Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Alternatively

The executive increases the return to shareholders, in return they increase the executive(s) salaries; and so it goes. The Trump tax cuts were used by corporate executives to buy back shares; increasing the stock value, sending more along to the shareholders who then reward the executive(s) with bigger salaries. What’s missing? The workers. Time was when industrial work forces were huge and unions were strong; when the unions had lots of clout with the democratic party, ergo with government; when they could leverage their clout into a fairer share. Having little leverage, workers are left to suck hind teat. Consequently, more and more of the returns from business go to the shareholders, bondholders, and executives.

If workers were guaranteed a fair share, we wouldn’t be in the disparity we are in. Time was when the unions could ensure that some of the work force got something approximating a fair share. That was then. Needed today are laws that guarantee the workers a fair share of all profits. Corporate accounting, subject to rigorous review, or tax filings could be used. All corporate and business licenses would be subject to compliance.

In the case of start-ups, in lieu of, until, profitability, the workers would receive some minimum wage, plus stock and/or stock options.

As for workers having a say: Workers would have at least 30% representation on all corporate boards and means of input to management in sole proprietorships.

For the from partial to fully automated production facilities, an assessment as to the return on investment in automation would be made and a generous allowance for return on such investment would allowed. Return beyond that allowance would taxed separately a high rate. The revenues from this tax would be dedicated to the enhancement of the social safety net, to provide guaranteed income, etc.

The USPS 10-year plan may have future rate increases

What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases

What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases, Steve Hutkins at “Save The Post Office

The mailers were probably disappointed that the Postal Service’s new 10-year plan released yesterday, “Delivering for America,” did not reveal how big of a rate increase the Postal Service intends to make using the new authority it was granted by the Postal Regulatory Commission. While they wait in suspense, here’s a guess: 3.6 percent.

We already know that the calculations the Postal Service submitted to the PRC in February indicate the hike could be as large as 5.56 percent (on top of the CPI increase), but the new system allows some of the rate authority to be banked for future years, so the increase could be smaller. And that is just what the following analysis suggests.

This analysis is based on two tables and a couple of comments that appear in the 10-year plan. The tables show revenue and expenses under two scenarios, a base case using the status quo and an alternative that uses the revenue and cost savings under the Delivering for America plan. The tables contain numbers for projected volumes and revenues over the next ten years that can be used to estimate what the Postal Service is planning for future price increases under the new rate authority.

On Gerrymandering

Every citizen of the United States has the right to be represented in both their state and federal governments by a representative chosen in a free and fair election. In a free and fair and election, each and every vote is equal. By definition a gerrymandered election is unfair because it favors one group of citizens over another. In a gerrymandered district, one’s vote may count for nothing, one party’s vote may count for nothing. In a gerrymandered state, the majority of residents’ votes may count for nothing. In gerrymandered states, many of the state’s residents are being deprived of their right to representation at both the state and federal level.

In states with gerrymandered districts, the members of the state’s legislature are not representative of the majority of the residents of that state. In states with gerrymandered districts, the state’s delegation of representatives to the US House of Representatives is almost certainly not representative of the majority of the residents of that state. In gerrymandered states, only the residents’ votes for US Senators and US Presidents are immune the distortion in representation caused by the gerrymandering.

State Legislatures write and pass laws that apply to any and every one in the state. If the state is gerrymandered, these laws are being imposed on those denied representation by this gerrymandering; are likely being written by representatives elected by a minority of the voters in the state. The US House of Representatives writes and passes laws that apply to any and all persons in the US. These federal laws, too, are being imposed on those denied representation by gerrymandering.

State and federal legislatures allocate government funds to state and federal districts within a state. This allows state and federal representatives to ‘bring home the bacon’. In gerrymandered states, the bacon is more likely to go to the district(s) that voted for the elected representative than those that didn’t. The spoils of gerrymandering go to those who did the gerrymandering.

In state after state, we see gerrymandered state legislatures override voter approved initiatives and referendums; deny the will of the people. At the Federal level, we see popular legislation voted down because of gerrymandering at the state level; the will of the majority of the people being denied.

For all intents and purposes, in gerrymandered districts, the minority’s votes don’t count; they are being denied their right to vote, their right to representation. Gerrymandering is voter suppression. Gerrymandering is most undemocratic. Gerrymandering is not playing fair.

Flood insurance

Via Truthout , (https://truthout.org/articles/flood-risks-are-rising-amid-climate-change-but-congress-is-delaying-action) comes a reminder of a perennial problem:

Floods are the most common disaster in the United States. And the 2020 hurricane season was the busiest to date in the Atlantic — 73 percent more “active” than normal, The Washington Post reported, with a record number of storms breaking ground on U.S. soil, totaling $37 billion in damage. The frequency of what is known as “sunny day” or “high tide” flooding (flooding linked to sea level rise and visible as water bubbling up from storm drains into city streets) is also on the rise. In 2019, the median flood frequency doubled from 2000 levels, up to four days per year. That median is expected to rise to six days this year. By 2050, high tide flooding could reach 75 days annually.

Given the heightened risk that the federal government’s own data reveals, delaying the implementation of a system that takes those numbers into account is like “putting your head in the sand and trying to ignore it,” Carolyn Kousky, executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told USA Today.

Oklahoma charter schools granted local tax revenue in ‘seismic’ settlement

Via the Oklahoman comes this news on Republican state legislation. I believe Florida and other states are enacting radical ideology in more than the voting rights arena: Oklahoma charter schools granted local tax revenue in ‘seismic’ settlement

A groundbreaking settlement will fundamentally change the way charter schools are funded in Oklahoma, despite vehement opposition from the state’s top education official.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted 4-3 on Thursday in favor of an agreement with the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.

The charter school association called the agreement a “tremendous step” for equality in school funding.

State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the settlement could violate state law and have “seismic” implications by redistributing school funding.

What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases

Steve Hutkins at Save The Post Office continues with the documentation of issues and occurrences at the USPO. Steve presents a good take-down of what DeJoy’s plan is going forward. He is predicting a 3.6% increase on top of a CPI increase.

There are two alternatives being presented, the Base case and the “Delivering for America” Case. The “Delivering for America” Case uses the new rate authority to make its calculations (Figure 35, p. 51). It projects that revenues in 2030 will fall to $37.2 billion (as opposed to $32.2 billion in the Base Case). I am duplicating what is in Steve’s Report. Best if you read it for yourself.


What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases

What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases, Steve Hutkins, Save The Post Office

The mailers were probably disappointed that the Postal Service’s new 10-year plan released yesterday, “Delivering for America,” did not reveal how big of a rate increase the Postal Service intends to make using the new authority it was granted by the Postal Regulatory Commission. While they wait in suspense, here’s a guess: 3.6 percent.

We already know that the calculations the Postal Service submitted to the PRC in February indicate the hike could be as large as 5.56 percent (on top of the CPI increase), but the new system allows some of the rate authority to be banked for future years, so the increase could be smaller. And that is just what the following analysis suggests.

This analysis is based on two tables and a couple of comments that appear in the 10-year plan. The tables show revenue and expenses under two scenarios, a base case using the status quo and an alternative that uses the revenue and cost savings under the Delivering for America plan. The tables contain numbers for projected volumes and revenues over the next ten years that can be used to estimate what the Postal Service is planning for future price increases under the new rate authority.

Is Senator John Kennedy a Buffoon?

Republican Equates Gun Control To Attacking Sober Drivers, Crooks and Liars, John Amato

The Republican argument strengthens the militaristic ones inhabiting states like Michigan. Empowered by the rhetoric coming from a Senator (Kennedy) or a President (trump) of the United States, they storm the capitol or plot the kidnapping of governors with little fear.

John Amato: In response to the second gun massacre in a week, and a day after a new tragedy in Colorado, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) claimed that using common-sense gun laws to curb unparalleled carnage is like taking the driver licenses away from every sober driver in America.

I kid you not.

Republicans are claiming that having more comprehensive background checks, and outlawing semi-automatic assault weapons that kill an insane number of people is equal to taking away every gun from every legal gun owner.

During a Senate hearing on reducing gun violence, Sen. Kennedy said, 

“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people. We ought to try to combat that too, but I think what many folks on my side of the aisle are saying is that the answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers.”

In Response:

Save The Post Office’s Service Performance Dashboard

Steve Hutkins at Save The Post Office

Save The Post Office’s Service Performance Dashboard provides easier access to recent performance reports shared by the Postal Service with the Postal Regulatory Commission, Congress, the courts (as part of litigation involving mail delays), and FOIA requests. This capability is not readily available today.

NB: This is not an official USPS website.

Charted First Class Service Performance March – Dec. 2020

"Save the Post Office" launches new Service Performance Dashboard

Definitions

The Long Term Consequences of Economic Downturns

Chairman Powell, Secretary Yellen, and President Biden have recently spoken about the long term consequences for many of economic downturns. More should, more often. The Media should recognize how important this is; ask the question whenever it needs to be asked. The Congress should put this front and center in any and all discussions about economic policy.

Why? Because millions of Americans never recovered from 1979-1980. Millions more never recovered from the 2001. More than from either of those never recovered from the recession of 2008. Who didn’t recover? Those who just gotten their first decent job, just taken out a mortgage, just gotten married and started a family, those who had just experienced a family medical emergency, … The types of folks that the likes of Mitch McConnell couldn’t be bothered to bring a bill to the floor for; those.

As they say — say way too damned often — through no fault of their own. It usually isn’t. Almost never is. But it sure does keep them in their place and at hand just in case they might be needed by the economy at some point in the future and no one else is available; and they don’t fall so completely as to no longer be useful. For more on this, visit your local homeless encampment.

On Golden Idols

On Golden Idols

 IN Exodus it is reported that while Moses spent time on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from Yahweh, the people of Israel down below got tired of waiting for him and so constructed at least one, maybe more than one, as silver is mentioned along with gold, statue to be worshipped, with the golden idol, usually claimed to be of a calf, the most notorious.  When Moses returned with the Commandments he was wroth with anger and denounced them for this perfidy, and Exodus reports that Yahweh destroyed this idol, turning its gold into “dust” or other kinds of small particles depending on the translation, and then a part not usually discussed forced the people who had worshipped this golden idol to drink a liquid containing this dust. Of course one of the first commandments forbade the making of “graven images,” with this golden calf or whatever and any silver idol being clear and prime examples of what was clearly forbidden.