Chronicle of Higher Ed: Enlist the Power of a 401(k).
“The existing 401(k) framework could provide an equitable solution. Under such a plan, employers that offer 401(k) savings plans would allow employees to choose allocating a percentage of their pay to their retirement accounts, their student-loan balances, or both. Better yet, an employer that offers a company match of, say, 4 percent, would give employees the option to contribute the match to either account.” I still contend this recession would have been a lot worse if not for people being able to early withdraw on their 401(k)‘s. I dislike the headlong desire to kill them, as observed in some nattering financial/editorial circles.
NakedCap: Obama’s Benefit-Cuts Budget Takes More from Seniors than from the Wealthy.
“Social Security is about 70 percent of the income of a typical retiree. Since President Obama’s proposal would lead to a 3 percent cut in Social Security benefits, it would reduce the income of the typical retiree by more than 2.0 percent, more than three times the size of the hit from the tax increase to the wealthy.” The pullquote is sourced from Dean Baker, embedded within the article.
SF New Mexican: Despite low reservoirs, city doesn’t foresee water limits.
“Last week, we learned from BOR that they anticipate being able to deliver 100 percent of San Juan water to all contractors due to new snow” Our local snowmelt-fed reservoirs in the Sangres are at 1/3 full. Very worrisome, in spite of this supposed ‘good news.’ Many, many people have wells on our aquifers, and they’re going to be drawing way, way down without snowmelt from the mountains.
Youtube: Brands You Didn’t Know Were Owned By Giant Corporations.
I think I felt an earthquake … did that come from Whole Foods corporate headquarters?
Naked Capitalism: It’s Official—Obama Sells Catfood Futures, Um, SS and Medicare Cuts.
“We now have the absurd spectacle of Paul Ryan’s budget being to the left of Obama’s on the issue of Social Security and Medicare. If the Republicans have an iota of sense, they’ll take full advantage of the weapon Obama has handed them. Every poll ever done over the last 50 years shows substantial majorities favoring continuing and increasing Social Security and Medicare provisions, and either increasing taxes or cutting other spending to do so. And Obama will pay for kiddie photo ops by increasing regressive taxes. Charming.”
Social Text: Periscope—Downton Abbey and the Fantasy of Structured Idleness.
“Like Lord Grantham, creative classers yoked themselves to capital’s promises—to the fortunes amassed in America’s age of expansion—in an effort to preserve a way of life, to preserve a sense of nobility, principle and righteousness. But whereas Grantham, the fictional aristocrat has ‘no choice’ but to surrender to the purported security capital guarantees, in order to ensure that the estate remains in tact, and ‘his people’ both upstairs and down are taken care of, the ‘disenfranchised’ creative classes of the contemporary moment have been left unmoored by the proliferation of neoliberal choice, that very notion of freedom as choice constitutive of the creative lifestyle they counterpose against the dehumanizing vagaries of industrial and service sector labor: the work one would never choose for one’s self.” Via wood s lot.
NY Times: Sundown in America.
“The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.” The noose comes tight and hard, in the end.
SF New Mexican: Survey—Santa Fe households getting older.
naked capitalism: Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy.
“The Constitution protected wealthy slavers, awarding them extra votes so they could insure control in their home states.” Correction, go wider. White male property owners. Sound familiar? That’s the beginning of your oligarchy. I like this article — as a rough draft. Could be so much better.
The Atlantic: Disability Insurance— America’s Secret Welfare Program, Pt. II.
“Right now, the disability trust fund is slated to go insolvent by 2016.” I missed part one, so I’ll have to read that first before (or if) constructing a reasonable comment. Still worth the read.
ProPublica: How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.
“Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years — more than Apple or Amazon. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit’s disclosures pointedly note that the company ‘opposes IRS government tax preparation.’”
Classy Clutter: Build your own extra storage!
The Atlantic/Cities: America—A Nation of Permanent Freelancers and Temps.
“We are quickly becoming a nation of permanent freelancers and temps. In 2006, the last time the federal government counted, the number of independent and contingent workers—contractors, temps, and the self-employed—stood at 42.6 million, or about 30 percent of the workforce.”
The Atlantic: An $800 Billion War—The Immense Cost of Invading Iraq, in Charts.
“One can try to argue that toppling Saddam was worth the cost in lives and in money. But now that we’ve entered the age of fiscal austerity, we need to remember for the future: there is no such thing as waging a war of occupation on the cheap.”
NationalJournal: Why the Trader Joe’s Model Benefits Workers—And the Bottom-Line.
“The average American cashier makes $20,230 a year, which in a single-earner household would leave a family of four living under the poverty line. But if he works the cash registers at QuikTrip, it’s an entirely different story. The convenience store and gas station chain offers entry-level employees an annual salary of around $40,000, plus benefits. Those high wages didn’t stop QuikTrip from prospering in a hostile economic climate.” This is related to what we saw here with the living wage in Santa Fe. Poorly-run businesses went under, while properly-run businesses stayed the course.
Boston Review: Emmanuel Saez and David Grusky — Taxing Away Inequality.
“As a result, even in the two years where he [Obama] had quite a bit of power he didn’t do much about tax policy for top incomes. He punted, really. Now I believe his thinking has changed, but the political situation is different — it’s much harder to push for higher top tax rates given the layout of Congress.” My italic emphasis.
LA Weekly: Wells Fargo Typo Victim Dies in Court.
“Friends say he didn’t die of heart disease that day in court, as the coroner found. He was, they believe, killed by a system so inhumane that it could not undo a devastating piece of red tape the system itself created.” Murdered.
NY Times: Cooper Union Board Delays Tuition Decision.
Sans ‘paywall’, I have to say some of the most creative interns I picked up were from Cooper Union. That’s worth pondering for a bit.
NakedCap: As Dow Sprints to New High, the Middle Class and Manufacturing Languish.
At times, I picture a fat cat dressed in a tux waving a cigar and kicking me in the sides saying, “Work harder for less! We’re working on giving you your much-desired dystopia!”
“Just remember to stay on your side of the security fence, boyo.”
Motley Fool: How the Postal Service Is Being Gutted.
Once again, why is this situation only being talked about extensively in the media, while Washington continues to allow this to occur?
SF New Mexican: Critics blast governor over $100K kitchen renovation.
“Sadly, Susana’s stinginess apparently only applies to matters like education for our kids. When it comes to bankrolling her highfalutin’ Santa Fe lifestyle, Susana, it seems, can’t resist dropping some taxpayer coin on the finer things in life” $2,700 for a single-serve built-in coffee maker? Sheesh.
The Atlantic: They’re Baaack—U.S. Banks Had Their Second-Best Year Ever in 2012.
It’s an education—and a warning—that they can do so without substantially increasing lending. The Fed needs to stop paying interest on “excess reserves.”
Andrew Sullivan: Are Doctors Overpaid?
“Doctors aren’t as politically attractive a target as insurance companies, hospital administrators, or big pharma, but there’s no rational basis for leaving their interests unscathed when tackling unduly expensive medicine.” Exactly. If you’re putting the medical system on a diet, you can’t leave out one of the pie fillings.
The Contributor: 40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage.
“To put this even another way, the average American’s living standard would be much, much higher today if wages had not decoupled from productivity gains – with the gains all going to the 1 percent instead of being shared by workers. If wages had kept pace we wouldn’t feel the terrible squeeze that everyone in the middle class is feeling.” Chart needs more footnotes. Indeed, 1968 was the high for Federal Minimum Wage, in constant dollars. That’s horrendous.
Flickr: Found Tea Tags 01.
A plethora of tea tags on Flickr.