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This Week In America, June 7, 2013

National Nurses United, 6/7/13

Wall Street Buying Main Street.    First, they prize an economy with low wages and keep wages low for generations.   Then they offer mortgages to families whose earnings would never afford them the opportunity to save and buy homes within their budgets.  Next, they switch the bait and raise interest rates on the mortgage payments beyond what workers’ wages can meet.   Defaults ensue and families are evicted—by the millions.  

The house of cards collapses, but not before Wall Street execs stash away billions in ill-gotten gains (and no one goes to jail).   A taxpayer-funded bailout, in the trillions of dollars, follows in what’s termed “Too-Big-to-Fail” and a crisis of “confidence” is announced, invoking calls for austerity across the nation. 

Now, Wall Street starts to buy up entire communities of abandoned homes and rent them to displaced, victimized workers, according to an account in the Huffington Post. “[F]inancial companies have become significant landlords on Main Street…  Some see the emergence of Wall Street buyers as a market-driven answer to the nation’s housing ills. Investment companies are buying up rundown homes at a time when ordinary people can’t or won’t…. ‘In some of the key markets, that contributed to the recovery.’”

Finally, they call it recovery. 

Temp  Jobs on the Rise.   In what ABC News called “a tepid” jobs report, unemployment ticked up to 7.6%, according to the government’s May jobs summary.   “The industries with the strongest employment growth in the last month were temporary help agencies, which added 26,000 jobs,” reported ABC.   Food service employment went up, as well, adding 38,000 jobs in May and 337,000 positions over the past year.   Low wages, no benefits, no security. 

Over the past year the rate of employment has grown at the same rate as the adult U.S. population—58.6%.   Going no where.  Last year, 2012, was the biggest year in corporate profits since 2006, just before the financial collapse.  This year the stock market is booming, with profits on course to top 2012. 

Job Growth Seen as a Negative on Wall Street.  While most Americans prize a full-time job, Wall Street’s view is contrary.  According to the Economix column in the New York Times,  “On Wall Street… there is the possibility that the economy could have created too many jobs…. Analysts are expecting a number around 165,000. If it is close to that, investors are likely to conclude that economic growth is happening, but not at a rate that would lead the Fed to slow down its stimulus.”

The Fed stimulus constitutes near 0% interest rates for the nation’s largest financial institutions.  

Corporations Holding Local Government Hostage.  Companies seeking to open new facilities engage in a bidding war with state and local governments over new jobs in their communities. With enduring high unemployment, desperation sets in and competition takes the form of tax abatements.  

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the value of tax giveaways for homebuilder PulteGroup is nearly $24,000 per job.  The total offered the company could total more than $7.3 million in grants and other assistance, reported the paper. 

Selling Obamacare.   President Obama is in California and selling the Affordable Care Act is on the agenda.  The new program has a fundamental flaw: it builds on a rotten base, one that is infused with price gouging across the board and costs to patients that already fall far beyond household budgets.

Top hospital managers are commonly paid salaries and bonuses above one million dollars annually—both in non-profit and for-profit settings.  Healthcare properties – providers, suppliers, equipment makers, insurance companies - have been Wall Street darlings as prospects of continued high profits abound.   Consolidation is run amok, as some of America’s largest corporate entities seize upon the opportunity to cash out on a lucrative U.S. healthcare market.  

In the meantime, estimates are that tens of millions of  Americans will be uninsured when the full force of the new law kicks in, in 2016.  According to Harvard and City University of New York researchers and published on the Heath Affairs blog,  analyzed Census Bureau data and invoked a model used by the Congressional Budget Office.  “Many people believe that Obamacare will cover everyone,” said study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler. “But the reform is so deeply flawed that 30 million or more will still be uninsured after it’s fully implemented.”  Added lead author Dr. Rachel Nardin, “[M]any more have such skimpy coverage that they face unaffordable co-payments.”

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