|April 8, 2013|
|President Obama announced last week he’ll be turning back 5 percent of his salary, as a gesture of solidarity with furloughed federal employees. The move will cost the President $20,000 out of his $400,000 annual salary.A few days earlier, news reports revealed that Danaher CEO Larry Culp has become the latest corporate chief exec to join the $100 million club. Culp collected $106.4 million last year. He essentially made more in a day — for running a tech firm — than the President made for the entire year.|
The most telling line from PBS’s Frontline piece ‘The Untouchables,’ on the absence of criminal prosecutions for the large-scale bank lending fraud behind the financial crisis of 2008, came when the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Enforcement division, Lanny Breuer, voiced his concern that bringing criminal charges might cause thousands of bankers to lose their jobs. This came after voluminous evidence was provided that senior bankers, including former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, were culpably aware the mortgage securitization businesses they were running were purchasing, packaging and re-selling trillions of dollars of mortgage loans that were never intended to be paid. It also came after it was known the economic calamity caused by corrupt bankers cost tens of millions of people around the globe their jobs, homes, life savings and all hope for a better future.
If you’re receiving Social Security, you know that Social Security benefits are modest. The average Social Security benefit is just $14,800 per year. In other words, Social Security beneficiaries make just about as much as a full-time minimum wage worker. With retirement savings low and private pensions hard to come by, that’s not much after a lifetime of work.
Social Security is the main source of income for the majority of American retirees, so it’s important that Social Security
The 2012 Social Security Trustees Report predicts that the Social Security retirement trust fund will run dry in 2035.
If Social Security retirement funds are used to make up shortfalls in the Social Security disability programs, that date moves up to 2033.
That’s hardly tomorrow, but it’s close enough to be worth worrying about.
“Hell is Truth Seen Too Late”
The Parable of the Frogs
by MORRIS BERMAN
One who knows “enough is enough” always has enough.–Tao Te Ching
What does it take to produce large-scale social change? Most historians, if you catch them in an honest moment, will admit that the popular levers of social change, such as education or legislation, are bogus; they don’t really amount to very much. What does make a difference–and then only potentially–is massive systemic breakdown, such as occurred in the United States in the fall of 2008. It was the greatest market crash since 1929, leading to widespread unemployment (something like 18% of the population, in real–as opposed to official–statistics*) and the loss of billions of dollars in retirement savings. In fact, the crash wiped out $11.1 trillion in household wealth, and this is not counting the several trillion lost in stock market investments.
by Salvatore Babones, Inequality.org
In theory the federal government will bump up against the debt ceiling in late February or early March. Ever since George Bush’s 2001 tax cuts the government hasn’t collected enough in taxes to cover its obligations. As a result the national debt gets higher and higher every year.
Congress has currently authorized the federal government to borrow no more than $16,394,000,000,000. The government hit that limit on December 31, 2012. With no further ability to borrow money, that means we’re now living on borrowed time. The federal government still has money coming in, so it doesn’t have to stop spending entirely, but like a struggling family it has to start prioritizing which bills to pay. The Treasury Department expects to be able to shift funds around to keep paying all bills through March 1.