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Five Private Prison Corporations You’ve Never Heard Of Are Making Millions From Mass Incarceration (LINK)

Of the five, the two most well-known prison profiteers in the United States, Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group pulled in about $3.3 billion last year running scores of private prisons and immigration detention centers.



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High Living Leftist Billionaire Tells Americans Their Lifestyles Are Too… (LINK)

Billionaire Jeff Greene recently flew to Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum. While there, he proposed to lecture Americans back home about pursuing moderation and simplicity in their lifestyles.

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== gee did the Billionaires mean this below (GAAL)

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More homeless camps are appearing beyond downtown L.A.'s skid row (LINK)

Evicted four months ago from their Highland Park apartment, Louis Morales and his 18-year-old stepson, Arthur Valenzuela, live half-hidden by brush along the nearby Arroyo Seco riverbed.

Morales, 49, keeps a framed bible verse and a stuffed monkey in his tent. Water hauled by bike from a park heats up on the camp stove.

Next door, their friend Johnny Salazar fixes bikes and shattered computer screens on the cheap for people who live in the neighborhood. A brother and sister Morales has known for years live up the river, and three couples stay down by the bridge.

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Fired Before Hired: How Corporations Rigged The Job Market And Killed The American Dream (LINK)


The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke. The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too. The longer they stay there, the odds increase that America will take a permanent backseat in global power. In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people.

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VIDEO: GALLUP CEO FEARS HE MIGHT “SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR” FOR QUESTIONING U.S. JOBS DATA

By: Blacklistednews

Yesterday, Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, an iconic U.S. company dating back to 1935, told CNBC that he was worried he might “suddenly disappear” and not make it home that evening if he disputed the accuracy of what the U.S. government is reporting as unemployed Americans. The CNBC interview came one day after Clifton had penned a gutsy opinion piece on Gallup’s web site, defiantly calling the government’s 5.6 percent unemployment figure “The Big Lie” in the article’s headline. His appearance on CNBC was apparently to walk back the “lie” part of the title and reframe the jobs data as just hopelessly deceptive.

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By Robert Reich
Corporations Taking USA Back to the 19th Century

Now we seem to be heading back to nineteenth century. Corporations are shifting full-time work onto temps, free-lancers, and contract workers who fall outside the labor protections established decades ago. The nation's biggest corporations and Wall Street banks are larger and more potent than ever. And labor union membership has shrunk to fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers.
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  • wsws.org

The drive to dismantle pensions in the United States

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14 February 2015

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States and municipalities throughout the United States are engaged in a frontal assault on the pension benefits of current and retired public employees. These attacks are proceeding with complete disregard for the law, riding roughshod over state constitutional protections safeguarding pension benefits that employees have earned over decades of toil.

Earlier this month, Judge Christopher Klein signed a confirmation order allowing the city of Stockton, California to go ahead with its plan to slash workers’ retirement benefits as part of a deal to exit bankruptcy. The agreement will eliminate health care benefits for municipal retirees while cutting pension benefits for new-hires and increasing employee pension payments.

In ruling that bankruptcy courts have the authority to slash current retirees’ pensions, Klein could not hide his enthusiasm. He declared that CalPERS, the state’s public employee pension system, “has bullied its way about this case with an iron fist.” But, he gloated, the pension fund “turns out to have a glass jaw.”

In Illinois, where Circuit Judge John Belz last year struck down a 2013 law that cut pensions for state workers, state officials are once again on the war path. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, is preparing to appear before the Illinois Supreme Court to argue that, even though the state constitution explicitly declares that public employee pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired,” the state’s “police powers” allow it to slash the benefits of current retirees in the name of “public safety.”

The argument is based on an authoritarian and absurd reading of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which states “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Illinois Democrats are arguing that this amendment allows the state to gut constitutionally protected pension benefits without even going through a bankruptcy court.

If this claim is accepted by the Illinois Supreme Court, it will set a precedent for every state in the US to go after the pensions of public employees.

In Pennsylvania, the state legislature is debating a bill that would freeze pension benefits for current and future retirees and replace pensions for new-hires with 401(k)-style pension plans. In Jacksonville, Florida, the state is planning major cuts in pensions for future retirees.

These moves—and similar actions in other states and cities—have followed from the precedent set by the Detroit bankruptcy, which began in July of 2013 and was completed last November. They vindicate entirely the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

On July 20, 2013, two days after the city filed for bankruptcy, the WSWS wrote:

The attack on public employee pensions at the state and local level has been accompanied by a drive to dismantle what remains of pensions in the private sector. In December, Congress passed a law allowing multi-employer pension funds to slash benefit payments to current retirees, reversing decades of federal precedents dictating that the pensions of current retirees could not be cut.

The bankruptcy filing has national and international implications. Detroit will serve as a precedent for other cities across the country that have been financially crippled by the economic crisis. The use of the bankruptcy court to rip up pensions and health benefits will open the floodgates for similar attacks on millions of teachers, transit workers, sanitation workers and other municipal employees.

Just as Greece became the model for attacks on workers throughout Europe and beyond, the Detroit bankruptcy—which goes beyond even the brutal measures carried out in Greece—will set the pattern for the next stage in the attack on the working class in the US and internationally. At stake is every gain won by the working class through immense and often bloody struggle and sacrifice in the course of more than a century.

The assault on pensions is entirely bipartisan, with Democrats and Republicans equally ruthless in attacking the working class. It is being coordinated by the Obama administration, which played a critical role in the Detroit bankruptcy.

The drive to dismantle pensions is one component of the Obama administration’s attack on workers’ wages and benefits, which includes the dismantling of employer-provided health benefits under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act and a systematic assault on wages that was launched with the restructuring of the auto industry in 2009.

The constant refrain is the claim that there is “no money” to pay for pensions. This is a lie.

Even the Washington Post—which noted the “change in the social contract” as “employers, private employers as well as governments, increasingly view the mushrooming cost of pensions as unbearable”—felt obliged to point out that “the push to reduce retirement benefits is coming despite not just a long run of robust stock market returns, but also a real estate rebound that is projected to fuel strong city revenue growth.”

The spectacular rise in stock prices has been fueled by the handout of trillions of dollars to the banks, which have been provided with an endless stream of virtually free money. At the same time, hundreds of billions have been made available to fund military operations around the world in the American ruling class’ relentless and reckless pursuit of global hegemony. This is to be paid for through a historic reversal in the social position of the working class.

As far as the ruling class is concerned, young people should have no future, workers should live on poverty wages, the unemployed should be left to starve, and the elderly should be pushed into an early grave.

What is most extraordinary is the absence of organized resistance. Here, the trade unions, which long ago transformed themselves into business enterprises, have played a critical role. At every step, they have collaborated with the Democrats and Republicans in undermining and attacking pensions. The Teamsters, for example, gave their full support to the federal law allowing pension funds to slash benefits. A host of unions in Illinois are supporting the Democrats’ suit to slash pension benefits. The unions played the critical role in suppressing opposition to the Detroit bankruptcy.

These right-wing organizations and the corrupt executives who control them are concerned only with protecting their financial interests as pension fund administrators. They are more than willing to slash the benefits of union members to keep the funds afloat.

Social tensions are building to the breaking point. The strike by US oil workers, despite the efforts of the United Steelworkers union to isolate and betray it, points to the growing militancy and combativeness of American workers, who have had it with decades of cuts in jobs, wages and benefits. To take forward this and the many other struggles to come, workers must be armed with a new political strategy, based on their independence from the pro-corporate trade unions, a break with the Democrats and the two-party system of American capitalism, and a socialist program of reorganizing society to meet social need, not private profit.

Andre Damon

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Census: 30% Of Millennials Still Living With Parents (LINK)

30.3 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds are living with a parent, according to data from the Census Bureau. -- The data comes from a Census release called "Young Adults: Then and Now," which "illustrates characteristics of the young adult population (age 18-34) across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey."

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Is Washington Fabricating the Economic Data? (LINK)

Is this a trick question?

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  • 2 weeks later...
It’s Called Recovery, but Where’s the Beef?

By Robert Higgs

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Many economists and other analysts have recognized that the recovery from the U.S. economy’s most recent contraction has been unusually weak—weaker, for example, than any other since World War II. But analysts have disagreed in characterizing the current recovery, which according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the semi-official arbiter of business-cycle chronology, began in mid-2009 after a contraction that had continued for ten quarters. Some aspects of the economy, such as real GDP and consumer spending, have recovered their pre-recession highs and continued to increase. The rate of unemployment has fallen by several percentage points from its high of more than 10 percent. Net private business investment, which took an especially steep tumble during the contraction, has regained much of its loss.

Some of the most-cited indexes of recovery, however, are ambiguous, at best. The rate of unemployment, for example, has fallen in large part because millions of potential workers have left the labor force. The employment/population ratio, which fell by about 5 percentage points during the contraction, has barely budged from its new, much lower plateau. A growing GDP, despite its near-universal acceptance as the best measure of economic growth, actually tells us little about changes in the public’s well-being. Some components of GDP, especially some of the elements that pertain to government spending, actually should be deducted from, rather than added to, the domestic product, inasmuch as the related government activities—military aggression abroad, domestic spying on the entire population, enforcement of counter-productive and even destructive regulations, prosecution and incarceration of people whose “crimes” have no victims—harm the public, rather than improving their welfare.

Arguably the best single, currently available measure of the entire public’s payoff from economic activity is real disposable income per capita. This is the average amount per annum that Americans receive in exchange for the use of their labor and other input services, after taxes, corrected for changes in the purchasing power of the dollar. As the chart below shows, this measure of economic well-being has scarcely increased at all since 2007.

Real Disposable Personal Income per Capita (chained 2009 dollars)

fredgraph31-630x418.png

To give greater precision to one’s visual impressions, I have computed the average compound rate of growth of the variable in the succeeding stages of faster or slower growth visible in the chart. The results are as follows:

Period Average annual percentage rate of growth 1949–1961 2.2% 1961–1973 3.7% 1973–1983 1.3% 1983–1996 2.1% 1996–2007 2.4% 2007–2014 0.6%

These figures demonstrate that even though the rate of increase has varied substantially in the past, it has never remained so low as it has been in recent years. Even during the decade of so-called stagflation from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, real disposable income per capita grew more than twice as fast as it has grown in the past seven years. In the past, recessions were always followed by relatively brisk growth during the first several years of the ensuing recovery. Such has not been the case this time. Nor do forecasters anticipate any such surge of growth in the future. Might it be that the state’s burdens loaded onto the private producers of wealth—taxes, regulations, uncertainties, intrusions of all sorts, including demands for elaborate reports, asset seizures, and threats of felony prosecution for completely innocent and harmless actions—have finally become the “last straw” for these long-suffering camels?

However that may be, the current situation is clear enough. The U.S. economy, though not yet completely stagnant, has made little headway for more than seven years, and there is little reason to foresee any great change in this regard. Although some indexes of economic performance have recovered substantially since mid-2009, others have done so much less or not at all. And, without a doubt, the alleged recovery process has failed to deliver the “beef” that means the most to the people: substantial growth of real disposable personal income per capita.

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Stop Whining America! Economists “Show” You’re The Happiest In 56 Years (LINK)

Under-employed? Over-indebted? Under-paid? Forget about it… the clever economists that run the world have news for you. Based on economist Arthur Okun’s “Misery Index” – which combines inflation and unemployment rates – Americans are the least miserable since 1959…

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