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The Shocking Numbers that Reveal Just How Burnt Out American Workers Are

June 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Matt Saccaro, Salon

Productivity has exploded in the American workforce in recent years, but at a terrible cost.

The American worker is overworked, underpaid, and suffering from severe burnout.

This sentiment isn’t populist rhetoric, there are numbers to back it up. A new studyfrom Staples Advantage and WorkPlaceTrends — an HR-focused research firm — polled over 2,500 workers and reached troubling results. According to the data, 53 percent of American workers report feeling burned out at work.

With current working conditions, it’s easy to see why. A 2012 study concluded smartphones and tablets enable employers to further colonize a worker’s time to the tune of two extra hours a day since they can be reached at all hours. In 2014, Gallup estimated the typical American workweek was 47 hours, not 40; the American worker was toiling for almost a full extra day. Of the workers this recent study polled, more than half worked a day longer than eight hours.

“This isn’t the workplace of 10 years ago,” Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkPlaceTrends, co-author of the study, and author of the New York Times bestselling book Promote Yourself, told Salon. “There’s a lot of pressure. And it’s competitive in the sense that anyone in the world could take your job for less money, so you have to work harder.”

And work harder Americans have. Some work so hard it kills them, like a Bank of America intern who passed away after working 72 hours straight. Because of this occupational devotion (or occupational desperation), productivity has exploded by over 400 percent since 1950.Yet wages haven’t budged — at least not for most Americans. The richest 1 percent, however, have seen their average income surge by over 240 percent.

Yet, bizarrely, the study reports a vast majority of workers at 86 percent still claim to feel happy and motivated.

“My thought is that workers have accepted the new reality of the workplace,” Schawbel said. “A lot of them are just happy to have a job in general…Many workers are just trying to keep their job, and then excel at their job, …read more


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Robert Reich: Economic Apartheid in America

June 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

Despite social advances, racial segregation exists on a much larger geographic scale than ever before.

Almost lost by the wave of responses to the Supreme Court’s decisions last week upholding the Affordable Care Act and allowing gays and lesbians to marry was the significance of the Court’s third decision – on housing discrimination. 

In a 5-4 ruling, the Court found that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires plaintiffs to show only that the effect of a policy is discriminatory, not that defendants intended to discriminate.

The decision is important in the fight against economic apartheid in America – racial segregation on a much larger geographic scale than ever before. 

The decision is likely to affect everything from bank lending practices whose effect is to harm low-income non-white borrowers, to zoning laws that favor higher-income white homebuyers.

First, some background. Americans are segregating ever more by income in terms of where we live. 

Thirty years ago most cities contained a broad spectrum of residents from wealthy to poor. Today, entire cities are mostly rich (San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle) or mostly impoverished (Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia).

Because a disproportionate number of the nation’s poor are black or Latino, we’re experiencing far more segregation geographically. 

Which is why, for example, black students are more isolated today than they were 40 years ago. More than 2 million black students now attend schools where 90 percent of the student body is minority.

According to a new study by Stanford researchers, even many middle-income black families remain in poor neighborhoods with low-quality schools, fewer parks and playgrounds, more crime, and inadequate public transportation. Blacks and Hispanics typically need higher incomes than whites in order to live in affluent neighborhoods.

To some extent, this is a matter of choice. Many people prefer to live among others who resemble them racially and ethnically.

But some of this is due to housing discrimination. For example, a 2013 study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that realtors often show black families fewer properties than white families possessing about the same income and wealth.

The income gap between poor minority and middle-class white communities continues to …read more


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Paul Krugman: What Happens When the West Imposes Endless Crippling Austerity on a Country

June 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Greece's debt trap is inescapable and its exit from the euro will hurt the whole world economy.

Paul Krugman has long been sounding the alarm about the relentless imposition of economy-hobbling austerity measures on Greece. Now, the worst-case scenario he has warned about seems to be coming to pass, with Greek banks closing and panic spreading. Will anyone learn the right lesson? Doubtful.

He opens his Monday column with this strong statement: “It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency — above all, the kind of fiscal and banking union that, for example, ensures that when a housing bubble in Florida bursts, Washington automatically protects seniors against any threat to their medical care or their bank deposits.”

But worse than not creating a centralized currency is when a country has to exit it. And that is the decision that is facing beleaguered Greek voters. ”Next week the country will hold a referendum on whether to accept the demands of the 'troika',” Krugman writes, “the institutions representing creditor interests — for yet more austerity.”

He takes the stance that Greece should vote 'no' and leave the euro. Because they have no choice. Further austerity will ruin them.

Yes, Krugman allows, the Greeks did need to cut back their overspending in the 2000s, but they have done that repeatedly and dutifully raised taxes. The problem is they cut so much spending that their economy simply collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Krugman then connects this with the euro, and why it is unworkable.

And this collapse, in turn, had a lot to do with the euro, which trapped Greece in an economic straitjacket. Cases of successful austerity, in which countries rein in deficits without bringing on a depression, typically involve large currency devaluations that make their exports more competitive. This is what happened, for example, in Canada in the 1990s, and to an important extent it’s what happened in Iceland more recently. But Greece, without its own currency, didn’t have that option.

So have …read more


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Landslide at the Supreme Court: Right Wingers Lose a Trifecta of Partisan Cases

June 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The latest ruling reverses an effort in TX to eliminate abortion access.

The Republican’s losing streak at the U.S. Supreme Court continued Monday, on the last day of the term as the Court made three rulings thwarting right-wing crusades.

In two rulings, the Court stopped the GOP from gaming different aspects of the electoral process that help keep their party in political office. In the third ruling, the Court voted 5-4 to keep abortion clinics open in Texas while a lawsuit proceeds that challenges a state law seeking to shut down all but nine of them.

The Court also ruled against the Obama administration’s latest environmental regulations that sought to limit power plant emissions and said that a three-drug mix used to execute prisoners on Oklahoma was not unconstitutional. Late last week, the Court said there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and upheld federal subsidies for Obamacare—two historic victories for progressives and Democrats. 

Voter Suppression, Uncompetitive Elections

In the first election case, the Court decided not hear an appeal brought by the nation’s most partisan Secretary of State, Kansas Republican Chris Kobach, who has been trying for years to require new voters to produce documented proof of citizenship—as opposed to taking an oath when registering to vote.

Kobach, who has been associated with anti-immigrant organizations throughout his career, wanted to add the requirement to protect the “integrity” of the vote, but civil rights groups have seen it as the latest GOP effort to unnecessarily police the process and keep inexperienced voters from voting. The latest twist in this fight came when Kobach sued the U.S. Election Assistance Commission because he wanted separate voter registration forms for state and federal elections—to limit who was eligible to vote locally. A lower appeals court rejected that approach and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Kobach’s petition for a new trial. 

In the second election case, the Court sided with a citizen redistricting commission in Arizona—where Republicans in the Legislature didn’t like the results because it awarded them fewer “safe seats” in the U.S. House—where boundaries ensured a Republican would win. Because Arizona voters created this independent …read more


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John Oliver Rips CNN For Confusing Pride Flag with ISIS Flag

June 29, 2015 in Blogs

By Colin Gorenstein,

Oliver: “You work at CNN — and you don’t know what a dildo looks like?”

CNN’s royal “f-up” this weekend is sure to go down in history — some type of special history — right alongside SCOTUS’ historic same-sex ruling.

In a live segment following Saturday’s gay pride parade in London, CNN reporter Lucy Pawle claimed that she’d seen an ISIS flag when, in fact, the flag was actuallydecorated with dildos and butt-plugs. 

“I seem to be the only person that’s spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it!” she was heard saying in the seven-minute segment which featured a prominent banner reading “ISIS FLAG SPOTTED AT GAY PRIDE PARADE.” 

CNN quickly washed their hands clean of the egregious error and took down the video from the Internet. But thankfully, because people like “Last Week Tonight’s” John Oliver exist, it lives on forever.

The host took a minute of his program Sunday to revisit the weekend highlight, leading into the segment: “The award for greatest moment in global Pride celebrations actually had nothing to do with gay marriage, and everything to do with the idiocy of CNN.”

Oliver, who jumped on the story a full 24 hours later, was shocked to learn that CNN hadn’t issued any sort of apology or retraction for the blunder. 

“Probably because it would be too embarrassing to have a professional journalist say, ‘I’m sorry. Despite working at CNN, it seems I don’t know what a dildo looks like,’” he concluded. 

Watch the clip courtesy of HBO below:


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