Tuesday, December 25, 2012

BusinessWeek: Housing policies of the rich have contributed to unemployment

Bloomberg Business Week


Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a great story on the lack of affordable housing in the suburbs contributing US income inequality. However, make a more startling argument that rich neighborhoods are using zoning and land use laws to keep the poor from jobs in high income area.. This "discrimination" has stopped the shrinkage of the rate of income inequality that existed from 1880 to 1980.

The business week article is based on a paper by "Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag" called "Why has regional income convergence in the US Stopped". Both work a Harvard University.

What's new in the paper is they have developed a data set that models communities land use and zoning laws.  The restrictions increase the price of housing.

barriers to the poor in high income areas are discriminatinon against the poor by the rich though zoning lawas and regulation is responsibile for a large amount if income inequality.  That is unemployment due to geographic mis-match has contributed to income inequality. Interestingly, city with less restricted housing policies have not been affected by income inequality.




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dr. Dre shelters income in Ireland

Andre Young (Dr. Dre) is setting up three legal entities in Ireland to shelter income from the European sales of his beats head phones.  The fake corporations were set-up by and accounting firm in Cork, Ireland.  According to the article. Beats headphones has no other presence in Ireland.

The Irish Herald has the story here. 

The story in the Irish Independent is here.

Brown University Economic Impact Statement



Here is a report from Brown University detailing it's economic impact on the Rhode Island and Providence communities.  The report is here for 2012.

Year 2012
Year 2009
Year 2005

We go back and forth on these reports.  They are clearly done for public relations reasons.  Brown Univeristy must be feeling some heat to produce these reports.

On the other had we believe in making public investment decisions based on hard facts like cost benefit analysis.  These rudimentary economic impact reports are a good first step when state and local goverments have to make decisions about infrastructure and services.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't try do this at home kids: UK Austerity Update from NYT


The New York Times has a long look at UK austerity program under David Cameron's Conservative government. The New York Times article is here.  Cameron recently announced the austerity would continue for another five years.

The UK Independent has a piece on the UK budget deficit worsening.  The article from the UK Independent is here.

Here is a discussion in the London Review of Books calling the Cameron / Osborne policy a failure.  The story by John Lanchester.  He has a great reference in it to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook (October 2012) publication. On Page 41, of IMF Outlook,  they discuss the multiplier used calculating the effect of government spending cuts on the larger economy.  The IMF suggests that the GDP reduction effect could be as high as 1.7 times the cut.  In other word, removing 100 Billion pounds in spending would reduce economic activity by 170 Billion pounds.  Not something you want to be doing during a recession.

So you have to ask if the savings are worth crippling the economy.

In our opinion, voters want simple solutions to complicated problems and politicians are willing to do just that.

Thank goodness the US federal reserve has the right idea: Low, predictable interest rates for the short and medium term, short term stimulus until unemployment falls to a certain level and pressure on policy makers for gradually reduce long-term healthcare costs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

UK Guardian: Starbucks, Google and Amazon in the press for paying no UK taxes



The press in the UK has seized the issue of the large corporation paying little or no taxes in the United Kingdom.

Here is a story about Members of Parliament requesting action on tax avoidance.  In the UK Guardian. According to the story Starbucks paid no UK taxes in the past three years and paid only 8.6 million pound in UK taxes on sales of 3.1 Billion.  A rate of 0.28% or about a quarter of 1%.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Which tax havens do the top 100 US companies use

Every wonder which countries the Fortune 100 use for the tax shelters ?  Well the government already knows.  Here is a report from the GAO that lists which countries helped the Fortune 100 avoid taxes. It also lists the countries used by the top 100 government contractors.

The report from the GAO in 2009 is here. GOA Tax Shelter Report.  It list which countries are used by which companies to avoid paying US taxes.

The financial industry was the leader in the number of tax shelter companies followed by the pharmaceutical and high-tech industries.  Both industries transfer their patents or other assets to low tax jurisdictions and then collect royalties.  They also earn profits outside the US and then use the money for overseas investments.

NY Times: Poverty in Japan


New York Times to the rescue always. I was looking for something on poverty in Japan.  I was trying to find a developed post-industrial country comparable to the US which may have followed an economic route similar to us and has a aging population.  It does not look good for the US. 

Is their a "Real" Skills Gap in Manufacturing ?



I came across this publication from the Manufacturing Institute describing a skills gap in manufacturing in the united states.  Skills Gap in Manufacturing.

I have a lot of problems with the report.  1) It seems totally self-serving.  The manufacturing industry wants better skilled employees, but does not want to pay any more money in wages or benefits. 2) They want federal, state and local governments to pay for closing the gap.3) Proposes the manufacturing industry do little or nothing different to close the gap.

We realize manufacturers are in a very tight bind between off shore price pressure and low domestic demand. However, we would propose more internal cross-training and job flexibility along with employee ownership, not just outsourcing the problem to the government.


37% do not collect unemployment benefits

USA today has a story on uncollected unemployment benefits.

USA Today Story is Here. 

Fix the Debt: Simpson - Bowles Plan

Fix the Debt: Simpson - Bowles Plan

First, let us state that the US Debt discussion is a smoke screen to cut social spending and the government. Period. The real problem is lack of jobs.  It is purely and ideological augment over the size and scope of government.  The financial markets could careless and the same goes for consumers.


Given all that we like the Simpson Bowles plan. Many of the CEOs who visited the white house recently support the plan.  Simpson Bowles raises taxes oh the rich, cuts military spending and curbs social security and health care costs. It also taxes corporate gains at the same rate as income.

Here are some of the CEO's that support the plan. The CEO Council of Fix the Debt

Fix the Debt 
Moment of Truth

You can Google Simpson Bowles at "National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform" oe read more here.

While not directly criticizing the plan the IPS, The Institute for Policy Studies has a counter argument here. 

Finally, we are opposed to a territorial tax which would let companies bring revenue's back to the United States without paying taxes when the revenue is taxed overseas. Foreign taxes and US taxes are part of the cost of doing business.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

NY Times: Corporate Subsidies



The New York times has a series on government subsidies for corporations. How taxpayers bankroll business.  The series took 10 months of analysis and reporting

Very deep, well researched and though provoking amount of quality journalism.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Starbucks paid no taxes in the UK last year



There is a big battle in England over corporate taxes. Last several large companies paid no taxes


The British Broadcasting Corporation has a long story here: Tax: Starbucks in talks with UK's Revenue and Customs.

Starbucks has 700 stores in the UK and sales of 400 million pound (600 million dollars) but paid no UK corporate taxes. Instead transfers all its profit to a "shell" company in the Netherlands as royalties   Microsoft, Google and Amazon all pay abnormally low taxes in the UK.

The article also had a strange quote from chancellor George Osborne saying the UK must remain "Tax competitive"  with other countries to attract corporations. The truth is the United Kingdom would be attractive to starbucks and other coffee sellers regardless of the tax rate.  In a tax reasonable environment, starbucks wants to be in the United Kingdom.

Political leaders are doing a disservice to their country, communities and people by not collecting more taxes from companies like Starbucks 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Senate Bill S. 1346 - Stop Tax Have Abuse Act




Carl Levin, Democratic senator from Michigan, is sponsoring a bill, S1346, to stop the abuse of offshore tax havens by US corporations.  The bill was introduced in July of 2011.  The details are here.

Here is a great detailed review from Citizens for Tax Justice. If you want to understand some of the accounting and legal tricks used to avoid US taxes, this document has plenty.

The bill would increase reporting requirements for offshore entities and treat tax entities managed by US companies as domestic corporations.

It also extends anti-money laundering reporting to off shore tax entities.

It would ban tax consultant contingent fees.

It also support the IRS process of issuing "John Doe" summons for tax information.

You can read the full bill summary here. S1346 Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.

This bill has a snowballs chance in hell of passing.


Federal government program for low-income poeple



Here is a nice, comprehensive list of federal programs designed to benefit lower-income people.

CRS report federal programs for low-income people.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

GOP on reducing poverty



Here are some Republican ideas on reducing poverty at the Republican Study Committee web-site. The web site is here.

The discussion covers two very minor programs: one program is the social work of a ministry in Richmond  VA and the second is in Washington DC that helps children walk safely to school in bad neighborhoods.

That is it. That's all.  Pretty laughable. They are just completely, intellectually absent from the problems of poverty in the US.  It is just incredible.

The lack of any substantial proposal implies that their are no acceptable Republican answers.   If there was private market based solution they would be all over it.  So, let's play devils advocate. Let's assume they have good research people and are genuinely interested in helping poor people, then should have produced some ideas or policies.   Their complete lack of ideas supports the idea that solutions to poverty must come from the government. Poverty cannot be fixed though market mechanisms, it must be handled by government using public funds from taxes.

Since the national Republicans don't have a solution, they ignore the problem.Where is Jack Kemp when you need him ?.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Frontline: Poor kids



FRONTLINE from PBS had a documentary on kids in poverty called Poor Kids.

The show uses interviews with the kids themselves to explain what their lives are like. The kids are in poverty because their parents have lost their jobs.

More detailed information is available at the National Center for Children in Poverty such as 21% of children in the US are in poverty.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hostess Mess: What can we learn ?

There was lots of news this week about Hostess Bakeries.  Hostess makes Wonder bread and Hostess Twinkies along with other bakery items. Hostess employed approximately 18,000 workers mostly bakery and route delivery(salesmen) workers. Sales have been declining for many years. The company went bankrupt in 2004 and emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 during which it's workers took pay cuts.  It is current owned by a private equity firm called Ripplewood Partners.

The company said it would close operations without further concessions for the workforce. As of November 21st, 2012, the company said it would sell it's brands and stop operations.

Here is the story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on bad management workers relations.
Here is the best story I have found on all of the details around Interstate Bakeries /  Hostess from the DailyNewsFinder.

=======================================================================
Here is how we see the issue.  OK, this is a fantastic, teachable moment for the US in 2012.  But not about union givebacks or job losses.  Instead, it's about straight up bad management and how little power workers have in a tight economy.  It is also about how non-transparent financial reporting by private equity firms is compared to public firms The workers may have had an inkling, but could not accurately judge if the company was in real trouble or management was "lying again".

So, to the Evil Black Economist Blog, it like a simple, "bad" management bankruptcy over a eight year period. The problems were obscured by limited private equity reporting. We will have to wait for all the facts, but it looks like Hostess was not a going concern they way it was structured with huge amounts of debt. And both management and the union were using the company for excessive benefits.  No amount of "good" management would have saved the company. It should have been  liquidated for it's brands and factories years ago. If, I was the owner, I would have been talking to Bimbo for years.

Here are some facts I am looking for in the public bankruptcy filing.
1) Were earnings before interest and taxes positive? growing?
2) Was hostess adding new products? Customers? Increasing prices? or was the company shrinking?
3) What did the cost side look like?  Were commodity prices or wages causing problem? Were management and labor costs similar to the rest of the industry or they overpaid?
4) Why did private equity change leadership so often? (may not be available).

I don't see a lot to support for the political arguments others are reading into the matter.  It is a simple, and sad, bankruptcy where a lot of people get hurt. I challenge everyone to follow-up on the story and really read the chapter 11 filings when they come out.

And now for some personal opinion.

I believe, companies, especially private equity firms, need to be more transparent with their workers (open book accounting) about how the company is doing. So I am calling for regulations to make PE legal entities provide better reporting to their workers and the public.

Second,  he workers need to have some equity in the company.






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Robert Balfanz: Education Dropout Predictor




I saw a piece on PBS FRONTLINE about the work of Robert Balfanz a researcher at the Center of Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Balfanz has done a lot of work on predicting when kids will drop out of high school.

Like us here at the Evil Black Economist Blog, he believes middle school is the key place for determining a kid's life trajectory.

Here is a a long term study of Dropout Trends in the Philadelphia School System.  You can find more of his work on the web.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Stranger: Legalizing Pot will reduce the Black incarceration rate


We here are the Evil Black Economist have long been in favor of legalizing Marijuana because of the jobs it will create.  Here is another great benefit.  It will reduce the Black incarceration rate as well.  Here is the story from the Stranger. 

NY Times: Part-time work

Another brilliant piece as only the new New York Times can do.  This one is on the the companies shifting part-time workers schedules.  Here.

The stories are quite sad as we race to the bottom.

Madem Noire: Joseph Stiglitz says the "The American Dream" is dead



Here is a story from Madem Noire that quotes Joseph Stiglitz's provocative idea that "The American Dream is Dead".  Here.

Mother Jones: Urban farms reduce crime



Mother Jones has a story on urban farms reducing crime. Here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Emmanuel Saez paper on Income Inequality



Here is the paper everyone is talking about by Emmual Saez on income inequality.

Legatum Prosperity Index


I got this site, Prosperity.Com,  from Foreign Policy magazine.  The article from Foreign Policy Magazine is here. And the Legatum Prosperity Index is here. The report is here. The article links the delcine in prosperity to a lower opportunity score because of income inequity.

Foreign Policy: US prosperity slipping


Here is story from Foreign Policy regarding shrinking prosperity in the united states.  Here.http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/30/whats_happening_to_american_prosperity

Monday, October 29, 2012

AP Poll: Majority of Americans have negative view of Blacks



Here is a very important piece on a public opinion poll conducted for the Associated Press.  The survey asked about Americans attitudes toward American Blacks.  Here are the results from the Associated Press as featured in the Washington Post . The piece is notable for several reasons.

1) It is rare to see an article detailing peoples attitudes toward a racial group.
2) The story provoked a huge, honest, and unfiltered discussion as detailed in the comments. There were over 5000 comments.
3) The anonymity of the internet lets people express their true feelings; including their honest, racist views.
 You also have to read the comments to get a full and board idea of peoples individual attitudes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Guardian UK: UK corporate tax bills close to zero

Here is a story from the Guardian in the UK about IKEA, eBay and Starbucks paying abnormally low corporate taxes. Hopefully, governments, which need the extra revenue, will crack down on non value added (sham) transactions.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Three people got fired at my job yesterday

Getting fired sucks. I overheard three people getting fired on Friday.   I work in the computer field and the company outsourced it's computer room to a hosting facility last January.  Very few corporations actually own their own computer systems any more.  Instead the lease time and space on remote computers on a monthly or yearly basis at a managed hosting facility.

One of the network guys, Reggie, who I only talked to a little bit, left immediately.  I guess he knew what was up and had good skills.

But two other guys, Sam and Kevin, stayed.  Sam, had been with the company for 15 years and worked as a computer operator.  He was a local guy with a high school education.  When they outsourced the computer systems, they gave Sam a job on the helpdesk. But Sam had trouble keeping up and answering calls.

Kevin, the late shift operator, who used to cover 4pm to 12am really had no work at all.  I think he had a second job some place.  He was an immigrant from a west Asian country.  He was down to managing backup tapes.

That, along with a 3rd guy, in computer support, whom I did not know at all, were let go a 4:30 on Friday.  Bam !  Pack your stuff, give me you access card, get out.

So, I am trying to decide if the company did the right thing and if it even matters.

Long story short, I gotta look for a job with more job-security like teaching or the government.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mother Jones: Warehouse work



Here is a nice story about the current work environment in warehouses today.
The story is a bit dramatic but accurate. Mother Jones

Saturday, October 13, 2012

French Entrepreneurs protest new taxes



Here is the same story about the french government asking millionaires entrepreneurs to pay more.  Here.  Seems like the same old story about whiney rich people who have more not wanting to pay more.

GrameenPhone: Example of unselfish capitalism



GrameenPhone is a good example of unselfish capitalism. Grameen Phone is part of the Garmeen bank empire and is set-up to offer low-cost phone service in Bangladesh  They realize phone service is critical to a developing economy.

US Energy Information Center


If you want basic information on energy and energy prices.  The place to go is the U.S Energy Information Administration.


Want to check average gas price around different regions of the US.It's here.

Militarized police offer peacekeeping answser


Italy is one of the few countries to a large and active national police force as part of it military strucutre.  The Carabinieri have police power jurisdiction over the military and civil matters both inside Italy and externally.  Basically they are the military police for the whole nation.  They are trained to military standards yet also enforce civil law.

There are many slights to the Carabineri but the police model is sound.

Many people have recoginzed this type of training is essential for peace keeping operations.

Here is the link to the Center for Excellence for Stability Police Units.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Bias in NYC specialized high school admission process

Here is a great story from "Dominon of New York" about bias in the Specialized High School Admission process in NYC. The link is here.   The story is a very good introduction to bias in getting into NYC elite high schools.

The link to the brief from the suite by the NAACP LDF is here.

Translation Advertising: Vertical Integration

Catching up on my news since July. Don't ask.  I didn't know Jay-Z partially owned an advertising company.  Translation LLC with Steve Stoute.

Here is some more on Steve Stoute from Wall Street Journal. Mr. Stoute has a website for his book "The Tanning of America."

Here is nice You Tube Video from Harvard Business Review.

South African Unemployment Rate: 24.9%

We are taking a quick peak at South African unemployment. We are using the South African Statistics Office information.

The Stats SA unemployment report is here. The reported rate is 24.9% which is down 0.8% (25.7%) from same period last year.

Here is a more detailed article on SA unemployment can be found in South Africa Info. Quote "4.5 Million people are out of work and 3 Million has be out of work longer than a year."

Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.2% annualized rate in the second quarter of 2012.

South Africa ranks 123rd in the UN Human Development Survey.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Two high level fashion media appointments

Huffington Post is reporting that two black women have received high media appointments.  Here. 

Wal-Mart workers strike in California



A group called Organization United for Respect at Walmart has staged one of the first strikes at a Wal-Mart store. Wal Mart has been very successful at avoiding unionization. Wal-mart make heavy use part-time and low paid workers. A story link from ABC News is here. The group is known as OurWalmart for short. Their web site is call forrespect.org.   The article reported the group is backed by the the United Food and Commercial  Workers Union and UFCW has a link on their website highlighting the protest.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Macy's to hire 80,000 temps during holidays

Macy's said it will hire 80,000 temporary workers during Christmas 2012.

Here is Macy's press release.  Here is a link to Macy's Jobs website.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NYTimes: Top tax rates and economic growth



Here is a great piece by NYT's David Leonhardt on a CRS study that top taxes rates have little effect on economic growth.

NY Times

Here is a link from the NY times website.
Congressional Research Service Report

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

"'Jobs report' is the hangover.



In August Mitt Romney called the July unemployment report, "A hammer blow to the middle class." We love such over the top rhetoric.

This months comment is a little tamer. Mitt said, referencing the DNC convention and the jobs report, "If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover."

Courtsey of ABC News.

LA Times also has the "hangover" story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Florida's report on Medicare Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Here is Florida's 2011 report on medicare waste fraud and abuse. Here. The document is part of a larger library of reports from the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.

We have been looking at documents relating to Medicare Quality and Measurement. Those documents are here. A lot of the work has been done by the Federal Medicare program and then filtered down to the states.

Florida is interesting because of the large number of for profit hospitals and healthcare organizations.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

NY Times: Editorial regarding the occupations effect on business

Here is an editorial from the New York Times blaming the Israeli occupation of Palestine as the cause for poor business performance. Here.

Jerusalem Post:Isreal Inside (A look at Israeli business and technology)

Romney's foot in mouth comment's about Israeli culture being better for business than Palestinian culture got us thinking about culture leading to success in business.

Here is a story from Jerusalem Post (and also covered on PBS) about a new film that is supportive of Israel's business and technical success. The filmmakers is clear about his goal: to provide public relations for Israel.

Jerusalem Post is Here.

Here is a link to the "Inside Israel" website.

Israel enjoys many advantages other countries do not have an active and well financed support network, a favorable treatment by trading partners, and financial support from the US government. One must look at Israel's success with some skepticism. However, the article (and film) make some important points about success. It is also interesting to see inside Israeli business and technology centers.

The film credits the success of Israeli business men and innovators with high value Israelis place on "family, education, volunteerism and diversity." Had to go for the direct quote's since there a have been several racial incidents against immigrants and the Haridim are not know for supporting diversity.

CNN: Are you poor if you own a flat-screen TV? or don't own a computer ?

CNN asks Are you poor if you own a flat screen TV. Are you poor if you don't own a computer ? The story has a somewhat provocative headline but at least discuss poverty. The article basically makes the point that poverty includes a basic but changing list of material goods.

We would argue the material list will soon be satisfied and the definition will be expanded to include health care, safe neighborhoods and a good education.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bossip's making it rain: A gallery of the highest paying careers

My blog and the government could learn a thing or two from Bossip.com. We could learn how to make a really boring story interesting. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released it yearly occupational outlook handbook listing the highest paying careers. Here is how the BLS presented the information. BLS OOH. The BLS information is here.

And here is the story Bossip came up with: "Making It Rain On Them H@#$: A Gallery Of The Highest Paying Career Choices In America Today. Both feature the exact same information.

Basically, you still want to be a doctor or a dentist.

Celebrity Net Worth

Inquiring minds want to know. Well here is the website for that. Of course it is just another way to get an internet ad in front of your face. But a pretty good one.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vanity Fair: Romney tax issues

Obama's political luck is amazing. Everyone he runs against self-destructs. Here is the Vanity Fair article about Mitt Romney's questionable tax shelters. Here. The Tax shelters are in Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Madam Noire - 8 prominent Black Economist

Look for some old gold and I found this one from the web site Madam Noire. It is a story on eight prominent black economists.

Here.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Is inequality good for us - BBC

And finally, the BBC has a program called in the balance where several people debate a busiiness issue. This program was on inequality

Is inequality good for us - BBC with Joseph Stiglitz, Edward Conard and Frances Caincross

Is inequality good for us ?

Predator Nation by Charles Furguson

Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America- Charles Furguson

Part 1 on interview on Democracy Now.
Part 2 of Interview on Democracy Now.

The author discusses how companies try to extract more money from consumers and steal market share from each other rather than expand the national income through innovation, growth and value added. The problem can be traced to the lower tax rate for investments and role of money in politics.

US Banking Crisis Movies

Ok, here is the movie and radio line up for the banking crisis plus a bonus on inequality.

Why read a book when you can watch the movie. I love these two movies on the banking crisis.
1) Too big to fail - 2011 - tv movie. To big to fail covers how close we were to financial meltdown. It shows how banks used their size to get the TARP bail-out with few conditions. This one is pretty exciting.


2) Inside job - 2010 -- charles furguson. Inside job discusses the cause of the financial crisis.


You should really watch the second movie first, however, Inside Job, is a little long and less exciting then too big to fail.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Senate proposes food stamp cuts

Sadly, one in seven people in the united states are on food stamps. The typical food stamp recipient has a monthly income of just over income over $700 or about $8400 dollars a year. They received $134 dollars in food stamp benefits. This story is courtesy of the Los Angles Times.

Here.

Here are some great details from the Congressional Budget Office. Here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

NYT: NYC Black feel the brunt of unemployment

Another excellent human interest story about black unemployment in NYC. Here. From the New York Time of course.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alice Walker in Foreign Policy Magazine

Alice Walker served as a Jurist on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine that determined Israel behaves as an apartheid state toward the Palestinian people. Here is an interview with Alice Walker in Foreign Policy Magazine. Here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another great piece on the real unemployment situation

The New York Times has another great piece on the real issue of our times: Unemployment. Here is a piece on how unemployment affect wages and lives of those just starting out.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Federal Government will require electronic benefit payment on March 1st, 2013

On March 1st, 2013, the federal government will required the electronic payment of federal benefits. People receiving federal benefits (VA, SSI, etc.) receive either direct deposit or credits on a pre-paid master card called "Direct Express". Here.

The marketing campaign is called "Go Direct". The programs is run by the US treasury.

"The private sector is doing fine." said the president in the WSJ.

Here is the link to the quote and story. Here: from the Wall Street Journal.

The president is right, but he just wasn't supposed to say. The comments revel the depth of the public's economic misunderstanding. So read the comments.

Basically in a 2% growth economy, the business sector of the economy has record profits. And, as the WSJ article noted, they are sitting on $2 Trillion in cash.

D-Mars Marketing and Communications in Houston, TX

Here is a link to the D-Mars marketing and communications agency. Also here. They publish a Black business directory for Houston, TX. They also produce the 50 top Black attorney's dinner awards.

Discrimination by Restaurant Servers. Real Research we like to see

Sarah Rusche has done a nice study of discrimination by wait staff in North Carolina. There are lots of links.

Here is the original PR. Here.

She surveyed 200 servers at 18 chain type restaurants. Eighty six percent were white. Nearly 40% admitted to letting race affect their level of customer service part of the time.

Here is a link to the article. Here.

A nice little piece of good old basic research (footwork). You just gotta call people on their racism.

Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine

I hope this is the real deal. A Black magazine devoted to Black Tourism !!! Yes.
Here.. However, I had a little trouble finding anything useful and specific. Lots of the same tourist brochures.

Affirmative Action for Veterans

The President has proposed a Veterans Job Corp. Here.

Just to be clear, we have no problem with special help being given to anyone to help finding a job especially for Veterans. The decision to join the armed forces is, while patriotic, often motivated by much more basic needs: employment and opportunity. Help with finding a job is a great extra benefit for the armed forces.

Global War on Terror costs $8.1 Billion

Just checking out the foreign appropriations bill in the house. The bill proposes to spend $8.2 Billion on Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and Global War on Terror(GWOT). However, it is a drop of $3 Billion

Here.

US gives Israel is $3.1 Billion; Threatens Egypt and PA

While the House Republicans are proposing a 5% cut to the foreign aid budget they are leaving the $3.1 Billion in security assistance to Israel untouched.

The appropriations bill also threatens all funds to Egypt, if it breaks the peace treaty with Israel. And it threaten the Palestinian Authority, if it seeks UN agency membership without Israel's agreement.

Here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Congressional Budget Office Budget Outlook

I really see two big problems around how complicated issues are discussed in the United States: the poor press coverage of complicated issues and it's evil twin, the public's unwillingness to read and understand complex issues.

Case in point is the Congressional Budget Office Budget Outlook which is the best assessment of the countries federal deficit and spending priorities. The projection goes out to 2015. The web page for the document is here.

This is the set of facts the politicians, lobbyist, news people, economists and commentators. The document is very straight forward and readable. The document says what we already know we would have s short term surplus if we let the bush tax cuts expire.

In the medium term domestic and defense spending is dropping slowly and in the long terms health care costs could double.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FDNY Discrimination and Police Actions increase city's legal cost to $815 Million

NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who audits New York City's book, noted: "the budget predicts legal judgments to grow to $815 million in fiscal 2016 from $665 million in 2012, in part because of increased claims from police actions and discrimination suits against the fire department."

So the cost of discrimination will be over $800 million dollars in 2016.

Business week cover's it here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

United Sued by Black Pilots for Discrimination

United Contenential Airlines was sued by a group of Black pilots who allege discrimination in upper management hiring practices. The story, as reported in Bloomberg Business Week is here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prosperity Without Growth Editorial in NYT

Tim Jackson who wrote "Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet" in 2009 has an editorial in the New York Times. Here. The editorial is about the need for low productivity and slower growth in the world economy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Republicans votes to reduce census

The House Republican budget proposes to cut money for the US census. It would kill off the American Community Survey which provides a more detailed look at individual communities. The Economic Census which captures business establishments details would also be stopped. You can read the census director's blog here.

Here is Rep. Daniel Webster's website on the bill. Here.

Youth Unemployment in UK is 25% amoug 21-25 year olds

Youth unemployment is a major problem in the UK and the rest of Europe. The rate is 25% among 21-24 year olds. Here is the story from AP via the Miami Herald.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Black Women "Body Image Survey" from Washington Post

Here is a link to the Survey of Black Women ("The Body Image Survey"). The results come from a Washington Post - Kaiser Family Foundation survey on 1,936 adult black women.

The media pick up on the data that show while black women are are more over weight they have higher self-esteem.

Both WP and KFF are at the fore front of good health reporting. The KFF is the absolute best source for what works in health care for the poor and minorities. And on top of that. Kaiser Permenente is always ranked near the top of healthcare organizations.

Lot's of catching up to do on May 26th, 2012

It a long weekend, so I have lots of time to catch up. Looks like I have not done anything since January February time frame, so here we go.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Reference: Kids First: Five Ideas for transforming kids lives and America's Future

Book Reference: Kids First: Five Ideas for transforming kids lives and America's Future by David Kirp

This book has been getting a lot of news play. The book outlines five strategies for improving childhood education:

1. Early childhood education
2. Parental involvement - teaching parents how to teach kids
3. Access to adult mentors
4. college / educational savings accounts
5. Linking schools and community services

Kirp is trying to bring together several successful strategies under an umbrella of childhood education.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Long time InterPublic Group staffer files discrimination suit

A long term employee of the InterPublic Group (IPG) has filed a racial discrimination suit accusing the firm of denying her promotion because she is Black and a visible minority. Joy C. Noel filed a $50 Million dollar lawsuit alledging discrimition in promotion and then subsequent retailation which is illegal under NY State law. The legal paperwrok was filed on her behalf by the plantiff by Eric Sanders of the Sanders Firm, PC.

You can read the full petition here. And here.

When you read the details in the position, you get a real feel for the day to day stress the plaintiff was under. Really very sad.

Advertising Age (Ad Age) also has an article on the topic. Here.


And finally, according to Ad Age, John Liu, has asked the four top companies to disclose personnel information by race, gender and position. The companies are IPG, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP. The advertising industry has long had a reputation for discriminating against Blacks and Hispanics.

Three reporters: Alexandra Bruell, Kunar Patel and Rupal Parekh at Advertising Age plus the editorial staff, have done a great job convering the topic. Here is one more story. Here.

Video on British Columbia, Canada health system

The healthcare system in British Columbia is one of the best in the world. Here is a video tutorial on how they are making it better. Here. Once again Canada is quietly moving forward on a difficult issue.

The scary part is comparing this process and system to the US healthcare process.

First there is a general consensus and acceptance that government can and should provided needed services like healthcare. The second is that decisions are very fact based. The third is the "adult" level of discussion that takes place.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pentagon says cut US military budget

Some smart people in the military establishment believe we should cut the military budget and use the money for education and foreign aid. The plan is laid out in the National Strategic Narriative which is available from the Wilson Center. Here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bill Moyer's Interviews Angela Glover Blackwell

Bill Moyer's has a long interview with Angela Glover Blackwell a lawyer who has long been active in community development issues. Here.

Here orgainzation is called PolicyLink.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Time Magazine: Effective Corporate Tax Rate.

Time has a piece one the effective corporate tax rate. Here.

Here is a follow-up regarding the US having the highest corporate tax rate on paper. Here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

NSA is building a 2 Billion dollar data center in Utah

Here is the story from Wired.

The story is a another great piece of reporting. The story is fact based (pretty hard with the NSA) and has a middle of the road point of view, but it forces the reader to ask, "Is the NSA spying on me?".

The article has started a whole new debate on domestic write tapping.

Second, you know we have to take the Black Economic slant and ask how many Black people or contractors got jobs out in Utah. In fact why are they even building out in Utah ?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A cashless society

Cashless Society

Here in Salon Magazine.

Rate you political views with the Nolan Chart

David Nolan, was a politician and found of the libertarian party of the United States. He devised the Nolan chart which give a wider view of political ideas that just a left-right line. Mr. Nolan added a plane that shows political views on two axis. One for economic views and one for views of personal freedom. He then devised a 10 question survey to determine your politcal view. You can take the sruvey here and see your Nolan rating.

His chart is used widely to rate politicians.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Affirmative action in India for Muslims

We try not to quote or refer to the New York Times too much. But the quality of the reporting and writing always forces the issue. Here is a incredible piece on Affirmative Action in India excluding Muslims: Here.

You can read the Sachar report here or here.


Here is the Wikipedia entry for the Sachar Committee. Here.

I have to think the NYT for a subtle and nuanced discussion of Affirmative Action over the years.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

True cost of Katrina

Good piece from SF Post. Here. On the true cost of Katrina and how hard making good economic decision in our current polorized environment really is.

Good for reference and discussion.

Government Productivity

Here is a link to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on state and local government productivity. Here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Suit Alleges Under Funding of Maryland HBCU

There is an interesting suit going on in Maryland which alleges the under funding of Historical Black Colleges and Universities in Maryland. The court brief is here.

You can also read more from the law firm, Kirkland and Ellis, which is handling the case

"Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" -- Mitt Romney

"Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" -- Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney's famous editorial against government help for the auto industry. His analysis has far more common sense then his opening headline grab. Oops.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Penn World Tables

A link to the Penn World Tables at the University of Pennsylvania. PWT 7.

The Penn World Tables are comparison tables of country economic data for all countries on earth.

TIECON - Entrepreneurs conference

Here.

TIECON 2012 is a large entrepreneurs conference in Silicon Valley. A lot of the events and discussions are around applying a software app to a business process and calling it a service.

There does not seem to be a lot of really new, innovation. There does seem to be a lot of drinking the other guys milkshake. (Film Reference: There will be blood, 2007)

A demographic analysis of the 123 speakers, breaks down as follows: 13 Women (10%), 4 Asian (3%) and 38 east Asian (30%) and 2 Spanish surname (2%).

The sponsor list is top notch: IBM, HP, SAP, Emirates airline.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Firm used fraud to win Minority Contracts

A federal criminal complaint was unsealed against McHugh construction company in Chicago charging they committed fraud. The company pretendrf to be a women ownef company to win government contracts.

The Chicago Trubine has the story here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I paid a bribe

This Indian web site was used in Kenya recently. I paid a bribe.

Clutch Magazine: Is Hip-Hop to blame for rampant consumerism

Some light reading for fun. Clutch. Clutch is a black oriented style magazine.

Insight Center for Community Economic Development

Insight - ICCED

Insight is an organization supporting strategies to close the racial wealth gap. Such strategies include: child care, money management training, workforce skills development, car loans to get to work, and legal services. They are based in Oakland, CA.

Their official mission is: "The Insight Center for Community Economic Development is a national research, consulting, and legal organization dedicated to building economic health in vulnerable communities. Our Mission is to: Develop and promote innovative solutions that help people and communities become, and remain, economically secure."

OK, we are getting our "stuff" together some expect a lot more links

How shall, I say this, some resources have freed up so we can be more active with our postings. Things are looking good.

Evil Black Economist

US goverment budget simulator

Here is a nice budget simulator to help you understand where the US federal government spends it's money. Here is the link. The web-site's point of view is stablize the debt.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Robert Johnson (ex-BET) Companies creates opportunity website

Oppsplace.com

The Robert L Johnson Companies has created a new website aimed at expanding corporate opportunities for minorities as potential employees and suppliers. Robert Johnson received approximately $1 billion dollars from the sale of Black Entertainment Television to Viacom in 1991.

The site has two purposes: 1) to serve as the preeminent site to link linking corporate purchasing managers to minority suppliers and 2) to network together corporate recruiters looking for minority talent and potential employees.

The website was announced by Mr. Johnson during the national press club newsmakers event held on February 1st, 2012.

Notably, during his new conference, he discuss one of his proposals to expand corporate leadership positions. He is asking that large companies voluntarily interview one minority candidate for each open position.


Here is the press release.

Here is the link to the RLJ Companies. The website is interesting because you can see his portfolio of businesses including the Charlotte Bobcats, real estate, resort, film, automotive sales and finance companies.
"Money makes money."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ed Glaser on Desegregation on Bloomberg.com

Here is Harvard professor Edward Glaser discussing desegregation in cities in the US. Here.

The Partnership of John Lewis

I have been reading a lot about the John Lewis company in the UK. John Lewis is a high end retail company in the United Kingdom. The company is actually a partnership of it's 76,000 associates.

Nick Clegg, deputy prime minster, has said he want's to create a "John Lewis" Economy.

Here is the London Guardian on John Lewis. Here.

Here is a longer piece from a publication called "City AM": on different ownership models and why the John Lewis model may not work for everyone. Here.

You can read the John Lewis Partnership Constitution here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Philanthropy is the enemy of development

We have been saying this for years. Philanthropy is a smoke screen for the rich. An a guilt free salve for the rest of us.

In the UK Guardian. here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bill Moyer's interviews Hacker and Pierson on engineered inequality

Bill Moyer's return to TV with and interview with Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson who wrote "Winner take all politics: ...". Here.

The premise is that the rich lobbied politicians to create a system favoring themselves at the expense of the middle class.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Social Mobility Low in the United States

NYT has a great article on the decrease in social mobility in the United States. Here.. I believe it is due to the increase in unemployment and the high cost of college education.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Black Mark-It.com: Group purchase discount site

Here.

Here is a group purchase discount site for Black businesses. It started naturally in Chicago, the great black business incubator. The site is here.

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