Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that makes a lot of sense to me:

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Fake Recovery

image labor force participation september 2018

See that chart above?  It’s not a pretty picture.

It’s the CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE that shows in one easy-to-understand graph the PERCENTAGE OF AMERICAN adults that are working.

Remember the JOBLESS RECOVERY they pushed on us five years ago? What the heck is THAT supposed to be?

Today we may as well call it a fake recovery, because there still is no recovery, yet it’s all over the news that the economy has NEVER BEEN BETTER.

It’s more of the SAME FICTION I’ve been reading and reporting about for years - PROPAGANDA AMERICAN STYLE.

Check out some of the headlines.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:

“Great financial numbers being announced on an almost daily basis. Economy has never been better, jobs at best point in history.”

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:

“The August jobs report shows continued, strong job growth with 201,000 jobs created and an unemployment rate holding at 3.9%.  More than 4 million jobs have been created since November 2016.  Since 1970, the unemployment rate has registered below 4% just nine times; four of those months have been recorded during 2018.

“It is remarkable to see steady positive news regarding job growth month after month.”

REUTERS:

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin economic growth.

WALL STREET JOURNAL:

Now, recruiters say, the tightest job market in decades has left employers looking to tamp down hiring costs with three options: Offer more money upfront, LOWER THEIR STANDARDS or retrain current staff in coding, procurement or other necessary skills.

Let’s look at some more charts BEFORE WE BELIEVE the DOL and Reuters news reports.

LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT is still over 20% of the total unemployed - that’s almost one in four unemployed that’s jobless over 27 weeks.  (Soon after that they STOP LOOKING, AREN’T COUNTED as unemployed anymore, and move into the NOT IN THE LABOR FORCE category)

image: BLS table a-12 September 2018

The LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT rate is easy to calculate because the BLS breaks down the statistics each month in the EMPLOYMENT SITUATION SUMMARY. The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more is in TABLE A-12. It also calculates the percentage they make up of the total unemployed. This table gives you the data for the previous three months, seasonally adjusted. It also allows you to compare the last two months and year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted.
- Failure, March 15, 2018

How many are out of work (and counted as not in the labor force) that want a job?

More than 20 years ago:

image: bls chart people that want full time job

IF JOBS WERE SO PLENTIFUL - long-term unemployment wouldn’t even be a vocabulary word, never mind over 20%, and employers would be banging on our doors begging us to work for them.

We need over 200k new jobs per month to keep up with POPULATION GROWTH. And DECENT jobs to be reasonably happy.

image: gig economy

I didn’t even touch on the GIG ECONOMY that’s turning us all into SERFS - on track to be near HALF OUR WORKFORCE in a few years.

As usual - the complete story isn’t what THE NEWS is telling us.

image: no longer counted as unemployed

More Jobs Fictions

By Paul Craig Roberts
September 7, 2018

According to today’s payroll jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 200,000 new jobs in August. These jobs, assuming that they exist, are reported to be in low paid domestic service jobs such as transporting and selling goods, ambulatory health care services, and waiting tables and mixing drinks. There are none in manufacturing or in the “high tech” clean fingernail jobs that neoliberal economists promised the American work force in exchange for letting the industrial and manufacturing jobs go to Asia.

The great mystery is how these jobs can possibly have been created when the Bureau of Labor Statistics HOUSEHOLD DATA (TABLE A) reports that the civilian labor force declined by 469,000 in August from the level in the previous month (July); that employment declined by 423,000 in August from the previous month; and that 692,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in August. Year over year (August 2017-August 2018) 1,531,000 Americans have left the labor force. This is inconsistent with a booming economy at full employment.

It is not explained how during August the Household Survey found unemployment to rise by 423,000 and the work force to shrink by 692,000 for a total of 1,115,000 missing working people, but the economy created 200,000 new payroll jobs.

According to the financial presstitutes, we have a booming economy and labor shortages stemming from a 3.9% unemployment rate, which if it were real would probably be the lowest in my lifetime. Economists are puzzled why there is no upward pressure on wages when there are not enough workers to go around. All of this mystery is due to the fact that the unemployment rate does NOT COUNT workers who CANNOT FIND JOBS and have dropped out of the work force. If an unemployed person has not looked for a job in the past four weeks, the unemployed person is NOT COUNTED as unemployed.

The EMPLOYMENT SITUATION SUMMARY states that there are 4.4 million workers who are involuntary part-time workers because they cannot find full time jobs. So we have a booming economy in which there are more workers than full time jobs!

The Employment Situation Summary also says that there are 1.4 million workers who are not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

The financial presstitutes are not doing their job. All the financial presstitutes do is to print the headline on the press release that is handed to them - 200,000 new jobs in August.

Consequently, considering all the contradictions in the BLS data and the inaccurate measure of unemployment, we really have no idea of the STATE OF THE ECONOMY.

SOURCE

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Labor has lost much in past four decades: Fed threatens recent gains

By Mark Weisbrot
Tribune News Service
September 8, 2018

The vast majority of Americans who need to work for a living still have a long way to go before they recover what they have lost over the past four decades.

The real inflation-adjusted median wage is only about 10 percent above what it was in 1979.

As economist Dean Baker has noted, we can also see part of this transformation of the United States into a more shamefully unequal society if we look at the distribution of national income between profits and labor.

If not for this redistribution from wages to profits from 2000-2016, the average worker today would have an additional $4,000 per year in annual income.

This historic redistribution of income and wealth was the result of choices made by our political leaders and decision-makers. Among them:

They chose to maintain higher levels of unemployment and interest rates than necessary.

They subjected workers to increasingly harsh international competition while protecting highly paid professionals and CEOs.

They increased protectionism for patent holders, including pharmaceutical companies who charge tens of thousands of dollars for cancer drugs that would sell for a small fraction of these prices in competitive markets.

They changed labor law so that unions bargaining power would be reduced to levels not seen for most of the 20th century.

The Trump administration claims that workers’ long night is over, as evidenced by the current headline unemployment rate of 3.9 percent; and that it is responsible for the historically low unemployment.

But this reduction in unemployment is the continuation of an economic recovery that began under the Obama administration, and is overwhelming the result of policy decisions by the Federal Reserve, not the president or Congress.

Beginning in December 2008, the Fed kept short-term interest rates near zero for seven years and also created trillions of dollars during much of this period to push down long-term rates.

The Fed is the main determinant of the rate of unemployment; but what the Fed giveth, the Fed taketh way. The Fed began to reverse these policies in 2015; it has raised rates twice this year and is expected to raise them two more times before the year is over.

The Fed has had no valid reason for these interest rate hikes. The Fed targets an inflation rate of 2 percent, but its preferred measure of inflation is still at 1.9 percent. And inflation has been below target for almost all of the past 9 years.

Most Americans dont know this, but when the Fed raises interest rates it is intentionally slowing the rate of job creation, in order make unemployment higher than it would otherwise be; and thereby putting downward pressure on wages.

Since World War II, the Fed has caused all of the recessions in the US except for the last two, which were caused by the bursting of the stock market bubble in 2000 and then the housing bubble in 2007.

Most immediately, the Fed threatens to reverse much of the gains in employment that we have made in the current economic expansion, even though real wages did not even grow over the past year.

For the longer term, Trump and his congressional allies have moved to continue the march towards greater inequality: for example with the tax give-away to corporations and the rich and Trump’s selection of anti-labor and right-wing judges for the federal courts, increasing inequality in education, and other policies.

Reversing labors losses over the past four decades will therefore require blocking the Fed from increasing unemployment - or worse, tipping the economy into recession and then undoing some of the structural changes that have created such obscene levels of inequality.

SOURCE

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Trump’s Fake Boom: Growing Despair Amidst Insecure Economic Recovery

By David Rosen
Counterpunch
August 31, 2018

It’s now almost a decade since the last fiscal crisis, launching what was dubbed the “Great Recession.” It wreaked havoc on the U.S. banking system and the housing market, leaving millions of Americans is desperate free-fall.  While many conventional economic indicators suggest that the economy has rebounded, a significant portion of the American public feel stuck, their futures looking bleak.

On August 6th, Pres. Trump tweeted, “Great financial numbers being announced on an almost daily basis. Economy has never been better, jobs at best point in history.” So, with such good news, why do an increasing number of Americans feel un-well?

Two recent studies point to the deepening despair shared by many Americans and unacknowledged by Trump and the mainstream media. The Federal Reserve study, REPORT IN THE ECONOMIC WELL_BEING OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS IN 2017 [LOCAL COPY] and the GALLUP-SHARECARE WELL-BEING INDEX - detail this despair in complementary ways.  Taken together, they paint a disturbing picture of the suffering being endured by Americans, especially the nations most vulnerable.

While Trump seeks to dismiss all challenges to his empty bluster as “fake news,” there is a growing perception among Americans that the once proudly proclaimed “American Dream is over.” This perception is shared by critics of capitalism and some mainstream pundits as well as (incoherently) by those who back Trump and his call to “make America great again” - with its emphasis on “again,” a wish for what was once but nevermore.

The Federal Reserve report champions the slow economic recovery that’s marked the decade following the Great Recession. It notes that “fewer people are finding it difficult to get by, or just getting by, then was the case five years ago.  This decline in financial hardship is consistent with the decline in the national unemployment rate over this period.”

However, it warns - two in five Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, and one in four don’t feel they are “at least doing OK financially.” It adds, more than one in five said they weren’t able to pay the current months bills in full, and more than one in four said they skipped necessary medical care last year because they couldn’t afford it.  These are signs of the decline in well-being.

The Gallup-Sharecare study was initiated in 2008 to gauge the overall well-being of adult Americans.  It’s a comprehensive poll involving interviews with more than 160,000 adults from all 50 states.  Its most recent 2017 survey found that between 2016 and 2017, the overall well-being score dropped 0.6 points, to 61.5 from 62.1.  As Gallup declares, “this decline is both statistically significant and meaningfully large.”

The Gallup-Sharecare study identifies a range of factors that make up its well-being metrics, including: experiencing significant worry, little interest or pleasure in doing things, clinical diagnoses of depression, daily physical pain, a decline in having someone who encourages you to be healthy and dissatisfaction with ones standard of living (compared to peers). Other symptoms of decline in well-being include unmanageable debt as well as increased obesity, drug addiction (e.g., opioids) and alcoholism.

Both the Fed and Gallup-Sharecare studies identify those suffering the greatest loss of well-being. The Gallup-Sharecare study notes: “Women have had a substantial 1.1-point drop in their Well-Being Index score, while the score for men is unchanged.”

The Fed adds: “Across the four major racial and ethnic groups, well-being has dropped the most among blacks and Hispanics, although it has also come down to a lesser degree among whites and Asians.” And it warns: “Americans living in lower-income households saw a significant drop in well-being, while their higher-income counterparts saw a smaller decrease, no change or a slight increase.”

The Fed furthers this perception, arguing, “The overall positive trend in self-reported well-being masks some notable differences across groups.” Adding, “More education is associated with greater economic well-being; however, at each education level, blacks and Hispanics are worse off than whites.”

Most revealing, the Fed finds that whites with only a high school degree are more likely to report doing okay financially than blacks or Hispanics with some college education or an associate degree. It concludes, “this pattern, combined with the fact that blacks and Hispanics typically have completed less education, results in substantially lower overall economic well-being for black and Hispanic adults.”

Gallup-Sharecare report makes sadly clear that many of those experiencing the decline in their sense of well-being are supporters of Trump and the Republicans.  Some 21 states witnessed significant declines in their relative well-being, including many Ӕred states strongly supportive of Trump.  Among those suffering the largest declines in the ostensible well-being are Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia; West Virginia had the lowest level of well-being.

Not asked by either the Fed or Gallup-Sharecare studies was what are the consequences of the loss of well-being?  In particular, whether the decline in well-being breads rage, a deeply-personal sense of revenge toward those who ostensibly ended their American Dream?

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/10/18 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Boom Bust

image: dying america

This Story Is A Perfect Example Of The Economic Despair That Most American Families Are Enduring In This “Booming Economy”

By Michael Snyder
The Economic Collapse Blog
September 9, 2018

The middle class in America is being systematically eviscerated right in front of our eyes.  I don’t normally do this, but today I want to share with you an email that was recently sent to me by a reader.  I asked for permission to share her story with all of you, because I think that it will be encouraging for a lot of people out there to understand that they aren’t alone.  In this supposedly booming economy, millions upon millions of American families are barely making it from month to month even though they are working as hard as they possibly can.  But because the mainstream media has been endlessly touting good economic news for the last several years, many of those that are struggling end up believing that something must be wrong with them since they aren’t participating in all of the prosperity.  But of course the truth is that almost all of the economic rewards have been going to the very top of the economic pyramid.  Meanwhile, the middle class CONTINUES TO SHRINK and more families fall into poverty with each passing month.

As you read the email that I am about to share with you, there are several things that I want you to notice.

#1 These people ARE NOT LAZY.  The husband has a good job for the area in which they live, and the wife is working very hard to bring in some online income as she takes care of the kids.  So neither of them would be considered to be unemployed.

#2 They are also very frugal.  They have cut expenses as far as they can, and they are still not able to make ends meet.

#3 They are being crushed by MEDICAL BILLS.  Our HEALTHCARE SYSTEM is a completely and total nightmare, and there are no solutions in sight.  Thanks to the Democrats, soaring health insurance premiums are absolutely crushing middle class families.  And the Republicans have had almost two years to try to fix things, and they have completely failed to get anything done.  Shame on all of them.

#4 Almost everyone that they know is on government assistance, and so far they have resisted the urge to follow suit.  Right now, more than 100 million Americans receive assistance from the government every month, and we are rapidly being transformed into a full-blown socialist nation.

I could say so much more, but let me get right to the email.  This story really touched my heart, and I know that it will touch your heart as well

I and my husband have been reading your blog for five or six years now. So many of your articles sound just like us, and I just wanted to share our situation and perspective as conservative Christians who were actually taught Biblical handling of money. Hopefully it will help you with your writing!

Unlike most millennials, we came into marriage with no debt and a decent savings. We have always lived on a strict budget that usually doesn’t include clothing or eating out; most of the time it doesn’t even include saving! We have never used credit cards. I am very frugal, shopping by what’s on sale, buying in bulk, cooking from scratch, and often doing without. We eat beans more than anything else. We own one vehicle, and half the time have to borrow a car from family because ours breaks down and we don’t have the money to fix it.

WE WORK HARD. My husband works for the county more than full time, and makes quite a bit more than most jobs in our area (minimum wage is 8.25 here), but a third of his check goes straight to taxes. I worked outside the home before we had children, and now have a blog and an online business that make a few hundred a month on average. We also work hard growing a large garden and keeping a few animals for food.

Unfortunately we just can’t make ends meet. We’ve used up all of our savings and haven’t been able to replace it. Family members are giving us $500-$1000 every month. We’ve both been in the hospital a few times for injury and illness, and each time costs thousands of dollars. We spent our tax return this year on medical bills, and still owe thousands to the local hospital.

We see what is going on in this country, and around the world, and we want to be prepared, but instead of getting ahead we just get more and more behind. We’ve already sold everything that was worth anything.

After taxes, the biggest expense that is killing us is insurance. All the types of insurance that are mandatory or just seem like a necessity now health insurance, car insurance, insurance for our mobile home and rental property (required by our landlord), life insurance that is necessary with my husband’s job.

Medical bills are next on the list - WHO CAN AFFORD TO GO TO A DOCTOR NOWADAYS, even with insurance? We do everything possible to avoid doctor visits, even having our last child at home without a midwife even though I am considered high risk. Sometimes emergencies happen though, and going to the doctor just isn’t avoidable.

Pretty much all of our friends and co-workers are getting government help every month. Honestly wed be a lot better off if we did to, but we don’t want to. Its not the government’’s job to take care of everybody.

But really, what are we supposed to do? Is there anything we can do to fix the mess our economy is in? Is there anything people like us can do to get out of this situation, or is it just a hopeless downward spiral that’s going to get worse and worse till we are living under a bridge?

I wrote her back and tried to encourage her.  No matter how bad things seem to be in life, there is always a way to turn things around if you just keep on fighting.

And things could turn around for America too, but we would have to be willing to fundamentally change our ways, and at this moment there are no indications that this will happen any time soon.

I get accused of being all about doom and gloom, but in my latest book I set forth a detailed prescription for what we need to do to turn things around.  And I ran for Congress on a platform of positive solutions, but that message didn’t resonate enough with the voters.

Inexplicably, most Americans seem to like the status quo even though the system is literally coming apart at the seams all around us.

What we have been doing as a nation does not work, it is not sustainable, and it has become exceedingly clear that a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching.  At this point it is so obvious that even the mainstream media is starting to warn of imminent economic disaster.

For years, many of us have been warning what would happen if we did not change our ways, and we have been trying to offer alternative solutions, but most Americans continue to embrace the current system and believe that it will be able to survive despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

In the end, it is probably going to take a complete and utter collapse of the CURRENT SYSTEM before most people will wake up, and that is something that nobody will enjoy.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/10/18 •
Section Dying America
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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Bad Moon Rising Part 72 - Made In China 2025

image: china flag

Beijing must prepare counterattack for Washington’s effort to restrain high-tech development

By Hu Weijia
Global Times
September 6, 2018

Washington’s trade dispute with Beijing doesn’t seem to have helped the US stave off its chronic illness of running a trade deficit - at least not yet. The US trade deficit rose to a five-month high in July as exports sank 1 percent from June to $211.08 billion.

As for China, its July exports rose 12.2 percent year-on-year despite fresh US tariffs. China’s economy seems to show more resilience than that of the US amid escalating trade friction. Why? China’s industrial competitiveness may be one reason. In the short term, US consumers can hardly find alternative products to those made in China, so the impact of US tariffs was less than expected.

In the first round of Sino-US trade friction, China’s strategy has been proved to be effective. On the one hand, China hit back against the US’ unilateral moves with tit-for-tat tariffs on a long list of US products; on the other hand, China improved its defensive posture by reinforcing its manufacturing sector, which is the backbone of the economy.

The government is working to make China’s business environment more appealing to manufacturers and looking at fiscal policies that support upgrading its manufacturing sector. China’s huge trade surplus is primarily based on mechanical and electrical products. As long as its manufacturing sector remains competitive, China’s exports won’t tumble. The country is able to handle the pressure of trade tensions if it sticks to its established strategies.

It’s possible that the trade dispute will become a long-lasting conflict. In the second round of trade tensions, China is likely to focus more on manufacturing transformation.

China’s economy is in a critical period in terms of restructuring. Amid escalating trade friction, China has no choice but to pursue a path of independent innovation and overcome the challenges it faces in manufacturing transformation. US protectionist measures won’t hurt China, but will serve as an external catalyst for China’s industrial upgrading that will make the country a manufacturing superpower.

In August, South China’s Guangdong Province released a plan aiming to realize 150 billion yuan ($21.8 billion) worth of investments annually in strategic and emerging industries during the 2018-20 period. China has to be prepared to counterattack US efforts to restrain the rise of China’s high-technology industries.

SOURCE

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How “Made in China 2025” became the real threat in a trade war

By Jessica Meyers
LA Times
April 24, 2018

China unveiled its plan to dominate the world’s most crucial technologies with little international fanfare, another vague, guiding principle in the labyrinth of Communist Party bureaucracy.

Three years later, it’s at the core of a trade dispute with Washington that threatens to upend the global economy.

Made in China 2025 is a blueprint for transforming the country from a labor-intensive economy that makes toys and clothes into one that engineers advanced products like robots and electric cars. The Trump administration views it as an attempt to steal U.S. technology and control cutting-edge industries.

Officials aimed to temper the initiative this month when they announced potential tariffs on $50 billion in goods. But Chinese leaders consider the plan key to the country’s development and refuse to alter its course.

“China is trying to achieve a clear goal and America wants to stop it,” said Andrew Polk, co-founder of Trivium/China, a Beijing research firm. “And that’s where the competition is.”

Here’s what China 2025 is all about and what it means for the trade war:

What’s the objective?

The plan funnels billions into 10 industries, everything from biopharmaceuticals to aerospace and telecom devices. It calls for 70% of related materials and parts to be made domestically within a decade. A separate documentdetails China’s strategy to lead in artificial intelligence by 2030.

Officials modeled Made in China after a German initiative called Industrie 4.0, which envisions greater automation in manufacturing and “intelligent factories” that operate with wireless sensors. They didn’t have much choice. The world’s biggest population is aging and rising wages are sending low-tech factories to other countries.

“The labor supply is decreasing,” said Ashley Qian Wan, China economist for Bloomberg Economics in Beijing. “And that’s going to be a big problem for China.”

Why does China care about this so much?

When President Kennedy vowed in 1961 to send a man to the moon, more than 30 million people in China had just starved to death. People’s Republic founder Mao Tse-tung closed universities for a decade while researchers invented the Internet in Silicon Valley. China sees itself as simply trying to catch up.

The country developed its first bullet train last year, a 248 mph vehicle named Fuxing, or rejuvenation. Engineers also built the country’s first homegrown jetliner, an initial step toward filling Beijing’s crowded airport with planes from China rather than America’s Boeing or Europe’s Airbus.

Officials portray the initiative as transparent and open to foreign companies. They dispel notions that it will monopolize domestic markets. America’s dismissal of the plan reinforces a party narrative that the U.S. seeks to undermine China’s resurgence.

“We have good reasons to question the legality and legitimacy of many actions taken by the U.S. on the grounds of national security, like its plan to impose high tariffs on many industries of Made in China 2025,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters this month. “Clearly, they are targeting something else.”

Why is the U.S. concerned about it?

The Trump administration frets about the way China aims to achieve its 2025 ambitions. American businesses have long complained about the sacrifices they make to operate in the world’s largest market, including requirements to partner with domestic companies and hand over trade secrets.

Officials fear these techniques will make it impossible for U.S. companies to compete in the world’s most critical fields. They also worry massive Chinese government subsidies will lead to a global glut of products that push down prices and hurt U.S. businesses.

“There are things China listed and said, ‘We’re going to take technology, spend several hundred billion dollars, and dominate the world,’” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told senators at a March hearing. “And these are things that if China dominates the world, it’s bad for America.”

A lengthy U.S. report on China’s intellectual property theft which led to the most recent potential tariffs 0 mentioned the plan more than 100 times. Officials are exploring multiple ways to restrict Chinese investment in key industries. The administration recently banned ZTE, China’s second-largest maker of telecom equipment, from buying American technology.

“Consensus is growing in Washington that the U.S. is in a race with China for technical leadership,” Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Beijing research firm Gavekal Dragonomics, said he recently told clients. And some think “economic cold war is the answer.”

Is the Trump administration right?

President Xi Jinping recently told a room full of global investors that China would further open its economy. Officials last week said they would phase out rules that require car manufacturers like General Motors to find a local partner before opening factories in China. They plan to end foreign ownership requirements on electric vehicle makers this year.

This wouldn’t mark the first time authorities vowed to shed their protectionist shield. The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China complained last year that foreign businesses were suffering from “promise fatigue.”

The problem is China’s high-tech ambitions include “plans to use instruments such as subsidized credit and market access restrictions,” said David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former U.S. Treasury official in China. “It makes sense for the U.S. to oppose this practice.”

But Chinese officials see an irony in efforts that try to maintain America’s chokehold on innovation. Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, likened the U.S. to a “bully only it can have high tech and others cannot.”

Neither side looks willing to bend. Recent talks to de-escalate the trade dispute reportedly collapsed over the 2025 plan.

“China views the overall system as inherently unfair because it was created by the current dominant power,” Trivium’s Polk said. “America should stop complaining and start designing its own industrial policy to counter China.”

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/09/18 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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Friday, September 07, 2018

45 Thousand Die Yearly from Lack Of Health Insurance

image: uninsured

New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage
Uninsured, working-age Americans have 40 percent higher death risk than privately insured counterparts

By David Cecere
Harvard University
September 6, 2018

Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.

The study, conducted at HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL and CAMBRIDGE HEALTH ALLIANCE, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.

"The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health,” said lead author ANDREW WILPER, M.D., who currently teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine. We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease - but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.

The study, which analyzed data from national surveys carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assessed death rates after taking into account education, income, and many other factors, including smoking, drinking, and obesity. It estimated that lack of health insurance causes 44,789 excess deaths annually.

Previous estimates from the IOM and others had put that figure near 18,000. The methods used in the current study were similar to those employed by the IOM in 2002, which in turn were based on a pioneering 1993 study of health insurance and mortality.

Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease. An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths, as the uninsured are more likely to go without needed care. Another factor contributing to the widening gap in the risk of death between those who have insurance and those who do not is the improved quality of care for those who can get it.

The researchers analyzed U.S. adults under age 65 who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) between 1986 and 1994. Respondents first answered detailed questions about their socioeconomic status and health and were then examined by physicians. The CDC tracked study participants to see who died by 2000.

The study found a 40 percent increased risk of death among the uninsured. As expected, death rates were also higher for males (37 percent increase), current or former smokers (102 percent and 42 percent increases), people who said that their health was fair or poor (126 percent increase), and those who examining physicians said were in fair or poor health (222 percent increase).

Steffie Woolhandler, study co-author, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, noted: “Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance. Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives.”

The Institute of Medicine, using older studies, estimated that one American dies every 30 minutes from lack of health insurance,” remarked David Himmelstein, study co-author, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a primary care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance.

“ӓEven this grim figure is an underestimate now one dies every 12 minutes.”

Other authors include Karen E. Lasser, Danny McCormick, David H. Bor, and David U. Himmelstein. The study was supported by a National Service Research Award.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/07/18 •
Section Dying America
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