324 Comments
Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

The counter weight to greedy corporations is unions. We need more, and stronger ones.

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Judith: I worked for government (mostly state) as a scientist for 28 years. I always wished I could have a union. (I joined the IWW to make a point.)

When AFSCME tried to organize us, only 2 of 50 or 60 people in our office signed union cards (and the other guy took some persuasion from me). In my experience, so-called professionals tend to be resistant to unions. They labor under the illusion that they can do better as individuals.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

- Goethe

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Another counter weight to greedy corporations is lowering the barriers of entry to the corporations' potential competitors. Unions have a place, of course, but come with the cost of reducing worker agency.

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Please explain what you mean by ‘reducing worker agency.’

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Suppose you want to be routinely let off work to pick a kid up from school. Or you need time and privacy to pump. It's not in the union contract. If you have agency, you can negotiate with the boss to reach some kind of agreement where both you and the company benefit. My previous union was pretty clear about this. If it's not in the contract it's prohibited and you cannot negotiate on your own.

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True, depends on the job. As an RN I valued tremendously the impact of the strength of my union. To watch others in non union jobs get trod upon endlessly by the healthcare industry only cemented my support for my union.

If you work where your job is covered should you need to take care of family issues that's more the exception than the rule. Most employers will not go out of their way to grant special favors while others continue the grind. Again, it obviously depends on the work being missed by the employee's absence. Some work is negotiable some is not.

Unions are only as good as their membership!

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That is the absolute truth! Some people wanted to blame lousy workers on the union . We were constantly reminding our colleagues that our first mission was to be excellent as employees. Of course that was one industry.

People are people..... we often work against our own betterment.

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Also, it's not your work's problem that you have not made arrangements for a kid pickup. To ask to be routinely let off to do that creates issues with your colleagues who do not have a routine reason to get off early.

That's your responsibility not your employer's.

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guess you missed the part about a compromise where both you and the company benefit. Leaving early doesn't necessarily mean creating an issue with colleagues, some of whom will be or have been in the same child care situation. Anyway, glad to hear from an exactly by the book/contract union guy.

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I'm not sure how an individual's arrangements with a company benefits anyone but the individual! Unless of course you're irreplaceable!

As I said (which apparently you missed too) it depends on the job, how much slack your colleagues have to pick up etc. I have worked union and nonunion positions, frankly I prefer the union positions!

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Good question. A good union represents worker agency en masse

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Please support mandatory public disclosure of straight payroll (broken out explicitly) on the 10-K and 10-Q GAAP income statement. Anglo Saxon accounting since time immemorial has occluded "people" from the income statement, and yet......no business can be formed without "people". The absurdity of the design of the income statement betrays its pedigree. And it's the payroll income that accounts for 66% of US GDP spending (consumption)! And it's missing from sunlight.

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I couldn't agree with you more, Robert. Corporate greed and monopolies are crushing us little people. Isn't someone telling the Fed Chair this? What is also sickening is that even when prices for supply chain goods come down, the greedy bastards won't reduce their rates. I went to buy some produce the other day at a local market and the prices were so high, I left the store! This simply HAS to be addressed by the Biden admin. Thank you

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Sooz, you are right about how bad prices are in some places. I have found that I am just not buying the high-priced stuff, going to more than one store if I have to. I am not sure what Biden can do at this point. He already messed with us by keeping Powell in power, a Trumper who loves his little power moves, smirking (his voice sounds smirky to me) and almost gleefully telling us he thinks we need a recession to fix things, caring nothing for the fact that a whole lot of workers and small businesses would be seriously hurt by that. Either he is ignorant of economics or is deliberately trying to undermine our economy and give more power to the already-rich. I think it is the latter.

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I don't think Biden can't do much about anything the Fed does. The Fed isn't under his control, but is an independent body.

Biden can, as Robert writes, do other things to stop runaway price gouging.

And Congress? Well the Congress can do legislation to control or roll back monopoly rule in this country. But...

...as I have written before, "If Congress didn't want price gouging by monopoly corporations, then we wouldn't have "price gouging by monopoly corporations."

.

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Roger:

"The capitalist has no heart, but harpoon him in the pocketbook and you will draw blood."

—William D. “Big Bill” Haywood

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Thank you Ruth for your insight. I could not agree more. Powell needs to go

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Yes! I just wrote yet another letter to the White House saying so... also the need for some damn price controls. Corporations have made out like bandits and have artificially inflated prices, so even if they have to stop now, they've still enriched themselves obscenely. They think "we can never go back." We need to prove them wrong, and it's going to take the Democrats leaving that alluring corporate dark money behind, like progressives did. It's seductive and corruptive. We are at a place in this country where politicians need corporations to like them more than the voters.

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Gawwwwwd that's so terribly true.

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Well said, S,A, Linden

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Fire Powell now!

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From NPR this morning: https://www.npr.org/2023/04/07/1168406439/the-job-market-is-cooling-as-higher-interest-rates-and-a-slowing-economy-take-a-?origin=NOTIFY

Powell's job-killing plan is paying off bigly for corporations. FIRE HIM NOW before nobody has a job and we're in a recession or, not unlikely, a depression.

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Correct on this Greg. And again if the Fed can’t do anything, and the government can’t do anything then “we the people” have to stop buying!

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I agree Ruth. Both Obama and Biden have kept leftover GOP economists in control of the economy to the detriment of the Country. I never agreed with the 'too big to fail' concept, the only ones to come out of 2008/2010 recession still on top were the ultra-wealthy. I'll never forget the lavish Las Vegas Party thrown for the 'fat cat insurance employees' using government bailout funds to pay for it. And Powell as you say, is blind to Corporate greed.

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Apr 6, 2023·edited Apr 6, 2023

Ruth:

Puck Fowell! He needs to go NOW. (DeJoy too, on a different subject.)

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It seems that Reagan-omics (trickle-down) die slowly, as does Milton Freidman's Chicago School of Economics which has pulverized the developing world. Then there is Paul Ryan and his fealty to the fictions of Ayn Rand, Larry Summers and Harvard. You name it...it's all about wealthy white guys keeping themselves at the top of the heap. There are economists such as Robert, Paul Krugman, and others who do not put selfishness first, but their voices are not being heard right now. As much as I like Pres Biden, he does not seem to have a broad POV when it comes to democratic socialism (not a bad word, honestly!) While he is a coalition builder he seems powerless to curtail corporations, esp the oil industry.

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founding

Try local farmers’ markets if there are any in your area. Their prices should be better.

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Unfortunately, the local farmers' market doesn't accept food stamps where I live (rural northwestern PA). Which leaves the poor screwed—especially the disabled poor and the elderly poor on very low fixed incomes who are struggling to survive on incomes way below the poverty line.

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founding

I’m very sorry to hear that. What can we do to change that?

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My farmer's market in Michigan does accept food stamps, so it's possible, but I'm not sure of the mechanism.

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Sooz p:

Absolutely right! We are paying elevated gas prices (based on Saudis, et al, cutting production) for gas that probably came out of the ground 3 months ago. Like playing the "float" on your checking account. Undeserved pure profit for the oil companies.

We need price controls... if not nationalization. Fat chance of that with Congress in the oil companies' pockets.

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

A week before midterms, leading economist and NYT opinion columnist Paul Krugman rightly had stated “that while the G.O.P.’s election strategy [had been]… all about blaming the Biden Administration for inflation, the Republican Party [didn’t]…actually have any plan to reduce inflation.” What had troubled me, a week out from the midterm election, was that this celebrated economist had declined to underscore how major corporations were using the cover of inflation to drive up prices. Considering the American people in poll after poll largely had reported the economy and inflation as their two major issues, I had expected a united, laser-focused effort to expose how corporate profits had accounted for over half of the increased prices people were paying.

While some might have defended a reluctance, due to corporate donors’ undue influence on our politics, to call out record corporate profits (a 54% increase) as the biggest driver of inflation, I believe the benefits of pinning corporate gouging on the increased prices people were paying would have outweighed the consequences. I further contend, with 60% of the people in this country living paycheck to paycheck and millions working for starvation wages, not only should our standout spokespersons highlight this biggest driver of inflation; they should make it clear to working families throughout this country, many of whom had voted Republican, the Party that had been silent on this issue, that their vote had run counter to their interests and concerns. In a word, we need more leading economists not to allow deceptions and distortions related to the state of the economy to go unanswered.

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I respect Paul Krugman's economic perspectives, so I, too, was surprised and disappointed by this particular pre-midterm opinion piece that did not address corporate profits. Thank you for making note of it. I agree with your reaction and contentions!

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This is why I cancelled my NY Times subscription. Which I had to do twice by the way because cancelling on-line doesnt work you have to phone it in (like a Gym membership). The NY Times actively surpresses stories and lines about Wealth and Inequality. I would imagine Krugman and others have different ideas. The editor takes paragraphs on wealth and inequality and knocks them down to a single line. Single lines get immediate removal. The NY Times is appealing to their Rich readers so they dont have to feel bad about not getting off our back. -see tolstoy. Anytime an opinion peice talking about wealth and inequality comes out the editor puts in a right wing one to conteract it. Which leads to false equivalencies and the reader confused. The mainstream media takes a right turn (so to speak) when it comes to the causes of inflation (Left wing media I am talking about). I have never seen so much smoke being blown up peoples posteriors. I keep receiving the emails from the times so if I see something of interest I can look it up on another news source. I will not financially support a paper that is trying to supress my wages by not reporting inflations real causes. NY times is pro Oligarchy just the capital D version of it. With that said, read with a grain of salt.

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Dec 13, 2022·edited Dec 13, 2022

Bill, While I acknowledge I might be voted off the island, I still read the Times, including particular opinion columnists that include Charles Blow, Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, Michelle Goldberg, and the like. I do find, to varying degrees, that they aim to act as filters, sifting the truth, at least partially, from the propaganda, and, at times, providing context, background, and even a sense of which claims hold up and which are misleading. The same can be said, in my view, of The Washington Post.

Admittedly, were I to limit my reading to texts wherein Washington officials, in part, set the agenda for journalism, I’d miss out on a broader discussion of ideas, including many of the fibs and fantasies, let alone the big stories partisans in power don’t want told.

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Ezra has a podcast. You don't need the New York TImes for him.

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Margaret, I’m aware. I simply listed Ezra as a Times opinion columnist I read.

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Bill Reitz — You too, eh? The NY Times not only didn’t cancel my subscription when I attempted to do so last month — they double-charged me for the News. I was livid. I remember when the Times really was “All the News that’s Fit to Print” but not anymore… more like “All the Opinions you don’t Wish to Read…”

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Anne: NYT and WaPo think they own the news and you have to pay them to hear it.

WaPo is owned by Jeff Bozos. He could give a free subscription to every person in the country without sacrificing more than a microscopic portion of his daily income.

I used to be able to download recipes from NYT, but they eventually stuck their finger in that hole in the paywall.

There's no free press unless you've got one.

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It's not just mainstream media, either. Even our local, once liberal Sacramento Bee, which happens to have excellent editorial opinion journalists, prints far right pundits to counteract what their own employees write. It's almost as if the publishers are ashamed of their liberal/progressive origins.

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I believe Frontline which I strangely trust had a good story on the collapse of news organizations. As they get bought out by private equity firms they layoff people and then push the narrative of the new owners. It sounds like that happened at the Sacramento Bee. Whether it be right wing fascist or liberal oligarch leanings it still ends up that "We" don't know whats good for us and its better if our vote is taken away from us by force (the coup) or by the lack of campaign finance reform (the liberal oligarcs side). Funny how I got trolled by someone who seems to be pro NY Times. After I responded to them they edited their post too me. Quite dishonest. Kind of reminds me of the right wing opinion responses to the liberal position I used to read in the NY times. Try and confuse the reader and put both view points into the trash can so the reader doesnt know what to think. A common tactic I've seen when trolled by Russian spam bots on youtube CNN comments. Didnt expect to see something like that (which appears to be a real person in this case) posted here.

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Actually the Bee is owned by McClatchy, a news chain that certainly is not in the category of Ru0wert clan but still has a few family members on its Board. Besides Sacramento there are also Fresno and Modesto and a few eastern news-papers. But I agree with your statement about "we" not knowing what's best for us,. it's the old 50's concept of father knows best. The Sac Bee does have one great columnist, Josh Gohlke, a good cartoonist/ humorist, Jack Ohman and som,e excellent female columnists as well. So far they've been given rein to write true and reasonable columns, but the Bee always manages to include some far right maggots,.

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I'd like to see a Larry O'Donnell piece on this.

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Dec 13, 2022·edited Dec 13, 2022

Quite intriguing, Bill Reitz! We seldom get such specific insider information, spoken with such authority, on New York Times editing techniques. After Times editors mangle your articles on wealth and inequality, do you post the originals someplace where we can savor them as they were before Times editors took paragraphs on wealth and inequality and knocked them down to a single line? So we can avoid them, please name the right-wing writers Times editors put in to counteract any opinion peice [sic] talking about wealth and inequality. If you ever expect them to publish you again, you're one very brave Times insider!

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deletedDec 13, 2022·edited Apr 6, 2023
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Apr 6, 2023·edited Apr 6, 2023

Janet:

I further recommend The Lever (David Sirota and others), Jim Hightower, Michael Moore, The Intercept, TruthOut... even the (too moderate IMHO) Daily Kos. These are just the ones that come to mind at the moment.

Also, Progressive Democrats of America (PDAmerica.org) holds weekly town meetings on Zoom and YouTube on Sunday afternoons. These have been going on since before the 2020 election. Similarly, Our Revolution (https://ourrevolution.com) hosts national organizing phone calls. Both groups actively participate in campaigns and endorse principled candidates.

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deletedApr 6, 2023·edited Apr 6, 2023
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Janet:

I am relatively new (3 months?) to reading the Lever. They did a fabulous job covering the policy failures and corruption around the Ohio train wreck. Apparently they took some heat from liberals and Bidencrats for calling out Buttigieg's incompetence and lack of initiative (for those who weren't paying attention to the Southwest Airlines debacle)..

They followed that with a brilliant expose of the banking train wreck and the links to government slackness (Jay Powell again! Coincidence?) and handouts to bankers and crypto bros.

David Sirota, who edits the Lever, was a Bernie campaign speechwriter IIRC.

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For labor issues, check out More Pefect Union's videos. Faiz Shakir, Berrnie's 2020 campaign manager (you are even starting to see him on panels on PBS NewsHour) runs it.

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Thank you for your clear thoughts Barbara. Do I have an answer, no I don't. Why? Because our politics have done amok in our country and I am slowly becoming politically alienated. The din rises above my ability to fully understand how we got into this mess. Speculation has taken over clear thoughts and politics for what should be happening in our country and that is care for all of its people. Yes, that is why I appreciate your clear thoughts Barbara. Thank you again.

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Dec 13, 2022·edited Dec 13, 2022

Gerald, I appreciate your kind words and also, responding to your comment, would add that the security of this nation and its people, in my view, depend on a far more cooperative domestic and international environment in which there is a modicum of social and economic justice for large numbers of people today who feel oppressed and marginalized by a runaway wild capitalism unwedded to social democratic institutions which contain its excesses and moderate its self-serving impulses.

As for understanding the major issues of our time, I mainly consult human and print sources that offer diverse interests, ideas and voices, are fearless in their commitment to democracy, often tell stories that partisans in power don’t want told, and subject everyone’s words and deeds to critical scrutiny.

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Very well stated... Especially this "oppressed and marginalized by a runaway wild capitalism unwedded to social democratic institutions which contain its excesses and moderate its self-serving impulses."

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Mimi, I deeply appreciate your affirming words.

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founding

It is a partisan political issue - because Republicans have been wrong-footed by their choice of economic "own goal" vis-à-vis their choice of standard bearer, former president Donald Trump (whose administration had no plan for the economy absent empty claims of "growth"!).

In short: the damage done to the economy by the last administration was immense - and was only mitigated by a huge amount of *fiscal* spending at both the state and federal level; though fiscal means could also alleviate inflation (or have kept it from proving so severe), such means are not good politics ("entitlements are the third rail of politics") - so a party which likes to present itself as an authority (of generosity no less) can do nothing to positively affect the situation... and especially not when fixed upon a strategy of obstruction at any cost.

PS: President Biden is entirely too far-sighted & diplomatic to have dismissed Jerome Powell when the chance arose (i.e. when he was reappointed); he probably has made note of President Bush (Sr.) having blamed Alan Greenspan for his electoral loss in 1992 & chosen a different approach...!

= D

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Rishi, If I read you correctly, your reply comprises a thorough explanation of the quoted Krugman assertion at the start of my comment. While my purpose in writing largely was to underscore Krugman’s omission of corporate gouging as the biggest driver of inflation, I, nonetheless, appreciate your extended commentary that both clarifies and elaborates on the actual Krugman claim.

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founding

He has come under fire for telling it like he sees it - but his analysis seems to be quite accurate (and his insights prescient); as Professor Reich has mentioned, dealing with inflation is very much a policy choice - and it seems the federal reserve is on a path to fighting it at the risk of a job market which (after many years) is, finally, slowly tipping its balance towards workers (let's hope Congressional kowtowing to corporate interests doesn't lead to something horrible)...

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Rishi, While your observations, as expected, are spot-on, I would add that the two issues that most concern me are concentration of ownership combined with more income and wealth inequality than we’ve seen in one-hundred years. Still, inflation likely will continue to drop and job growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector, presumably will continue to rise, along with growth in trade unions, all indicators, in my view, that interest rate hikes are likely to slow. Ultimately, of course, we will need to elect more Democrats to pass the PRO Act. And, on that note, I’m signing off to catch up on much needed sleep.

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I will just take this opportunity to suck up to Prof. Reich (LOL) by reminding you all that his LAST "Wealth and Poverty" online class starts today.

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

This is valid economic logic.

However the Citizens United decision has become Democracy's assassin wearing a cloak of invisibility.

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Yeah I heard someone saying Crypto currencies privacy features are what makes it great. If something is completely private how would bad actors be accounted for and tracked. We need full donation visibilty. If the donation cant be tracked it should be illegal. Once full disclosure is accomplished a law suit can be brought up against companies and the wealthy for their massive donations.

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Bill, I am with you on the concept that if a donation cannot be tracked, it is or should be illegal. We need to know every penny that is donated to anyone and anything. The Supreme Court did their Citizens' United thing as a means of undermining our democracy and it is working really well so far. Congress could have stepped in and made "dark money" illegal and corporations who use it in any form seriously fined, a huge percentage of their profits and the corporation divided into smaller entities. There is so much that could be done, but those in office have gotten or at least benefited from the dark money and under the table donations so they are more than reluctant to do anything to stop the money flow. Those donors can buy almost anyone. Note Sinema of AZ. She was bought and paid for and will betray the party who helped her get into power for the sake of the money. I suspect if she does not run in 2024, she will get to keep all that beautiful money that will never be able to be tracked. Appalling but lucrative!

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I wonder if the latest in the long string of scandals around JustUs Thomas will help to clean up the Extreme Court at all; maybe even get a Code of Ethics (can you even mention Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and "ethics"in the same paragraph? It may make your computer explode).

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Greg, Clarence Thomas has been a liar since he was first nominated to the position of Justice. He basically told a woman she was a liar and he had not been a sexual harasser, when he clearly had. That was just the beginning. He was only nominated by Bush Senior as a slap in the face to Black Americans and it made him look soooo fair in the white community, among most men too.

His time on the Court has neither been positive for anyone but rich white people and gun owners nor a positive model for Black (or any other) Americans as to what they can achieve. He has demonstrated that cheating and bowing to the whims of rich white folks can get you lots of benefits and a job where you essentially can't be challenged. Not OK! And, if you're Black, and on the Court, you can claim you didn't know taking huge gifts from right-wing rich white guys and not reporting it was illegal because I guess, you can think those who might monitor that kind of behavior would naturally think a Black man would be that ignorant of the law. Ugh!

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Thomas is on the Extreme Court because of Biden, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.

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It will be very interesting to see who Sinema ends up working for when she loses, or decides not to run for the senate again, because she knows she will lose. Big Pharma is a good possibility, though there are other monied interests who she has befriended.

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Good choice. She definitely has the ethics of a pusher.

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Sin-enema will be tRump's VP candidate. You heard it here first, LOL.

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"Citizens United" - Which citizens ? I'm a citizen and I wasn't asked or consulted about this decision via SCOTUS (?).. As I understand this - it 'says' that corporations are people too. Wha ?

Therefore, we must remember that corporations are made up of *gab* people and should be held responsible for the - actions - of their corporations. This should hold for shareholders too.

*greedy-ass-bastards* And make public, the names of all these CEO's and shareholders so that they CAN/WILL be held accountable - to the - rest of us - citizens.

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Apr 6, 2023·edited Apr 6, 2023

Corporate Death Penalties NOW!

Corporations are chartered by states to serve the public. If they fail to do so, the state can revoke their charters. (For example: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/trump-university-scam/)

I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

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When inflation erupts, the best option is to ensure full employment so that maximum production of goods and services can keep prices down. In contrast, while a recessed economy may also reduce price pressure, it exacerbates inequality since families who lose their primary wage earners suffer even as the wealth of the rich is protected.

Higher interest rates that suppress demand do not resolve supply chain issues, prevent the spread of Covid, stop the war in Ukraine, or eliminate price-gouging, all of which drive inflation. A survey by The Economist shows that the economies of eight countries that sharply hiked their rates over the last year had weakened relative to the global average.

Relying on monetary policy is counter-productive. Instead we need better targeted tools such as strategic price controls, taxes on excessive profits, food and energy subsidies for the very poor, and a government Job Guarantee for all those who wish to contribute to society and earn their keep.

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Price fixing oil is the main reason that we had inflation. The best targeted tools are law suits against price fixers and price gougers.

“Big Oil is price gouging families because they can,” said Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif... “Enough is enough.”

Republicans and industry groups say there is no evidence of price gouging. Oil is a global commodity and prices are set on the global market. .https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/house-approves-bill-to-combat-gasoline-price-gouging

https://www.pahouse.com/McClinton/InTheNews/Opinion/?id=125120

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Daniel, isn't it interesting that corporations can claim all kinds of things like "there is no price gouging" and people eat it up like it is manna from heaven. Those corporations of course, are lying for their own benefit and rarely challenged seriously. When a very small number of people holds 40% of the wealth in this country, something is very wrong and needs to be corrected ASAP. OK, I'm kidding. I know that will not happen unless it is before the end of this year because Repubs are going to take over the House and they LOVE rich corporations who donate regularly to them, filling their coffers even more than the coffers of Dems. Because Repubs have no vision, they are stuck looking at the money pouring into them and the perks lobbyists give them for keeping anything important from happening, and, stopping corporate price-gouging is important. Why rock their financial boat!

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I used to be (among a lot of other things) a trial lawyer. If I represented a company that had to pay for energy that had been price fixed or price gouged, could recapture some of the costs from energy suppliers. E.G. long term contracts for fuel.

Same in many other industries that have been gouged.

If my company could recoup losses, would be able to beat the competition.

I probably already told you that given the position of OPEC as an ally of Putin, I'd declare economic war. Too many domestic companies are controlled by the Saudis.

We are the targets for industrial espionage, and outright fraud by other foreign entities. E.G. Today, Danske Bank A/S pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit $2 billion to resolve an investigation into the Denmark-based company's fraud on U.S. banks. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/danske-bank-pleads-guilty-forfeits-2b-on-doj-fraud-investigation-271670954667

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Daniel, I so wish there were something mere mortals could do about this cheating, fraud, and more. It is hard not to feel helpless in the face of the extreme efforts being employed to cause harm.

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First, need more budget for prosecution. More IRS agents.

Second, “qui tam” actions, permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the United States to recover money that was fraudulently obtained by a person or corporation. https://www.whistleblowers.org/faq/false-claims-act-qui-tam/

I heard 22 kinds of whistleblower cases. All have fee shifting statutes. There are also some agencies like SEC and HHS that will pay bounties.

I also support the "private attorney general" concept. The private attorney general doctrine is a common law rule that recognizes special circumstances when a particular interest or right that impacts the public at large is vindicated by a specific case with specific plaintiffs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_attorney_general#United_States

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Daniel:

Katie for Senate!

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founding

👏👏👏

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

The Fed says my wages are too high. Last year inflation waa 5% and that year I had a 3% raise. So I had a 2% pay cut. This year inflation is 9% and I had another 3% raise for another 6% pay cut. Or 8% pay cut over two years. The price on all consumables shot up and any loans I have are variable or have been directly affected by the Fed rate. This has tipped me into taking loans to pay debt which means more interest which means more debt. Paying off inflation with what little personal wealth I have and giving it ro corporations is absolutely insane. I hear the Fed and the Treasurer saying words and its all fantasy land The treasurer on 60min said she didnt want the little people to be forgotten. I'd prefer a little more fight on our behalf than lip service from someone who doesnt see that minimum wage raise my wife got this and last year became a wash with inflation. We make too much money. Change the word we for Corporations and yeah those are the folks that need to suffer.

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Bill, alas, I think for corporations and Republicans, suffering is the point. However, that suffering must be someone else's, not their leaders' and must have a cause. It has been so easy blaming Democrats for it. Republican voters live in their little bubble where all the information they choose to get distracts them from looking for actual causes for what is happening to them and directing their whines and complaints toward Democrats, the only major party who tries to make things better for the average person as well as those struggling. I still have not found one thing Republicans have done to help anyone but themselves in the past say, 45 years. Their laws and executive orders as well as Supreme Court rulings have done a lot of harm, though.

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The CHIPS act helps American corporations and on a side note americn workers. $52 billion with $13 billion for R&D and workforce development. At best that is 25% for workforce development. Since it is a fraction of workforce development Im guessing it will be 1% which is what we are already getting. The companies Ive worked for have given less and less job training. Trying to trickle down wealth didnt work in the Regan years and it still wont work now. If Democrats keep supporting bills like this it only reinforces the wealth and inequality that we have in this country consolidating more power in already wealthy corporations which again will adversely affect elections. The numbers have to go in the opposite direction.

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CHIPS Act: More corporate welfare!

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Seems like these days corporate welfare is the only thing both parties agree on.

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If tRump were smart enough (good luck!) he would initiate open war against the Fed. His base is being hurt as badly as the rest of us 99%ers, if not worse. He just needs to convince people that the Fed is a bunch of woke, baby-eating groomers.

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But, thanks to Citizens United, the John Roberts’ Court assured Corporations they can get the best government money can buy. Good luck getting Congress to intervene...too much money coming their way.

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Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

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Bully! (Not in the attacks weak folks way, the TR way, he defended the weak)

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He died a long time ago.

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Too bad for us. He had the gonads to break up monopolies.

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And Teddy was a Republican...where did that thinking go?

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So too was Lincoln a Republican. Watch what they do, not what they say.

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He was Republican. After the trying to bust monopolies he lost his role in the party and started the Bull Moose Party. And that's another story

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

You hit the nail on the head once again, Professor Reich. The Fed has been grossly unfair to most of the American people. My small household alone is going without things we just cannot afford anymore. The organic chicken I like is $15.00 per pound… lettuce, $6.00 per pound.

It is as though all retailers got together in a huddle and said “On the count of three - We shrink the size of our merchandise, change the ingredients to cut corners and save on costs, RAISE PRICES ACROSS THE BOARD and deliver them an inferior unsatisfactory product because there’s nothing they can do about it… ”

I am so glad you wrote about this gross injustice; thank you.

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

The Albertson/Kroger merger is the latest effort to increase profits and hurt all their consumers. https://www.grocerydive.com/news/heres-what-to-know-about-the-kroger-albertsons-merger/637914/

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Wow! I ceased shopping at Balducci’s recently for this reason. Not only that, they will no longer offer their 10% monthly coupon unless you download their App. I do not use the apps built into my phone as it is! And what about elderly folks that do not use cell phones?

I clip coupons and buy all of my produce at a private corner market who over the course of some 40 years has found the very best local veggies and fruits.

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I was in a local mall yesterday for the first time in probably 10 years. I needed to find the optician, but when I looked at the so-called "Diirectory" in the entrance the only info was a QR code and an invitation to download the Simon Stores App. As if...

Just what I need, more land-rapers sticking their noses into my computers.

In a humorous note, the completion of my transaction was expedited by a fire at the optician. Not a very big one....

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Barbara, the huge grocery store merger is just crazy! How is it even being proposed? IF anything, those huge stores need to be cut into smaller pieces that are more local.

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Depends where you live....in some states you can sue for price gouging. Need some evidence to support your allegations.

https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/price-gouging-state-statutes.aspx

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Thanks very much!

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Avoid Unilever products!!!!

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Anne, the price fixing and product shrinking, etc. really does look like collusion, which is supposedly illegal. It seems challenging corporations on their bad behavior just isn't lucrative enough these days to pursue.

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So true, Ruth. There was one local market that “held out” on their price gauging but now they jumped on the bandwagon and every single market where I shop is seemingly (knowingly) milking us for every penny they can. Perhaps it’s time to write to my congressman… Jamie Raskin is wonderful, and virtually every time I write to him I get a personal reply. Ok…. I’m on it!

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Anne, you are lucky to have a caring congressperson. I am lucky in that way too. Mine is Mary Gay Scanlon, a marvel because she will stand up to and with anyone on behalf of the people of our district and this nation. She is aware of this price-gouging and says she is working with others to get some legislation to stop it, but alas, Republicans don't seem to care very much about this. They are preparing to go after Hunter Biden's laptop and other BS, again doing nothing for the people of this nation. I am still waiting to hear of one thing Republicans have initiated to help anyone but themselves and their rich friends in the past 45 years. I suspect their streak of not helping will continue.

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founding

I don’t think it’s “as if,” Anne. I think that’s exactly what they did.

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You are right… it’s pretty obvious they are ripping all of us off.

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Dec 13, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Great to see someone clearly stating the real world causes of the current inflation. The "experts" focusing myopically on US monetary policy destroy their credibility every time they ignore the obvious: global forces and corporate greed. No small measure of blame must go to the bankers involved.....who must find higher interests rate irresistible after a decade of low rates....so the banker drumbeat for higher rates rolls onward around the world. Most of the media is as complicit or clueless as ever.

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Steve your points are spot on. Global - we made ourselves dependent upon China and they quit producing. (Supply/demand) Corporate greed - nuff said. Bankers - this is all intentional. The PPP handout allowed the wealthy to buy what they wanted including real estate, the wealthy are cash rich so the interest rates only hurt the people who have to borrow for cars and houses and ... Christmas. My guess is that the first move our new congress will make is towards harsher chapter seven laws too.

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Steve, yes, I also have wondered how everyone but the few folks like Dr. Reich missed the obvious, that corporate greed is driving a lot of the inflation. It just shows how easily we the people are directed and misdirected by media that often have their own agendas. You are also right about the role of banks in this current inflation insanity. I had not even considered how much they would like ripping off their customers with higher interest rates, shorter hours open, and lack of customer support, something I have found with the bank I have been with for twenty years. They even refused to investigate fraud done against me. I suspect it is an inside job, but can't prove it. I don't know what to do about that or the glee with which banks hit customers with the high interest rates that are going to really hurt them and a whole lot of other people.

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This is why boycotting is important. The public has to be aware of the names of the corporations s, their products and tell store owners WHY they are boycotting which products.

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How can the American Public remain "aware" of anything when the means of obtaining news of any sort is completely controlled by only four or five privately owned Corporations? Corporations and their millionaire/billionaire/trillionaire owners who seem more intent on magnifying the chaos with their digital algorithms and issuing more and more misinformation through fake news channels such as Musk's Twitter and Rupert Murdoch's world-wide propaganda machine. Personally, I miss the Fairness Doctrine. (1949 - 1987)

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For example, take a look at the products marketed by the Koch Brothers’ companies. And Walmart, whose health and welfare benefits are paid by American taxpayers. And, and, and...

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"This is wrong. It’s bad economics. It’s insane politics. And it’s profoundly unfair." One could even say it is immoral, but does anyone care about that?

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Thank you, Robert. Tell the Fed! Loud and clear!

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American GREED continues to show its ugly head!

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And it will never stop...

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Retailers and food companies are planning price increases on basic necessities to compensate for lower volumes. The cost of living for consumers is affecting the quality of life in this Country.

My parents lived through the Great Depression and World War II. There was a sense of everyone being in the same boat mentality at that time. It feels now that there is a permanent underclass that can never achieve economic stability irregardless of their hardwork.

Losing the hope of upward mobility means changing how we define success.

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Biden took the easy way out and reappointed Powell to another term. Powell is so out of touch with those of us who are just normal human beings. Elizabeth Warren voted against confirming Powell to another term. I agreed with her, as I do on many other issues. This is such a challenging time for so many families and retirees. My parents Social Security benefit went up, their Medicare premium went down. However both their Prescription Drug Plan and their Plan G went up 40%! At least we are not in the UK, where libraries have set up “warm banks” providing warm drinks, toast, food to take home, clothing racks, and companionship. (Guardian article by Amelia Gentleman, December 13 2022). Her article is really worth reading.

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Linda:

We should refuse to support Biden in 2024 if he doesn't get rid of Powell. (And DeJoy too, for that matter.) Powell is killing us all (except the 1%).

AFAIK Marianne Williamson is the only Dem to have declared for 2024. A boost in her fundraising might send a message.

My guess is Biden hasn't announced yet because he and the DNC know he's in trouble, so he wants to leave himself a defensible exit strategy.

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