Monday, December 2, 2013

The Pope Is Not Fooled

Apartments in a new luxury residential tower off Central Park in New York City sell for $53 million and UP.  Who buys these?  I suspect many buyers grabbed their income from gambling in financial markets.  Some of these are the people who contributed to the financial crisis, and they are doing it again.  Some say we can't tax them because they provide jobs.  Sure for the maids who clean their toilets.  The Pope is not fooled, he does not believe in trickle-down. Rather Francis asks
"How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

Train Wreck

A passenger train derailed coming into New York City.  Too fast around the curve, they say.  Why are we not building safe high-speed trans-national trains and road beds?  Can't afford it say the putative wise.  But, we have labor and machines unused, say I.

Youth Unemployment

6.7 million young people who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are out of school and unemployed.  After WW II, the US graduated a higher proportion of teenagers than any other nation. "As of 2011, it ranked eighteenth out of twenty-four wealthy nations." (Harpers, Dec 2013)  This is a tragedy, a waste, and a source of crime and unhappy, unstructured lives.   The lost wealth is in the trillions.
       What could be done?  In 1993, AmeriCorps put youth to work in community service.  YouthBuild provided construction jobs in building affordable housing while the young people completed a GED.  But these programs are being cut back in the name of austerity!
       They should be expanded. Finance them with zero-interest public debt--the Treasury could borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank who now thinks they are stimulating the economy by buying bonds, etc. at the rate of $85 billion per month. No austerity for the rich!