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Public Employees, Private Parking Meters, Fed Grifters, NATO Terrorists

June 14, 2012

I was going to just let these news stories drift by but…

So, public sector jobs are slashed in the “Red” states. This is important to keep turning over in our minds. This is not a coincidence. Some people say it is a partisan conspiracy, but I think not; not unless “ideology” counts as conspiracy. Remember:

When it comes to busting up the unions (reducing public sector employees helps with that goal) nobody can say it is mere talking points. It is an actual ideological preference. From the article:

This drop in public-sector workers is well documented, and it is great to get more economists ringing the bell on it. But I think there needs to be more research into how this has happened. As my colleague Bryce Covert notes over at The Nation, “the massive job loss we’ve been experiencing in the public sector is no random coincidence or unfortunate side effect. It is part of an ideological battle waged by ultra conservatives who were swept into power in the 2010 elections.”

As we’ve written before (article, white paper), the 11 states that the Republicans took over during the 2010 midterm elections – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – account for 40.5 percent of the total losses. By itself, Texas accounts for an additional 31 percent of the total losses. So these 12 states account for over 70 percent of total public sector job losses in 2011. This is even more important because there was a continued decline in public sector workers in 2011 even though the economy was no longer in free fall.

Yes, even the evil business economists concede that contractionary policies are contractionary. Weird. I do love this wording:

The findings in this paper suggest that fiscal contraction will be particularly contractionary in the current-day eurozone. They also indicate that if policymakers come to their senses abandon the current approach of trying to stabilize via austerity, and instead aim for stimulus with back-loaded fiscal retrenchment, the ongoing recession could be mitigated.

Have I said “Team Bernie” today?

ore than $4 trillion in near zero-interest Federal Reserve loans and other financial assistance went to the banks and businesses of at least 18 current and former Federal Reserve regional bank directors in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse, according to Government Accountability Office records made public for the first time today by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Check it out! Top 18 secret government handouts from Fed board members to Fed board members. Nice and cozy.

“This report reveals the inherent conflicts of interest that exist at the Federal Reserve.  At a time when small businesses could not get affordable loans to create jobs, the Fed was providing trillions in secret loans to some of the largest banks and corporations in America that were well represented on the boards of the Federal Reserve Banks.  These conflicts must end,” Sanders said.

I have an idea: let’s privatize everything!

The city of New York is insisting that it won’t make the same mistake Chicago made, at least when it comes to rates. Bloomberg helpfully quoted Julie Wood, a spokesperson for the news agency’s namesake, i.e. the mayor:

“We are taking a careful and deliberate approach to avoid mistakes others have made,” Wood said. New York would retain “full control” of rates and violations enforcement, she said.

We have to hope she’s telling the truth, because meter rates in some New York neighborhoods are already at $5 an hour. A Chicago-style price hike for fat-cat investors might leave us paying thirty bucks an hour to oil barons in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in order to park for dinner in the West Village. Unlikely, sure, but how likely was the city of New York selling its parking meters ten years ago?

Ultimately, these infrastructure deals operate under the same basically predatory, let’s-fuck-the-uninformed-elderly business model that guides companies like J.G. Wentworth. You’ve seen the commercials, of course, where a bunch of cheery-looking opera singers in Wagnerian costumes generously offer to give you money up front for your accident settlement, your annuity, even your lottery winnings…

Of course what they don’t tell you in those commercials is that you’re only getting pennies on the dollar in those deals. Companies like J.G. Wentworth feast upon the financial anxiety/desperation of middle America, where most people can’t wait to collect the whole $100,000 they won in court after losing an eye at work, and will settle for $20,000 they can use to pay the rent (or, more often, the doctor or the pharmacist) this week. Money is so tight out there that people will take a bad deal, even a draconian deal, just to make it to next week, especially when the idea is getting rammed into their heads in high-production-value commercials during football games and American Idol broadcasts five hundred times a week.

So you can understand why your average Joe might give in and sell his annuity to a bunch of friendly opera singers to make his rent. But the billionaire mayor of New York City? There’s simply no legitimate rationale for selling off a critically valuable public revenue stream to private interests.

Yeah, sure it is crazy, but don’t believe for a second that it doesn’t fit the ideology. It fits perfectly. In my insanity, I have come to realize why other – seemingly normal – people smell a conspiracy at every crazy, asinine move: sane people believe nobody could be insane enough to really believe the insane thing they are witnessing. It almost has to be a hoax, right? I don’t believe it is anymore. I believe it is simply the logical conclusion, the correct and rational steps stemming from a peculiar ideology. Did I mention that 46% of Americans believe God created humans in our present form (meaning no evolution whatsoever)??? To not take people at their word is dangerous, and probably a little condescending. *Laughs maniacally and stockpiles food*
Also, NATO protesters charged with terrorism, but the indictment is withheld from their defense team by prosecutors. This looks all kinds of fishy, but hey, I’m sure the government wouldn’t lie to us. *Peaks out curtains at unmarked van*
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