|More than five years after the great recession hit, the US economy is still sputtering. The government revised GDP growth figures down last month to a meager 1.8% for the first quarter of this year. It doesn't take a PhD in economics to understand why: we have a demand problem. And we have a demand problem because the vast majority of consumers – aka workers – are not earning enough to pay for healthcare, education and retirement, let alone all the other stuff stores and service providers have to sell.
The reality is that we're hollowing out the middle class by wiping out well-paid jobs with benefits and replacing them with low-wage ones that often lack them. That's damaging not only to people who are living on smaller paychecks – or who are indeed unemployed – but also to the health and viability of the overall economy.
No matter what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and his followers say, we are not living in a "sharing economy". We are living in a zero-sum economy – in which a handful of investors and owners win at everyone else's expense.
But ultimately, it will catch up with investors, too. The US economy is engaged in a vicious cycle in which low-wage jobs and under-employment stimulate little demand, giving companies little reason to hire workers. Would-be workers then get discouraged and drop out of the workforce. They lack money to buy things, so consumer spending sags and companies don't hire or offer raises to workers they know they can keep. Repeat. [...]
Until we address the following 10 problems head-on, the idea that the economy is truly recovering will remain a fantasy:
Problem 1: wages are falling [...]
Problem 2: the middle class is losing ground and getting hollowed out [...]
Problem 3: McJobs are taking over [...]
Problem 4: capital is hammering labor [...]
Problem 5: unemployment is twice what they say [...]
Problem 6: America is going part-time – and not for fun [...]
Problem 7: workers aren't working [...]
Problem 8: union wages are harder to come by. Much [...]
Problem 9: the cost of college is skyrocketing [...]
Problem 10: inequality is getting worse [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—SB 1070 Largely Enjoined: The Opinion:
|Today, federal district court Judge Susan Bolton ruled on the United States Department of Justice's motion for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of Arizona's SB 1070, largely granting the injunction against the bill's most noxious elements.
As legal opinions go, the 36-page opinion is as lucid as they come for lay readers — don't be afraid. From the very beginning, the Court makes clear: (1) here's what wasn't challenged; (2) here's what parts of the statute were challenged where the challenge lacks merit; and (3) here's what I'm striking down. From there, the Court goes on to explain why certain provisions of the Arizona law are invalid as encroachments on the federal prerogative to regulate immigration.
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