Category Archives: economic doom

On the Ukraine “Bailout”

O.K., $17 billion from the IMF, once the government savages its budget. Against this, Kiev has payments of $10 billion in debt service alone due this year—that is interest, not principal. With principal, Bloomberg puts the figure at $14 billion, and an additional $10 billion is due next year. It is not clear it can cover these payments even with the IMF funds.

Do you see what is going on here? The IMF’s bailout is not marked for Ukrainian social services or any other benefit to the citizenry. All that is about to be taken away, in the neoliberal style. The bailout money goes to Kiev and back out again to the Western financial institutions holding Ukrainian debt. In effect, debt held by private-sector creditors is transferred to the IMF, which uses it to leverage Ukraine into a free-market model via its standard conditionality: No austerity, no dough.

Distortions, lies and omissions: The New York Times won’t tell you the real story behind Ukraine, Russian economic collapse by Patrick L. Smith.

Useful, terrifying context to George Soros’ recent war-drum beating.

How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today

If money should be owed for higher education at all, perhaps the federal government should owe us. After all, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution entrusts the federal government with a monopoly to create, spend, and regulate money for the “general welfare of the United States.” And in the era of modern money, there’s no good economic reason for students’ pockets to be so shallow when the government’s are so deep.

As the Nobel-winning economist Paul Samuelson once acknowledged, the “superstition” that the budget must be balanced at all times is part of an “old fashioned religion,” meant to hush people who might otherwise demand the government create more money. Young people should beware of anyone who tells them that their chief worry for the future is the government’s debt, rather than their own.

How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today” by Raúl Carillo in Yes! Magazine

Support the TIF Illumination Video Project

The TIF Illumination Project is a volunteer-run investigative journalism & community education project that has done incredible work exposing one of Chicago’s most vile and complicated scams, Tax Increment Financing. TIF has resulted in the redistribution of billions of dollars away from local communities and into the coffers of developers and cronies. Please help the TIF Illumination Project produce this important video series to bring the fruits of their research to a wider audience:

Last Day to Donate to Naked Capitalism’s 2014 Fundraiser

Naked Capitalism has done more to inform my understanding of the world, and generally derail my post-college trajectory (in a good way, I think) than any other place on the internet. Loyal, near-daily reader since 2008 — which probably goes a long way to explaining where my time has gone all these years. I have no idea how Yves and Lambert pull it off day in-day out, but I am much indebted to them.

GIVE GIVE GIVE!

“As low-income populations have gone to college and food insecurity has risen up to swallow the lower rungs of the middle class, hunger has spread across America’s university campuses like never before. In some places, it’s practically a pandemic: At Western Oregon University, 59% of the student body is food insecure, according to researchers from Oregon State University (OSU). A 2011 survey [PDF] of the City University of New York (CUNY) found that 39.2% of the university system’s quarter of a million undergraduates had experienced food insecurity at some time in the past year.

But it’s not just undergraduates: the number of food insecure graduate students is also growing. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of doctorate-holding food stamp recipients tripled, according to a 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education analysis. The number of food stamp recipients with a master’s degree wasn’t found to have tripled over the same time frame, but it got remarkably close, going from 101,682 to 293,029. At one large research school, Michigan State University (MSU), the on-campus food pantry reports that more than half of its clients are graduate students.”

—Ned Resnikoff, The hunger crisis in America’s universities

Skymall Futurism

For the most part, tech punditry has yet to reckon with the coming era of hard limits, which is why it can get away with extrapolating current First World consumption habits into the indefinite future. Instead of imagining a world of iPad-toting social media consultants, the purveyors of Skymall futurism should be thinking about what happens after the planet can no longer sustain their present lifestyle.

Once we reach that point, maybe the same people currently applauding the death of the book will envy the French, who have gone out of their way to preserve the sort of textual content you can read without consuming any electricity.

Ned’s latest for The Baffler

Ex-CIA Spy on Revolution

Unfortunately, the gap between those with money and power and those who actually know what they are talking about has grown catastrophic. The rich are surrounded by sycophants and pretenders whose continued employment demands that they not question the premises. As Larry Summers lectured Elizabeth Warren, ‘insiders do not criticise insiders.'”

But how can activists actually start moving toward the open source vision now? “For starters, there are eight ‘tribes’ that among them can bring together all relevant information: academia, civil society including labor unions and religions, commerce especially small business, government especially local, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit. At every level from local to global, across every mission area, we need to create stewardship councils integrating personalities and information from all eight tribes. We don’t need to wait around for someone else to get started. All of us who recognise the vitality of this possibility can begin creating these new grassroots structures from the bottom-up, right now.