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Here are 5 reasons why so many Millennials and Gen-X-ers will have to work until they’re dead

December 3, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

The government is letting the younger generations down.


The official unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fell to 3.7% in September and remained unchanged in October—which is a major improvement from the unemployment rates of 9% or 10% that President Barack Obama battled during his first few years in office during the Great Recession. President Donald Trump would love to take sole credit for the U.S.’ economic recovery, but truth be told, unemployment was already down to 4.6% when Obama was still in office. And if another recession occurs before November 2020, Trump might become a one-term president. Voters can be quick to punish incumbent presidents when there is bad economic news, as everyone from Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter to George H.W. Bush found out.

No economy is recession-proof, and it’s not a question of whether or not another recession will occur, but when—and how painful it will be. Some recessions pass quickly; others inflict long-lasting agony, such as the Great Recession (which was the worst economic downturn in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s). Hopefully, the next recession—whenever it arrives—won’t be as harsh or as deep as the last one. The reality is that way too many Millennials and aging Generation X-ers don’t have nearly enough to retire on, and they are going to need to work as much as possible in the years ahead—that is, assuming that automation doesn’t cause them to suffer long-term unemployment.

Here are five reasons why so many Millennials and Gen-Xers will need to keep working until they’re dead.

1. Most Americans Aren’t Saving Enough

Back in April, a survey from Bankrate.com found that most Americans aren’t saving nearly enough. Asked, “What percentage of your annual income do you save?,” 19% of respondents’ answered “none”—while 21% answered “5% or less,” 25% answered “6-10%,” 11% responded “11-15%” and only 16% answered “more than 15%.” Asked why they weren’t saving more, two in five respondents blamed the high cost of living—while one in six said their jobs weren’t paying enough.

2. The Dysfunctional American Health Care System

For all …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Follow the money: Why this supposedly 'bipartisan' caucus is actually a devious cover for big corporate interests

December 3, 2018 in Blogs

By Joan McCarter, Daily Kos

They'd just as soon you forget this.


The latest rebellion that House Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi has had to contend with comes from the so-called “Problem Solvers” caucus, a bipartisan group which has presumably solved only one problem: deciding which members of Congress are most deserving of being pantsed in public. (It might be a tie with the Freedom Caucus. Maybe.) That the Problem Solvers are the brain child of No Labels, a creation of Nancy Jacobsen with an apparent assist from her husband Mark Penn, tells you a lot.

What tells you everything is where the money for the whole thing comes from. The Daily Beast has done the digging, and finds that the group has “encouraged financiers known for backing hyperpartisan causes to back its own super PACs.” Those hyperpartisans are also the huge money behind the Republican Party, ”including David Koch, former AIG head Hank Greenberg, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer; as well as top supporters of President Donald Trump, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone.”

No wonder Trump was named one of the Problem Solvers during the presidential primaries. To be fair, they've also tried to recruit one of George Soros' political advisers, Michael Vachon, and investor Reid Hoffman, who hates Trump. Beyond them there are people like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, huge egos looking for any political movement from anywhere to give them the credibility to keep talking about them as potential presidential candidates. But they've had their real luck with the big corporate guys, the ones who really prefer Republicans to win, but will look for a few pet Democrats to give them bipartisan cover.

In the 2018 cycle, six Super PACs that are affiliated to No Labels raised more than $11 million from just 53 individuals, with an average contribution of around $124,000. So, yeah, not a particularly grassroots kind of venture there. It's not like they're trying that hard to appear bipartisan, either. Here's where Jacobsen (who also was there at the founding of Third Way, which Third Way really doesn't want you …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Academics' Devotion to the Socialist Dream Looks More Like Self-Interest

December 3, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

Why are intellectuals and academics so hostile to capitalism?
Before the 2017 election, a Times higher education survey poll
found 54pc of higher education employees would vote for the
socialist Labour party. Just 7pc said they would support the more
market-friendly Conservatives. See a writer or poet on BBC Question
Time and you can confidently bet their view on almost any economic
issue will be pro-government intervention.

Twitter is little better. You’re treated to a deluge of
intellectuals carping about our economic system, or
“neoliberalism.” The rapturous intellectual reception
given to economist Thomas Piketty’s 2012 anti-capitalist tome,
Capital in the 21st Century
, was exhibit A of this enmity.

Market economies
overwhelmingly support important cultural norms such as freedom of
speech and association, which one might think intellectuals would
value. Yet this group seems determined to bite the hand that feeds
it.

At one level, this is baffling. As the great mid-century
Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter noted, capitalism itself
created the modern intellectual class. There’s always been
thinkers and writers, but modern innovation has delivered markets
for books, newspapers, the internet and access to online journals
that give scope for vast additional reach and status.

The spread of capitalism has gone hand in hand with the
expansion of the university sector too. Market economies
overwhelmingly support important cultural norms such as freedom of
speech and association, which one might think intellectuals would
value. Yet this group seems determined to bite the hand that feeds
it.

For years classical liberals have pondered this mystery. Maybe
intellectuals hold different values, putting more weight on poverty
elimination or a more equal society? Markets cannot guarantee these
ambitions are fulfilled, after all. Yet, given the historical
record of planned economies against market ones, and consumption
inequality over time, markets clearly move us in the
“right” direction. Any honest intellectual parsing the
evidence must see this.

Others have mused instead over structural explanations. Perhaps
universities are biased in hiring anti-capitalists or there’s
self-selection into industries less exposed to market forces? Again
though, there’s little reason to believe these mechanisms
would hold across all major countries. If anything, universities
now are relatively more hostile to markets, even when as
institutions they have become more marketised.

No, it seems there is some underlying force that makes
intellectuals more pre-disposed to anti-market feelings. But
what?

American libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick posited a
hypothesis back in 1998. Intellectuals tend to be over-achievers at
school and university, he observed. Schools instill in us the idea
that rewards should be granted according to our intellectual merit,
particularly our ability to talk and write. The intellectual from a
young age not only saw higher grades, but the approval …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Yale psychiatrist explains how loyalty Trump is predicated on emotional patterns the majority of us grow out of by age five

December 3, 2018 in Blogs

By Tana Ganeva, Raw Story

“Strongman-type personalities are very appealing in times of socioeconomic or political crisis, as the population is less able to think rationally.”


President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to heap praise upon his ally Roger Stone, who continues to maintain his refusal to flip—even as Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, who once said he’d take a bullet for the president, begged federal prosecutors to not serve jail time.

Stone might be Trump’s most famous supporter—but there are millions of Americans who refuse to abandon the president regardless of the chaotic news cycle. A poll conducted over the summer found that many Trump supporters trust the President more than their own friends and family.

Raw Story spoke with Yale psychiatry professor Bandy X. Lee on why the president’s supporters show such undying devotion to a man who’s repeatedly reneged on promises and whose tumultuous first term has been filled with shake-ups.

Raw Story: In your opinion, what are the emotions driving Donald Trump’s base?

Bandy X. Lee: The sense of grandiose omnipotence that he displays seems especially appealing to his emotionally-needy followers. No matter what the world says, he fights back against criticism, continues to lie in the face of truth, and above all is still president. What matters is that he is winning, not whether he is honest or law-abiding. This may seem puzzling to the rest of us, but when you are overcome with feelings of powerlessness, this type of cartoonish, exaggerated force is often more important than true ability. This is the more primitive morality, as we call it, of “might makes right,” which in normal development you grow out of by age five.

But, in this case, Trump appeals to that childlike degree of emotional development? Why?

Strongman-type personalities are very appealing in times of socioeconomic or political crisis, as the population is less able to think rationally but is rather overcome with fear, or desire to draw strength from fantastical ideas. This happens to normal people in times of stress, or to people whose development has been stunted because of emotional injury. The problem is, the person who promises …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'There might be something there': Fox News hosts admit 'things are starting to seem a little weird' with Trump and Russia

December 3, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Harris Faulkner admitted the “shady people” around Trump make it “kind of hard to know where you are.”


While Fox News hosts often beat the drum for Donald Trump’s administration, during a segment on “Outnumbered” Monday, the hosts Lisa Kennedy Montgomery and Harris Faulkner (who were joined by Melissa Francis and Marie Harf) appeared to briefly acknowledge that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation isn’t without merit.  

Trump mouthpiece Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, jumped through hoops to criticize Mueller’s probe. Mueller, Schlapp insisted, “doesn’t have a case … The American people are over this. There is no case here. We are exhausted.”

But Faulkner, unlike Schlapp, wasn’t content to simply act as Trump’s carnival barker this time. And she acknowledged that some “shady people” have been on Mueller’s investigative radar.  

“The biggest question, I think, that is still out there has to do with what the president knew and when he knew it—and you have so many shady questions, right?,” Faulkner explained. “Shady people, rather, where these questions are involved….It’s kind of hard to know where you are.”

Faulkner added that she wanted to wait and see what evidence Mueller comes up with. And when Montgomery jumped in, the former MTV VJ turned libertarian/conservative political pundit made it clear that she also wanted to see what else comes out of Mueller’s investigation in the weeks ahead.

“There might be something there,” Montgomery asserted. “There absolutely might be something there. We don’t know what Mueller has; he might have something. Things are starting to seem a little weird.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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American patriot turns Rudy Giuliani’s angry Twitter typo into powerful anti-Trump commentary

December 3, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

If you click on the “G-20.In” link Giuliani inadvertently created, you'll get a comment about Trump.


A recent Rudy Giuliani tweet contained several typos that made it ripe for a hilarious – although sad yet accurate – statement about President Donald Trump.

Last Friday Giuliani posted this angry tweet:

Mueller filed an indictment just as the President left for https://t.co/8ZNrQ6X29a July he indicted the Russians who will never come here just before he left for Helsinki.Either could have been done earlier or later. Out of control!Supervision please?

— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 30, 2018

You'll notice the former New York City mayor who is currently moonlighting as  President Trump's personal attorney (and doing a terrible job, by the way,) neglected to use spaces.

Some enterprising web designer saw an opportunity and took it.

If you click on the “G-20.In” link Giuliani inadvertently created, you'll get a comment about Trump.

We won't give the surprise away.

Enjoy.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Navy Disaster That Earned JFK Two Medals for Heroism

December 3, 2018 in History

By Dave Roos

In a harrowing ordeal, JFK helped ensure the survival of his men, taking actions that would earn him a Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart in World War II.

, says that what happened next was a defining moment for the young Lieutenant, who was well-liked by his men, but unproven as a leader. When dawn broke the next morning with no sign of a rescue, Kennedy gathered the men and democratically took a vote on their next move.

John F. Kennedy aboard the PT-109 in the South Pacific, 1943.

“He asked them, ‘If the Japanese come after us, do you want to fight or do you want to surrender?’” recalls Martin. “And the crew said, ‘It’s up to you, bossThat’s when JFK reasserted his command.”

JFK may have been a greenhorn Naval officer, but he was an experienced sailor and navigator from his privileged youth in Cape Cod. In his short time in the Solomon Islands, he knew the layout of the islands and the strange currents running in between them. He pointed to an speck on the horizon, a small island three miles away called Plum Pudding, and ordered the men to prepare for a long swim.

McMahon’s burns were still fresh and agonizing. In what’s perhaps the most enduring image of Kennedy’s heroism in the South Pacific, the young lieutenant, himself suffering from a serious back injury, cut a strap from McMahon’s life jacket and clasped it in his teeth. For the next four to five hours, JFK swam breaststroke across the open ocean towing McMahon behind him. When he finally crawled ashore Plum Pudding island, Kennedy became violently ill from all of the seawater he had swallowed and collapsed in exhaustion.

READ MORE: How JFK’s Stint as a WWII Journalist Influenced His Presidency

With just two pistols between the 11 of them, and zero food, Kennedy and his men were beached in hostile territory on an island with no fresh water and only green coconuts hanging high in the palm trees. would be a week before the men were rescued. Back at the American PT base on Rendova, the crew of the PT 109 had already been giving up for dead.

That first night on Plum Pudding, Kennedy went on a solo mission to try to intercept PT boats traveling through nearby Ferguson Passage. Carrying a bulky lantern and with a pistol tied …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Overhaul CRA? Why Not Eliminate It?

December 3, 2018 in Economics

By Diego Zuluaga

Diego Zuluaga

Sen. Bill Proxmire was no spendthrift. The long-serving
Wisconsin lawmaker, who replaced Joe McCarthy and remained in
office until 1989, was notorious for taking no campaign donations,
refusing reimbursement for business travel and voting against
pork-barrel projects in his own state.

Yet the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, Proxmire’s signature
legislative achievement, is no example of efficiency. More than
forty years after its passage, policymakers confront a much-changed
U.S. banking landscape — one with which CRA is increasingly
incompatible.

CRA mandates that most depository institutions serve the credit
needs of the communities where they take deposits. Who could oppose
such a mandate? After all, it is undeniable that banks exist to
serve their customers. If they did not add value, their costs would
exceed their revenues and they would eventually go out of business.
So, as CRA intends, banks must serve their communities.

Clinging to an outdated
picture of U.S. banking will neither aid innovation nor safeguard
bank balance sheets.

But Proxmire’s CRA has gone much further than that.

For 41 years, it has instructed bank regulators — the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — to assess banks
on their CRA performance. How to measure whether banks are serving
their communities was never clear, however, and it has evolved over
time. CRA ratings initially focused on banks’ efforts to
bring credit to the places where they took deposits. From the 1990s
onwards, assessments have targeted results — that is, how
much lenders actually do in the places where they have offices,
branches and ATMs.

CRA focuses on loans to “low- and moderate-income”
communities. The aim is to encourage credit extension to the less
well-off and minorities, communities historically underserved by
the financial system.

How do regulators encourage such lending? CRA does not provide
for sanctions, fines or charter withdrawals in the event of
underperformance. But it does empower regulators to block bank
expansions, including new offices and, critically, mergers. Because
CRA ratings are public, activist groups can use them to extract
lending commitments from depository institutions, often using
heavy-handed tactics. This quid pro quo between banks and community
groups was the norm in the run-up to the financial crisis. Between
1992 and 2007, banks committed $4.6 trillion in CRA loans.

Did CRA contribute to the 2008 crash? That is a matter of
dispute, though activists did flaunt their ability to extract
lenient loan terms, including low down payments and interest-only
mortgages, from eager banks during the boom times. At a minimum,
CRA loans provided an enthusiastic, and ultimately misguided, drive
for more housing loans with the useful cover of “community
investment.”

Now the OCC is …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Ukraine Isn’t Important for U.S. Security

December 3, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is ruthless when dealing with
adversaries — as when his navy shot up a Ukrainian vessel
seeking to enter the nearly enclosed Sea of Azov.

The facts appear to back Kiev, though no one should have any
illusions about Ukraine’s governance. Moscow has become
Washington’s chief bête noire. Yet America is vastly more powerful.
Moreover, the Russian Federation is not the Soviet Union reborn.
The former is neither a global nor an ideological competitor.

Nothing at stake in the
Russia-Ukraine conflict warrants the U.S. confronting a
nuclear-armed power.

Rather, much like a pre-1914 great power, Moscow demands respect
for its borders and interests. It certainly does not want to wage a
war with America, which it would lose.

Europe also is able to defend itself, possessing
10 times the gross domestic product and three times
the population. The fact that Europeans do not spend more —
Germany devotes a bit more than 1 percent of GDP to its military —
demonstrates that the continent really doesn’t fear Moscow.

However, stuck in a bad neighborhood, Ukraine wants on to
America’s defense dole. But Washington already is overburdened,
protecting prosperous and populous Asian, European and Middle
Eastern allies.

Kiev isn’t important for U.S. security: Ukraine was part
of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, without much
effect on America. Ukraine matters no more today.

That sounds cold-hearted, but alliances and wars should be about
security, not charity.

Russia is determined to prevent Ukraine from joining militarily
with Moscow’s adversaries.

Nothing at stake in the Russia-Ukraine conflict warrants the
U.S. confronting a nuclear-armed power.

Washington’s chief responsibility is to protect the
American people, which means remembering John Quincy Adams’
famous admonition: The United States should be “the
well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the
champion and the vindicator only of her own.”

Doug Bandow is
a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. …read more

Source: OP-EDS