that lax attitude toward workers brought in at the behest of employers against the detention of immigration detainees.

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