Archive | November, 2011

Why young voters love Ron Paul – 2012 Elections – Salon.com

28 Nov

First, whereas in earlier eras such establishment hostility to a politician’s position could prevent that candidate from making a serious run for president, polls show Paul’s foreign-policy message is likely getting through to a key demographic, giving him a genuine shot at his party’s nomination.

Second, whether Paul eventually wins the GOP nomination or not, the trends embedded in his current electoral coalition will affect our politics long after his candidacy is over — and even if you don’t support Paul’s overall candidacy, that’s a decidedly positive development for those who favor a new foreign policy.

via Why young voters love Ron Paul – 2012 Elections – Salon.com.

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Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C. – NYTimes.com

28 Nov

The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the S.E.C.’s $285 million settlement, announced last month, is “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest” because it does not provide the court with evidence on which to judge the settlement.

via Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C. – NYTimes.com.

How should we design the cities of our dreams? – Dream City – Salon.com

28 Nov

The dirty secret of our urban rebound is that today’s cities are more economically segregated than they were in the ’70s. By 2005, only 4.6 percent of the homes for sale in New York were affordable to people making the city’s median income. In L.A., rental prices doubled in a decade while wages grew by less than one-fifth. And Washington, D.C., has become the wealthiest city in America by income — even though the jobless rate in its poorest neighborhood is the highest in the country.

via How should we design the cities of our dreams? – Dream City – Salon.com.

Robert Frank responds on Black Friday — Marginal Revolution

27 Nov

In my recent book, The Darwin Economy, I defend the claim that taxes on activities that cause undue harm to others could generate more than enough revenue to balance the federal budget and restore our crumbling infrastructure. We should tax congestion, noise, and pollution. We should tax passenger vehicles by weight. We should replace the income tax with a more steeply progressive tax on consumption. But until we’ve done all that, no champion of liberty has any cogent reason to oppose replacing taxes on useful activities with taxes on harmful ones.

via Robert Frank responds on Black Friday — Marginal Revolution.

The Death of the Fringe Suburb – NYTimes.com

27 Nov

Over all, only 12 percent of future homebuyers want the drivable suburban-fringe houses that are in such oversupply, according to the Realtors survey. This lack of demand all but guarantees continued price declines. Boomers selling their fringe housing will only add to the glut. Nothing the federal government can do will reverse this.

Many drivable-fringe house prices are now below replacement value, meaning the land under the house has no value and the sticks and bricks are worth less than they would cost to replace. This means there is no financial incentive to maintain the house; the next dollar invested will not be recouped upon resale. …

The good news is that there is great pent-up demand for walkable, centrally located neighborhoods in cities like Portland, Denver, Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tenn. The transformation of suburbia can be seen in places like Arlington County, Va., Bellevue, Wash., and Pasadena, Calif., where strip malls have been bulldozed and replaced by higher-density mixed-use developments with good transit connections.

via The Death of the Fringe Suburb – NYTimes.com.

For Occupying Protesters, Deadlines and Decisions – NYTimes.com

26 Nov

Come Sunday, should the protesters accept the city’s proposal for a part-time occupation across the street, bringing a new phase of the movement without overnight camping? Should they stay at the site, inviting an attention-getting confrontation with the police? Or should they join a march of the homeless to a nearby rail yard? (Dennis Payne, a homeless man who was spreading the word about the march, said he wanted to move other homeless people “out of the way” of a potential clash.)

Partly joking, Mr. Pierce said he would like to see protesters move to Rittenhouse Square, one of the city’s wealthiest pockets. There, he said, “a lot more of the right kind of people would get annoyed.”

Similar conversations were taking place in Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said Friday that protesters, who had been allowed to remain on the lawn outside City Hall for almost two months, had to disperse by 12:01 a.m. Monday. A Twitter page for the Occupy L.A. movement put out a call on Friday evening for “back up” from other Occupy-aligned groups in California.

via For Occupying Protesters, Deadlines and Decisions – NYTimes.com.

The Age of the Superfluous Worker – NYTimes.com

25 Nov

America will have to finally get serious about preserving and creating jobs — and on a larger, and more lasting, scale than Roosevelt’s New Deal. Private enterprise and government will have to think in terms of industrial policy, and one that emphasizes labor-intensive economic growth and innovation. Reducing class sizes in all public schools to 15 or fewer would require a great many new teachers even as it would raise the quality of education.

In the long run, reducing working time — perhaps to as low as 30 hours a week, with the lost income made up by unemployment compensation — would lead to a modest increase in jobs, through work sharing. New taxes on income and wealth are unavoidable, as are special taxes on the capital-intensive part of the economy. Policies that are now seemingly utopian will have to be tried as well, and today’s polarized and increasingly corporate-run democracy will have to be turned into a truly representative one.

via The Age of the Superfluous Worker – NYTimes.com.

Russell Simmons On Occupy Wall Street: ‘It Is My Moral Duty To Do This’

25 Nov

No celebrity supports the “Occupy” movement more fervently than Russell Simmons, founder of DefJam and GlobalGrind.com and author of Super Rich: A Guide To Having It All. Not only has he visited Occupy Wall Street nearly every day since the protests began, but he has started on a cross-country tour of different protest sites to gather grassroots support for his proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban private donations to candidates running for federal public office.

via Russell Simmons On Occupy Wall Street: ‘It Is My Moral Duty To Do This’.

Civilian-Military Gap Grows as Fewer Americans Serve – NYTimes.com

25 Nov

A smaller share of Americans currently serve in the Armed Forces than at any other time since the era between World Wars I and II, a new low that has led to a growing gap between people in uniform and the civilian population, according to a new survey. …

“What we have is an armed services that’s at war and a public that’s not very engaged,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. “Typically when our nation is at war, it’s a front-burner issue for the public. But with these post-9/11 wars, which are now past the 10-year mark, the public has been paying less and less attention.”

Sounds like an argument to bring the troops home and set them to work rebuilding America.

via Civilian-Military Gap Grows as Fewer Americans Serve – NYTimes.com.

We Are the 99.9% – NYTimes.com

25 Nov

For who are the 0.1 percent? Very few of them are Steve Jobs-type innovators; most of them are corporate bigwigs and financial wheeler-dealers. One recent analysis found that 43 percent of the super-elite are executives at nonfinancial companies, 18 percent are in finance and another 12 percent are lawyers or in real estate. And these are not, to put it mildly, professions in which there is a clear relationship between someone’s income and his economic contribution.

Executive pay, which has skyrocketed over the past generation, is famously set by boards of directors appointed by the very people whose pay they determine; poorly performing C.E.O.’s still get lavish paychecks, and even failed and fired executives often receive millions as they go out the door.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis showed that much of the apparent value created by modern finance was a mirage. As the Bank of England’s director for financial stability recently put it, seemingly high returns before the crisis simply reflected increased risk-taking — risk that was mostly borne not by the wheeler-dealers themselves but either by naïve investors or by taxpayers, who ended up holding the bag when it all went wrong. And as he waspishly noted, “If risk-making were a value-adding activity, Russian roulette players would contribute disproportionately to global welfare.”

via We Are the 99.9% – NYTimes.com.