Archive for April, 2014

The Pronk Pops Show 253, April 30, 2014, Story 1: Advanced Estimate of 1st Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Growth .1% — Obama Recession Begins Blamed on Climate Change — Winter — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Story 1: Advanced Estimate of 1st Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Growth .1% — Obama Recession Begins Blamed on Climate Change — Winter — Videos

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gdp_1970-2009

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CNBC Reacts To Disappointing GDP Growth: “Holy Cow,” “Weak,” “We Are Doing A Double Take”

 

Obama Administration Under Fire By GOP Over Economy

 

Fixing the GDP by Changing the Definition of GDP


Measuring GDP using the Income Approach and the Expenditure Approach – HD

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014
BEA 14-18

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa S. Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: First Quarter 2014 (advance estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter (that is, from
the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014), according to the "advance" estimate released by
the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

      The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source
data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and
"Comparisons of Revisions to GDP" on page 5).  The "second" estimate for the first quarter, based on
more complete data, will be released on May 29, 2014.

      The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a positive contribution from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE) that was partly offset by negative contributions from exports,
private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, residential fixed investment, and state and
local government spending.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.


BOX___________

Annual Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts

      The annual revision of the national income and product accounts will be released along with the
"advance" estimate of GDP for the second quarter of 2014 on July 30.  In addition to the regular revision
of estimates for the most recent 3 years and the first quarter of 2014, GDP and select components will be
revised back to the first quarter of 1999 (see the Technical Note).  The August Survey of Current
Business will contain an article that describes the annual revision in detail.

FOOTNOTE______

      NOTE.  Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified.  Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates.  Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized.  "Real" estimates are in chained (2009)
dollars.  Price indexes are chain-type measures.

This news release is available on BEA’s Web site along with the Technical Note
and Highlights related to this release.
______________

      The deceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter primarily reflected downturns in exports
and in nonresidential fixed investment, a larger decrease in private inventory investment, a deceleration
in PCE, and a downturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an upturn in
federal government spending and a downturn in imports.

      The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the fourth.
Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.4 percent in
the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the fourth.

      Real personal consumption expenditures increased 3.0 percent in the first quarter, compared with
an increase of 3.3 percent in the fourth.  Durable goods increased 0.8 percent, compared with an increase
of 2.8 percent.  Nondurable goods increased 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 2.9 percent.
Services increased 4.4 percent, compared with an increase of 3.5 percent.

      Real nonresidential fixed investment decreased 2.1 percent in the first quarter, in contrast to an
increase of 5.7 percent in the fourth.  Nonresidential structures increased 0.2 percent, in contrast to a
decrease of 1.8 percent.  Equipment decreased 5.5 percent, in contrast to an increase of 10.9 percent.
Intellectual property products increased 1.5 percent, compared with an increase of 4.0 percent.  Real
residential fixed investment decreased 5.7 percent, compared with a decrease of 7.9 percent.

      Real exports of goods and services decreased 7.6 percent in the first quarter, in contrast to an
increase of 9.5 percent in the fourth.  Real imports of goods and services decreased 1.4 percent, in
contrast to an increase of 1.5 percent.

      Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 0.7 percent
in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 12.8 percent in the fourth.  National defense decreased 2.4
percent, compared with a decrease of 14.4 percent.  Nondefense increased 5.9 percent, in contrast to a
decrease of 10.0 percent.  Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment decreased 1.3 percent; it was unchanged in the fourth quarter.

      The change in real private inventories subtracted 0.57 percentage point from the first-quarter
change in real GDP after subtracting 0.02 percentage point from the fourth-quarter change.  Private
businesses increased inventories $87.4 billion in the first quarter, following increases of $111.7 billion
in the fourth quarter and $115.7 billion in the third.

      Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 0.7
percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7 percent in the fourth.


Gross domestic purchases

      Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 0.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent in the
fourth.


Disposition of personal income

      Current-dollar personal income increased $122.0 billion, or 3.5 percent, in the first quarter,
compared with an increase of $78.5 billion, or 2.2 percent, in the fourth.  The acceleration in personal
income primarily reflected an acceleration in government social benefits to persons.

      Personal current taxes increased $18.9 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of
$21.4 billion in the fourth.

      Disposable personal income increased $103.1 billion, or 3.3 percent, in the first quarter,
compared with an increase of $57.1 billion, or 1.8 percent, in the fourth.  Real disposable personal
income increased 1.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 0.8 percent in the fourth.

      Personal outlays increased $131.8 billion, or 4.4 percent, in the first quarter, compared with an
increase of $127.0 billion, or 4.3 percent, in the fourth.

      Personal saving -- disposable personal income less personal outlays -- was $518.7 billion in the
first quarter, compared with $547.4 billion in the fourth.

      The personal saving rate -- personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income -- was
4.1 percent in the first quarter, compared with 4.3 percent in the fourth.  For a comparison of personal
saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal Reserve
Board’s financial accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth, go to
www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/Nipa-Frb.asp.


Current-dollar GDP

      Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased
1.4 percent, or $60.0 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $17,149.6 billion.  In the fourth quarter,
current-dollar GDP increased 4.2 percent, or $176.7 billion.


BOX__________

      Information on the assumptions used for unavailable source data is provided in a technical note
that is posted with the news release on BEA's Web site.  Within a few days after the release, a detailed
"Key Source Data and Assumptions" file is posted on the Web site.  In the middle of each month, an
analysis of the current quarterly estimate of GDP and related series is made available on the Web site;
click on Survey of Current Business, "GDP and the Economy."  For information on revisions, see
"Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components."

_____________


      BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.


                                           *          *          *

                               Next release -- May 29, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. EDT for:
                       Gross Domestic Product:  First Quarter 2014 (Second Estimate)
                       Corporate Profits:  First Quarter 2014 (Preliminary Estimate)

                                       Comparisons of Revisions to GDP

     Quarterly estimates of GDP are released on the following schedule:  the "advance" estimate, based on
source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, is released near the end of the
first month after the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available,
the "second" and "third" estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively.
The "latest"” estimate reflects the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions.

     Annual revisions, which generally cover the quarters of the 3 most recent calendar years, are usually carried
out each summer and incorporate newly available major annual source data.  Comprehensive (or benchmark)
revisions are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major periodic source data, as well as
improvements in concepts and methods that update the accounts to portray more accurately the evolving U.S.
economy.

The table below shows comparisons of the revisions between quarterly percent changes of current-dollar
and of real GDP for the different vintages of the estimates.  From the advance estimate to the second estimate (one
month later), the average revision to real GDP without regard to sign is 0.5 percentage point, while from the
advance estimate to the third estimate (two months later), it is 0.6 percentage point.  From the advance estimate to
the latest estimate, the average revision without regard to sign is 1.3 percentage points.  The average revision
(with regard to sign) from the advance estimate to the latest estimate is 0.3 percentage point, which is larger
than the average revisions from the advance estimate to the second or to the third estimates.  The larger average
revisions to the latest estimate reflect the fact that comprehensive revisions include major improvements, such as
the incorporation of BEA’s latest benchmark input-output accounts.  The quarterly estimates correctly indicate the
direction of change of real GDP 97 percent of the time, correctly indicate whether GDP is accelerating or
decelerating 72 percent of the time, and correctly indicate whether real GDP growth is above, near, or below trend
growth more than four-fifths of the time.

                           Revisions Between Quarterly Percent Changes of GDP: Vintage Comparisons
                                                     [Annual rates]

       Vintages                                   Average         Average without     Standard deviation of
       compared                                                    regard to sign      revisions without
                                                                                         regard to sign

____________________________________________________Current-dollar GDP_______________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.2                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................                .2                  .7                   .4
Second to third......................                .0                  .3                   .2

Advance to latest....................                .3                 1.3                  1.0

________________________________________________________Real GDP_____________________________________________________

Advance to second....................               0.1                 0.5                  0.4
Advance to third.....................                .1                  .6                   .4
Second to third......................                .0                  .2                   .2

Advance to latest....................                .3                 1.3                  1.0

NOTE.  These comparisons are based on the period from 1983 through 2010.

Last updated: April 30, 2014 2:32 pm

US growth slows sharply to 0.1% in first quarter

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: A man walks by the New York Stock Exchange on September 6, 2012 in New York City. Following news of a new European Central Bank bond-buying program and stronger-than-expected data on the job market ,The Dow Jones industrial average rose 245 points, or 1.9% to close at the highest level since December 2007. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)©Getty

The US economy came near to stalling in the first quarter after one of the coldest winters on record, raising doubts over whether output will meet the US Federal Reserve’s expectations for 2014.

A surge in healthcare spending was all that kept the economy afloat in the first three months of the year, when annualised growth came in at a miserable 0.1 per cent – well below the 1.1 per cent economists were predicting.

US GDP growth

The Fed shrugged off the dismal figures, saying growth had accelerated since the first quarter. It reduced or “tapered” its asset purchases by a further $10bn to $45bn a month, underlining its belief that the underlying economy is still on track despite the spell of weakness.

However, the data raise doubts about the Fed’s 2.9 per cent growth forecast for the whole of 2014.

Exports and investment both fell heavily and the economy would have shrunk if President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform had not led to a record increase in healthcare spending.

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“Disappointing news on first-quarter GDP growth, but it was principally due to the weather,” said Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics in Toronto. “We anticipate that second-quarter GDP growth will rebound to 3.5 per cent”

The S&P slipped 0.2 per cent at the start of the day, with technology shares under pressure, but by lunchtime it was slightly higher as markets digested the reasons for the gross domestic product figure. Treasury yields were steady while the dollar remained on the defensive.

Consumption grew at a robust annualised pace of 3 per cent in the first quarter – well ahead of market expectations – and contributed 2 percentage points to overall growth.

But that was offset by a 6.1 per cent annualised fall in investment and a 7.6 per cent fall in exports. Together, they knocked 2 percentage points off total growth so the size of the economy was flat overall.

The main reason for stronger consumption was an unprecedented increase in medical spending – adding 1.1 percentage points to growth – as the expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act began to take effect.

The combination of weather effects and the healthcare changes mean that the initial GDP estimate may be prone to revisions, which often result in big swings in the growth numbers.

On a day packed with economic data, the private payrolls processor ADP said the US economy had added 220,000 private sector jobs in April, ahead of forecasts of 210,000.

The ADP figures will fuel expectations of an acceleration in the official jobs number, due on Friday, which is expected to show total jobs growth of 215,000. The jobs data provide strong evidence that weak GDP in the first quarter did not lead to a total collapse in growth.

Separately, the Bureau of Labour Statistics released its quarterly employment cost index, which showed a rise in wages of just 1.8 per cent in the year to March 2014.

Wage rises are expected to be the first signal of inflation that would force the Fed to raise interest rates, so the subdued reading will encourage the central bank to keep monetary policy looser for longer.

The Fed will not publish economic forecasts this month and there is no press conference from chairwoman Janet Yellen.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2dea31bc-d062-11e3-af2b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz30QUTojvz

Five things you must know about US growth

There are two reasonable responses to news of the US economy’s dismal 0.1 per cent annualised growth in the first quarter of 2014: either panic, or else curse the vagaries of economic data, and wait for revisions to straighten out the rather jumbled numbers. Consumption came in stronger than expected, while investment and exports were dreadful, making it hard to tell a clear story about the state of the world’s largest economy. Here are five takeaways:

(1) Last of the winter weather

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First-quarter gross domestic product is the last release that covers a freezing US winter – all other data from January and February are ancient history now.

Almost every area of weakness could be chalked up to weather: goods consumption, up just 0.4 per cent at an annualised pace, because buyers stayed away from the shops; residential investment, down 5.7 per cent, because of delayed construction; and exports, down 7.6 per cent, because manufacturers could not ship via snow-clogged roads and railways.

More up-to-date data, such as non-farm payrolls, suggests the economy picked up in March and April.

(2) Watch out for revisions and a second quarter rebound

The first release of GDP is always prone to large revisions. This time, though, changes are especially likely. A lot of data are unavailable when the Bureau of Economic Analysis makes its first estimate, so the 0.1 per cent number will be using a lot of figures from January and February, which were hardest hit by the weather, with more numbers from March – which was less affected – still to arrive.

Even if revisions do not move the numbers up, there is likely to be a rebound in the second quarter, as some weather-affected activity was delayed but not lost. Morgan Stanley’s tracking estimate for the second quarter is annualised growth of 3.5 per cent.

(3) The Affordable Care Act rescued the numbers

It says nothing about the merits of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, but if the ACA had not existed, then GDP would have fallen. Healthcare spending contributed a massive 1.1 percentage points to growth, so without it, the headline GDP figure would have been minus 1 per cent.

In the national accounts, expansion of the Medicaid healthcare programme for the poor and subsidies for people buying health insurance count as social benefits, and thus boost personal incomes. When people actually consume health insurance or medical services it counts as consumption and shows up in the main expenditure-based version of GDP.

(4) . . . but that spending may yet be revised away too

The BEA does not actually know yet how much newly insured people are spending on medical care. This is yet another estimate. What the BEA says is: “For preliminary estimates made before the final source data are available, BEA will take account of available information on Medicaid benefits, ACA insurance exchange enrolments, and other related information.”

This suggests the BEA’S estimates of healthcare consumption are heavily influenced by the number of sign-ups on insurance exchanges and theoretical expansions in Medicaid coverage. If actual spending does not match the uncertain estimates, this bit of GDP could be revised down.

(5) It is right to worry, at least a little

All the volatility in the numbers makes it hard to take a clear signal, but all the same, there are reasons to worry in this release. The US Federal Reserve’s economic scenario for 2014 involves an acceleration in growth. Housing and business investment are the components of GDP most likely to bring that.

It is bad news, therefore, to have business investment off by 5.5 per cent at an annualised pace and housing investment down by 5.7 per cent. Even with the hit from the weather, this is more consistent with another year of mediocre 2 per cent growth, than the forecast acceleration towards 3 per cent.

 http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/14b03c1a-d06b-11e3-af2b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz30QUTojvz

US economy slowed to 0.1 percent growth rate in Q1


By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed drastically in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.

Growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous quarter.

Many economists said the government’s first estimate of growth in the January-March quarter was skewed by weak figures early in the quarter. They noted that several sectors — from retail sales to manufacturing output — rebounded in March. That strength should provide momentum for the rest of the year.

And on Friday, economists expect the government to report a solid 200,000-plus job gain for April.

 


“While quarter one was weak, many measures of sentiment and output improved in March and April, suggesting that the quarter ended better than it began,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief investment strategist at global financial services firm BTIG.

Still, the anemic growth last quarter is surely a topic for discussion at the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting, which ends Wednesday afternoon. No major changes are expected in a statement the Fed will release. But it will likely announce a fourth reduction in its monthly bond purchases because of the gains the economy has been making. The Fed’s bond purchases have been intended to keep long-term loan rates low.

In its report Wednesday, the government said consumer spending grew at a 3 percent annual rate last quarter. But that gain was dominated by a 4.4 percent rise in spending on services, reflecting higher utility bills. Spending on goods barely rose. Also dampening growth were a drop in business investment, a rise in the trade deficit and a fall in housing construction.

The scant 0.1 percent growth rate in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, was well below the 1.1 percent rise economists had predicted. The last time a quarterly growth rate was so slow was in the final three months of 2012, when it was also 0.1 percent.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Marcroeconomics, said he expects the economy’s growth to rebound to a 3 percent annual rate in the current April-June quarter. Other economists have made similar forecasts.

 


A variety of factors held back first-quarter growth. Business investment fell at a 2.1 percent rate, with spending on equipment plunging at a 5.5 percent annual rate. Residential construction fell at a 5.7 percent rate. Housing was hit by winter weather and by other factors such as higher home prices and a shortage of available houses.

A widening of the trade deficit, thanks to a sharp fall in exports, shaved growth by 0.8 percentage point in the first quarter. Businesses also slowed their restocking, with a slowdown in inventory rebuilding reducing growth by nearly 0.6 percentage point.

Also holding back growth: A cutback in spending by state and local governments. That pullback offset a rebound in federal activity after the 16-day partial government shutdown last year.

Economists say most of the factors that held back growth in the first quarter have already begun to reverse. Most expect a strong rebound in growth in the April-June quarter.

Analysts say the stronger growth will endure through the rest of the year as the economy derives help from improved job growth, rising consumer spending and a rebound in business investment.

In fact, many analysts believe 2014 will be the year the recovery from the Great Recession finally achieves the robust growth that’s needed to accelerate hiring and reduce still-high unemployment. Many analysts think annual economic growth will remain around 3 percent for the rest of the year.

If that proves accurate, the economy will have produced the fastest annual expansion in the gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of the economy’s health, in nine years. The last time growth was so strong was in 2005, when GDP grew 3.4 percent, two years before the nation fell into the worst recession since the 1930s.

A group of economists surveyed this month by The Associated Press said they expected unemployment to fall to 6.2 percent by the end of this year from 6.7 percent in March.

One reason for the optimism is that a drag on growth last year from higher taxes and deep federal spending cuts has been diminishing. A congressional budget truce has also lifted any imminent threat of another government shutdown. As a result, businesses may find it easier to commit to investments to modernize and expand production facilities and boost hiring.

State and local governments, which have benefited from a rebound in tax revenue, are hiring again as well.

Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, said he expects job growth to average above 200,000 a month for the rest of the year — starting with the April jobs report, which will be released Friday.

“Those are the types of job gains which will generate incomes and consumer confidence going forward,” Naroff said.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20140430/us-economy-gdp-09b1567225.html

 

US economy stalls in Q1, inventories and trade weigh

CNBC’s Rick Santelli breaks down the first quarter’s weak GDP numbers. And CNBC’s Steve Liesman and Bruce Kasman, JPMorgan Chase chief economist, provide perspective.

The U.S. economy barely grew in the first quarter as exports tumbled and businesses accumulated stocks at the slowest pace in nearly a year, but activity already appears to be bouncing back.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 0.1 percent annual rate, the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was a sharp pullback from the fourth quarter’s 2.6 percent pace.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth to slow to a 1.2 percent rate. The slowdown partly reflected an unusually cold and disruptive winter, marked by declines in sectors ranging from business spending to home building.

Read MoreUS private job creation booms in April: ADP

The Commerce Department’s first snapshot of first-quarter growth was released just hours before the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day policy meeting.

An employee works on the assembly line installing parts on the Duratech 35 V6 engine at the Ford Motor Co. Engine Plant in Lima, Ohio, U.S. on Friday, March 28, 2014.

While harsh weather could partially explain the weakness in growth, the magnitude of the slowdown could complicate the U.S. central bank’s message as it is set to announce a further reduction in the amount of money it is pumping into the economy through monthly bond purchases.

The first-quarter slowdown, however, is likely to be temporary and recent data have suggested strength at the tail end of the quarter.

Economists estimate severe weather could have chopped off as much as 1.4 percentage points from GDP growth. The government, however, gave no details on the impact of the weather.

Inventory growth decelerates

After aggressively restocking in the second half of 2013, businesses accumulated $87.4 billion worth of inventory in the first quarter, the smallest amount since the second quarter of 2013.

That was a moderation from the $111.7 billion amassed in the fourth quarter that has resulted in manufacturers receiving fewer orders. Inventories subtracted 0.57 percentage point from GDP growth in the first quarter.

Surprising things you can’t sell in the US

Trade also undercut growth, taking off 0.83 percentage point, partly because of the weather, which left goods piling up at ports. Exports fell at a 7.6 percent rate in the first quarter after growing at a 9.5 percent pace in the final three months of 2013.

Together, inventories and trade sliced off 1.4 percentage point from GDP growth.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 3.0 percent rate, reflecting a spurt in spending on services linked to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Read MoreWhy the slowdown in US economy may be temporary 

Spending on goods, however, slowed sharply, indicating that frigid temperatures during the winter had reduced foot traffic to shopping malls. Consumer spending had increased at a brisk 3.3 percent pace in the fourth-quarter.

Harsh weather also undercut business spending on equipment. While investment in nonresidential structures, such as gas drilling, rebounded, the increase was minor.

Investment in home building contracted for a second straight quarter, in part because of the weather. But a rise in mortgage rates over the past year has also hurt.

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A second quarter of contraction in spending on home building suggests a housing recession, which could raise some eyebrows at the U.S. central bank. A bounce back is, however, expected in the April-June period.

US labor costs rise marginally

U.S. labor costs increased at their slowest pace in more than two years in the first quarter, suggesting that slack in the jobs market continues to keep wage inflation subdued.

Read MoreChina to overtake US economy; India trumps Japan

The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, rose 0.3 percent after gaining 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. That was the smallest gain since the third quarter of 2011.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast labor costs increasing 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

In the 12 months through March, costs rose 1.8 percent, the smallest since the second quarter of 2012. They had advanced 2.0 percent in the 12 months through December.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 252, April 29, 2014, Story 1: Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable Left-Right Alliance of Progressives and Libertarians — Bad Idea — Progressive Are Collectivisits and Statists — Libertarians Oppose Both — Independent Party is The Answer — Videos

Posted on April 29, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, College, Communications, Constitutional Law, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Genocide, Government, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Science, Tax Policy, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 252: April 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Story 1: Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable Left-Right Alliance of Progressives and Libertarians — Bad Idea — Progressive Are Collectivisits and Statists — Libertarians Oppose Both — Independent Party is The Answer — Videos

Nader_Unstoppableralph_nader

 

Ralph Nader on TPP, GM Recall, Nuclear Power & the “Unstoppable” Left Right Anti Corporate Movement

Ron Paul, Ralph Nader agree on ‘Progressive-Libertarian Alliance’

Nader on Senate’s Climate Stance, “Insanity” of U.S. Nukes, & Why Obama’s Min. Wage Hike Falls Short

RALPH NADER SCHOOLS “JOB CREATOR’S” LACKEY ON RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE

Milton Friedman on Minimum Wage

Good Intentions 2of3 Minimum Wage, Licensing, and Labor Laws with Walter Williams

“Good Intentions” with Walter E. Williams

Libertarianism: An Introduction

Jon Stewart’s 19 Tough Questions for Libertarians

 

Ralph Nader’s America: Impeach Obama, decriminalize drugs, libertarians & progressives unite!

 

The Fine Print

What if Washington politics were no longer defined by partisan gridlock but instead by a cross-party alliance that forged solutions? The alliance would be unstoppable.

That’s the premise of the new book “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State” by longtime political activist and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who contends that such a left-right alliance is not just the stuff of imagination but is actually emerging.

“On Capitol Hill, I’m seeing more and more in Congress, left and right,” Nader told “The Fine Print.” “It was a vote in the House over a year ago over the NSA snooping, it almost broke through … so we’re beginning to see formulations that once they click together, they’re unstoppable.”

Nader was referring to a vote in July 2013 over a measure known as the Amash Amendment that would have curtailed the National Security Agency’s ability to collect bulk phone call data. The measure narrowly failed by 12 votes, in part due to a concerted White House lobbying effort on Capitol Hill.

Nader expects there is going to be a growth of left-right alliances in Congress, pointing to the war on drugs and bank regulatory efforts as areas of possibly confluence. On the war on drugs, Nader said that the United States should entirely decriminalize and move to regulate all drugs in the same way alcohol and tobacco are regulated.

“Tobacco leads to the deaths of over 400,000 Americans, hard drugs lead perhaps to 8,000,” Nader said. “People who are addicted should not be viewed as criminals. They should be a health problem, the way it is in alcoholism and tobacco.”

But Nader qualified that the success of his envisioned left-right alliance is dependent on strong leaders. He said Sen. Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, has the potential to be a leader for the alliance, but added that he thinks the Kentucky Republican has certain shortcomings as a leader.

“He’s a mixed bag, you know, he’s evolving. He’s broadening his issues that he’s talking about and they’re beginning to resonate,” Nader said. “On the other hand … he has problems dealing with people.”

Paul’s “problems” aside, Nader predicted that he will be “the one to beat” in 2016 in a Republican contest that is also likely to also include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He also made it clear what he does not want to see in 2016: A Jeb Bush – Hillary Clinton matchup.

“You want a dull campaign? Try Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in 2016,” Nader said. “It’ll only be exciting for people who are interested in dynasties and personalities.”

Nader said he never tells anyone not to run for president but that he would oppose a Hillary Clinton presidential bid.

“She’s turned into an international militarist,” he said. “She’s far more hawkish than Obama.”

Nader suggested that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D – Mass., would be a strong alternative to Clinton, with her understanding of “corporate power,” but said that Warren won’t run because Clinton has “dried up” the prospects for other Democratic contenders to compete.

Nader has his own vision for who he’d like to be president and has even put forward a proposal of 20 billionaires who he encourages to run for president – a list that includes media mogul Oprah Winfrey and environmentalist Tom Steyer.

“That’s where we’re at now: 20 billionaires with some enlightened background and I said run. Run! Run as an independent,” Nader said. “Just to shake up this two-party tyranny … So maybe one of them will run. We certainly have enough of them, don’t we?”

When it comes to the current president, Nader said that Obama has violated the Constitution on several occasions and should be impeached.

“Oh, most definitely,” Nader said when asked if Congress should bring forward articles of impeachment against Obama. “The reason why Congress doesn’t want to do it is because it’s abdicated its own responsibility under the Constitution.”

Nader said the president’s use of military force in Libya has been his most “egregious violation of the Constitution.”

For more of the interview with Nader, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/power-players-abc-news/ralph-naders-america-impeach-obama-decriminalize-drugs-libertarians-progressives-unite-110418813.html

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-251

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-235

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The Pronk Pops Show 251, April 28, 2014, Story 1: Lying Vietnam Turncoat and Secretary of State John Kerry Says Israel Could Become “An Apartheid State” in Remarks To The Trilateral Commission — Kerry Desperate As His Foreign Policy Initiatives Go Down The Drain — John Kerry Just Another Cut and Run Democrat — Kerry and Obama Foreign Policy Failures — Videos

Posted on April 28, 2014. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, College, Communications, Constitutional Law, Crime, Culture, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Homicide, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Labor Economics, Law, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Resources, Social Science, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 251: April 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 249: April 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 248: April 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 247: April 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 245: April 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 243: April 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 238: April 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Story 1: Lying Vietnam Turncoat and Secretary of State John Kerry Says Israel Could Become “An Apartheid State” in Remarks To The Trilateral Commission — Kerry Desperate As His Foreign Policy Initiatives Go Down The Drain — John Kerry Just Another Cut and Run Democrat — Kerry and Obama Foreign Policy Failures — Videos

Queen – Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video)

Obama responds, Kerry’s apartheid

Fox Panel on Sec. Kerry Apartheid

John Kerry warns of Mideast “Apartheid”

John Kerry: I May Fail

John Kerry Warns Israel Could Become An Apartheid State

Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Comment About Israel Proves Polarizing

John Kerry: Israel Could Become An Apartheid State Without Peace

Ted Cruz: Kerry Should Resign Over Apartheid Comments

WATCH: Brit Hume Commentary on Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures

Romney slams Obama, Clinton for foreign policy ‘failure’

Judge Jeanine Pirro Skewers Obama’s Feckless Foreign Policy, March 1, 2014

Laura Ingraham : Obama’s Foreign Policy is Ridiculous

Obama Bashes Bush While Introducing John Kerry as Secretary of State Nominee

Israel says new Palestinian unity pact threatens MidEast peace process

Netanyahu: Abbas must end Hamas pact

Israel backs out of Peace Talks over Palestinian Fatah unifying with Hamas (Apr 24, 2014)

Fatah And Hamas Move Towards Reconciliation

Hamas and Fatah agree on landmark Palestinian unity pact

Palestine Unity? Israeli peace accord on hold as Hamas and Fatah join forces

Crime & Punishment in the Gaza Strip

Israel vs Palestine – a must see !!! documentary

Who and what is Hamas?

Hamas vs Fatah

Hamas: Behind The Mask (2005, documentary, full version)

Globalist Controllers Revealed

The Trilateral Commission by Prof. Antony C. Sutton

David Rockefeller Talks About The TriLateral Commission

The Rockefellers & Trilateral Commission

John Kerry’s Israel Boycott Bungle | WSJ Opinion

Randy Forbes Slams Obama Foreign Policy Failures

Is Iran really plotting an attack on U-S soil

Marco on Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy

Newsmax: John Bolton: American Foreign Policy Defined by ‘Weakness’

John Bolton: Obama’s foreign policy is ‘confused, incoherent & incompetent’

America Views Jews in Biblical Land as Illegitimate says US Secretary of State Kerry

Judge Jeanine BLASTS Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures

Kerry Lies Before Congress – John Kerry’s Vietnam Speech – Excerpt

Vietnam Vets Stolen Honor

Swift Boat v. John Kerry Ad #1: “Sell Out”

Swiftboat Veterans Ad on John Kerry – Any Questions (2004)

Senator Rand Paul HUMILIATES and EXPOSES John Kerry!!

Vietnam War Hearing: John Kerry Testimony – Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1971)

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American politician who is the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. He served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013, and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 Presidential Election but lost to incumbent George W. Bush.

The son of an Army Air Corps veteran, Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado. He attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and went on to graduate from Yale University class of 1966, where he majored in political science and became a member of the influential Skull and Bones secret society. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966, and during 1968–1969 served an abbreviated four-month tour of duty in South Vietnam as officer-in-charge (OIC) of a Swift Boat. For that service, he was awarded combat medals that include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Securing an early return to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in which he served as a nationally recognized spokesman and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs where he deemed United States war policy in Vietnam to be the cause of “war crimes.”

After receiving his J.D. from Boston College Law School, Kerry worked as an Assistant District Attorney and co-founded a private firm. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis from 1983 to 1985, where he worked on an early forerunner to the national Clean Air Act. He won a tight Democratic primary in 1984 for the U.S. Senate and was sworn in the following January. On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he led a series of hearings from 1987 to 1989 which were a precursor to the Iran–Contra affair.

In 2002, Kerry voted to authorize the President “to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein”, but warned that the administration should exhaust its diplomatic avenues before launching war. Kerry based his 2004 presidential campaign on opposition to the Iraq War. He and his running mate Senator John Edwards lost the race, finishing 35 electoral votes behind the Republican ticket headed by President George W. Bush (just 19 short of the 270 required for election). Subsequently, he established the Keeping America’s Promise PAC.

Kerry became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, and in 2011 he was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Having been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and then confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 94–3 on January 29, 2013, Kerry assumed the office on February 1, 2013.

After returning to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Then numbering about 20,000,[60] VVAW was considered by some (including the administration of President Richard Nixon) to be an effective, if controversial, component of the antiwar movement.[61] According to Nixon Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, “I didn’t approve of what he did, but I understood the protesters quite well”, and he declined two requests from the Navy to court martial Reserve Lieutenant Kerry over his antiwar activity.[62]

On April 22, 1971, Kerry became the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, when he appeared before a Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. He was still a member of the United States Navy Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Wearing green fatigues and service ribbons, he spoke for nearly two hours with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in what has been named the Fulbright Hearings, after the Chairman of the proceedings, Senator J. W. Fulbright. Kerry began with a prepared speech, in which he presented the conclusions of the Winter Soldier Investigation, and then went on to address larger policy issues.

John Kerry Offered to sell out Democracy programs in Cuba Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

 

Noam Chomsky “Israel: An Apartheid State”

 

Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’

The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to the Jewish state. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well.

It wasn’t the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks.

Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

According to the 1998 Rome Statute, the “crime of apartheid” is defined as “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” The term is most often used in reference to the system of racial segregation and oppression that governed South Africa from 1948 until 1994.

Former president Jimmy Carter came under fire in 2007 for titling his book on Middle East peace Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. Carter has said publicly that his views on Israeli treatment of the Palestinians are a main cause of his poor relationship with President Obama and his lack of current communication with the White House. But Carter explained after publishing the book that he was referring to apartheid-type policies in the West Bank, not Israel proper, and he was not accusing Israel of institutionalized racism.

“Apartheid is a word that is an accurate description of what has been going on in the West Bank, and it’s based on the desire or avarice of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land,” Carter said.

“Injecting a term like apartheidinto the discussion doesn’t advance that goal [of peace],” Obama said. “It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.”

Leading experts, including Richard Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court who led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008 and 2009, have argued that comparisons between the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and “apartheid” are offensive and wrong.

“One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues ‘apartheid’ policies,” Goldstone wrote in The New York Times in 2011. “It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”

In a 2008 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, then-Sen. Barack Obama shot down the notion that the word “apartheid” was acceptable in a discussion about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians:

“There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal,” Obama said. “It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told The Daily Beast that Kerry was simply repeating his view, shared by others, that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel to remain a Jewish state in peace with the Palestinians.

“Secretary Kerry, like Justice Minister Livni, and previous Israeli Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one-state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish State. He was talking about the kind of future Israel wants and the kind of future both Israelis and Palestinians would want to envision,” she said. “The only way to have two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution. And without a two-state solution, the level of prosperity and security the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve isn’t possible.”

But leaders of pro-Israel organizations told The Daily Beast that Kerry’s reference to “apartheid” was appalling and inappropriately alarmist because of its racial connotations and historical context.

“One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues ‘apartheid’ policies,” Goldstone wrote in The New York Times in 2011. “It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”

Yet Israel’s leaders have employed the term, as well. In 2010, for example, former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak used language very similar to Kerry’s. “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

“While we’ve heard Secretary Kerry express his understandable fears about alternative prospects for Israel to a two-state deal and we understand the stakes involved in reaching that deal, the use of the word ‘apartheid’ is not helpful at all. It takes the discussion to an entirely different dimension,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, an organization that has been supportive of Kerry’s peace process initiative. “In trying to make his point, Kerry reaches into diplomatic vocabulary to raise the stakes, but in doing so he invokes notions that have no place in the discussion.”

Kerry has used dire warnings twice in the past to paint a picture of doom for Israel if the current peace process fails. Last November, Kerry warned of a third intifada of Palestinian violence and increased isolation of Israel if the peace process failed. In March, Democrats and Republican alike criticized Kerry for suggesting that if peace talks fail, it would bolster the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“It’s in the Palestinian playbook to tie Israel to these extreme notions of time being on the Palestinian side, that demographics are on the Palestinian side, and that Israel has to confront notions of the Jewishness of the state,” Harris said.

Kerry on Friday repeated his warning that a dissolution of the peace process might lead to more Palestinian violence. “People grow so frustrated with their lot in life that they begin to take other choices and go to dark places they’ve been before, which forces confrontation,” he said.

The secretary of state also implied, but did not say outright, that if the governments of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left power, there could be a change in the prospects for peace. If “there is a change of government or a change of heart,” Kerry said, “something will happen.”

Kerry criticized Israeli settlement construction as being unhelpful to the peace process and he also criticized Palestinian leaders for making statements that declined to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.

“There is a fundamental confrontation and it is over settlements. Fourteen thousand new settlement units announced since we began negotiations. It’s very difficult for any leader to deal under that cloud,” Kerry said.

He acknowledged that the formal negotiating process that he initiated and led since last summer may soon stop. But he maintained that his efforts to push for a final settlement will continue in one form or another.

“The reports of the demise of the peace process have consistently been misunderstood and misreported. And even we are now getting to the moment of obvious confrontation and hiatus, but I would far from declare it dead,” Kerry said. “You would say this thing is going to hell in a handbasket, and who knows, it might at some point, but I don’t think it is right now, yet.”

Kerry gave both Israeli and Palestinian leaders credit for sticking with the peace process for this long. But he added that both sides were to blame for the current impasse in the talks; neither leader was ready to make the tough decisions necessary for achieving peace.

“There’s a period here where there needs to be some regrouping. I don’t think it’s unhealthy for both of them to have to stare over the abyss and understand where the real tensions are and what the real critical decisions are that have to be made,” he said. “Neither party is quite ready to make it at this point in time. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to make these decisions.”

Kerry said that he was considering, at some point, publicly laying out a comprehensive U.S. plan for a final agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in a last-ditch effort to forge a deal before the Obama administration leaves office in 2017.

“We have enough time to do any number of things, including the potential at some point in time that we will just put something out there. ‘Here it is, folks. This is what it looks like. Take it or leave it,’” Kerry said

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/27/exclusive-kerry-warns-israel-could-become-an-apartheid-state.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 250, April 25, 2014, Story 1: 1000 Days and Counting Until Obama Out of Office — Outcome and Results Count — Obama A Failure — Videos

Posted on April 25, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Constitutional Law, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Law, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

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Story 1: 1000 Days and Counting Until Obama Out of Office — Outcome and Results Count — Obama A Failure — Videos

Time Until Obama Out of Office

“Any society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither equality or freedom.”

“A society that puts freedom first will as a happy by-product  end up both with greater freedom and greater equality.”

~Milton Friedman

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works.

Tower of Power – Taxed To The Max

Obama: Income Inequality a Defining Challenge

Obama: We Need “Government Action” To Reduce Income Inequality

Milton Friedman – Equality and Freedom

Milton Friedman – Redistribution of Wealth

Responsibility to the Poor

Milton Friedman – Collectivism

Milton Friedman – Socialism is Force

Milton Friedman – The Escape From Collectivism

Milton Friedman – What is America? (Lecture)

Milton Friedman on his Ideal Society

AYN RAND PREDICTS OBAMAS END TO THE REPUBLIC

 

The Forgotten Man

by William Graham Sumner

Responding to an invitation from Harper’s Weekly the previous fall, Sumner drafted eleven short essays during January 1883 for a series on the relations of workers and employers, each being about 2,000 words in length for which be was paid $50 apiece. After appearing in serial form through the early spring, they were collected as What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (New York, 1883). An expanded version of two of the essays of which he was especially proud, this address was given before audiences in Brooklyn and New Haven on January 30 and February 8 or 9, 1883, and were reprinted in Forgotten Man, ed. Albert Galloway Keller, pp. 465-495.

I propose in this lecture to discuss one of the most subtile and widespread social fallacies. It consists in the impression made on the mind for the time being by a particular fact, or by the interests of a particular group of persons, to which attention is directed while other facts or the interests of other persons are entirely left out of account. I shall give a number of instances and illustrations of this in a moment, and I cannot expect you to understand what is meant from an abstract statement until these illustrations are before you, but just by way of a general illustration I will put one or two cases.

Whenever a pestilence like yellow fever breaks out in any city, our attention is especially attracted towards it, and our sympathies are excited for the sufferers. If contributions are called for, we readily respond. Yet the number of persons who die prematurely from consumption every year greatly exceeds the deaths from yellow fever or any similar disease when it occurs, and the suffering entailed by consumption is very muchgreater. The suflering from consumption, however, never constitutes a public question or a subject of social discussion. If an inundation takes place anywhere, constituting a public calamity (and an inundation takes place somewhere in the civilized world nearly every year), public attention is attracted and public appeals are made, but the losses by great inundations must be insignificant compared with the losses by runaway horses, which, taken separately, scarcely obtain mention in a local newspaper. In hard times insolvent debtors are a large class. They constitute an interest and are able to attract public attention, so that social philosophers discuss their troubles and legislatures plan measures of relief.

Insolvent debtors, however, are an insignificant body compared with the victims of commonplace misfortune, or accident, who are isolated, scattered, ungrouped and ungeneralized, and so are never made the object of discussion or relief. In seasons of ordinary prosperity, persons who become insolvent have to get out of their troubles as they can. They have no hope of relief from the legislature. The number of insolvents during a series of years of general prosperity, and their losses, greatly exceed the number and losses during a special period of distress.

These illustrations bring out only one side of my subject, and that only partially. It is when we come to the proposed measures of relief for the evils which have caught public attention that we reach the real subject which deserves our attention. As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, but what I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.

No doubt one great reason for the phenomenon which I bring to your attention is the passion for reflection and generalization which marks our period. Since the printing press has come into such wide use, we have all been encouraged to philosophize about things in a way which was unknown to our ancestors. They lived their lives out in positive contact with actual cases as they arose. They had little of this analysis, introspection, reflection and speculation which have passed into a habit and almost into a disease with us. Of all things which tempt to generalization and to philosophizing, social topics stand foremost. Each one of us gets some experience of social forces. Each one has some chance for observation of social phenomena. There is certainly no domain in which generalization is easier. There is nothing about which people dogmatize more freely. Even men of scientific training in some department in which they would not tolerate dogmatism at all will not hesitate to dogmatize in the most reckless manner about social topics. The truth is, however, that science, as yet, has won less control of social phenomena than of any other class of phenomena. The most complex and difficult subject which we now have to study is the constitution of human society, the forces which operate in it, and the laws by which they act. and we know less about these things than about any others which demand our attention. In such a state of things, over-hasty generalization is sure to be extremely mischievous. You cannot take up a magazine or newspaper without being struck by the feverish interest with which social topics and problems are discussed, and if you were a student of social science, you would find in almost all these discussions evidence,not only that the essential preparation for the discussion is wanting, but that the disputants do not even know that there is any preparation to be gained. Consequently we are bewildered by contradictory dogmatizing. We find in all these discussions only the application of pet notions and the clashing of contradictory “views.” Remedies are confidently proposed for which there is no guarantee offered except that the person who prescribes the remedy says that he is sure it will work. We hear constantly of “reform,” and the reformers turn out to be people who do not like things as they are and wish that they could be made nicer. We hear a great many exhortations to make progress from people who do not know in what direction they want to go. Consequently social reform is the most barren and tiresome subject of discussion amongst us, except aesthetics.

I suppose that the first chemists seemed to be very hard-hearted and unpoetical persons when they scouted the glorious dream of the alchemists that there must be some process for turning base metals into gold. I suppose that the men who first said, in plain, cold assertion, there is no fountain of eternal youth, seemed to be the most cruel and coldhearted adversaries of human happiness. I know that the economists who say that if we could transmute lead into gold, it would certainly do us no good and might do great harm, are still regarded as unworthy of belief. Do not the money articles of the newspapers yet ring with the doctrine that we are getting rich when we give cotton and wheat for gold rather than when we give cotton and wheat for iron?

Let us put down now the cold, hard fact and look at it just as it is. There is no device whatever to be invented for securing happiness without industry, economy. and virtue. We are yet in the empirical stage as regards all our social devices. We have done something in science and art in the domain of production, transportation and exchange. But when you come to the laws of the social order, we know very little about them.

Our laws and institutions by which we attempt to regulate our lives under the laws of nature which control society are merely a series of haphazard experiments. We come into collision with the laws and are not intelligent enough to understand wherein we are mistaken and how to correct our errors. We persist in our experiments instead of patiently setting about the study of the laws and facts in order to see where we are wrong. Traditions and formulae have a dominion over us in legislation and social customs which we seem unable to break or even to modify.

For my present purpose I ask your attention for a few moments to the notion of liberty, because the Forgotten Man would no longer be forgotten where there was true liberty. You will say that you know what liberty is. There is no term of more common or prouder use. None is more current, as if it were quite beyond the need of definition. Even as I write, however, I find in a leading review a new definition of civil liberty. Civil liberty the writer declares to be “the result of the restraint exercised by the sovereign people on the more powerful individuals and classes of the community, preventing them from availing themselves of the excess of their power to the detriment of the other classes.” You notice here the use of the words “sovereign people” to designate a class of the population, not the nation as a political and civil whole. Wherever “people” is used in such a sense, there is always fallacy. Furthermore, you will recognize in this definition a very superficial and fallacious construction of English constitutional history. The writer goes on to elaborate that construction and he comes out at last with the conclusion that “a government by the people can, in no case, become a paternal government, since its law-makers are its mandataries and servants carrying out its will, and not its fathers or its masters.” This, then, is the point at which he desires to arrive, and he has followed a familiar device in setting up a definition to start with which would produce the desired deduction at the end.

In the definition the word “people” was used for a class or section of the population. It is now asserted that if that section rules, there can be no paternal, that is. undue, government. That doctrine, however, is the very opposite of liberty and contains the most vicious error possible in politics. The truth is that cupidity, selfishness, envy, malice, lust, vindictiveness, are constant vices of human nature. They are not confined to classes or to nations or particular ages of the world. They present themselves in the palace, in the parliament, in the academy, in the church, in the workshop, and in the hovel. They appear in autocracies, theocracies, aristocracies, democracies, and ochlocracies all alike. They change their masks somewhat from age to age and from one form of society to another. All history is only one long story to this effect: men have struggled for power over their fellow-men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others. It is true that, until this time, the proletariat, the mass of mankind, have rarely had the power and they have not made such a record as kings and nobles and priests have made of the abuses they would perpetrate against their fellow-men when they could and dared. But what folly it is to think that vice and passion are limited by classes, that liberty consists only in taking power away from nobles and priests and giving it to artisans and peasants and that these latter will never abuse it! They will abuse it just as all others have done unless they are put under checks and guarantees,and there can be no civil liberty anywhere unless rights are guaranteed against all abuses, as well from proletarians as from generals, aristocrats,and ecclesiastics.

Now what has been amiss in all the old arrangements? The evil of the old military and aristocratic governments was that some men enjoyed the fruits of other men’s labor; that some other persons’ lives, rights, interests and happiness were sacrificed to other persons’ cupidity and lust. What have our ancestors been striving for, under the name of civil liberty, for the last five hundred years? They have been striving to bring it about that each man and woman might live out his or her life according to his or her own notions of happiness and up to the measure of his or her own virtue and wisdom. How have they sought to accomplish this? They have sought to accomplish it by setting aside all arbitrary personal or class elements and introducing the reign of law and the supremacy of constitutional institutions like the jury, the habeas corpus, the independent judiciary, the separation of church and state, and the ballot. Note right here one point which will be important and valuable when I come more especially to the case of the Forgotten Man: whenever you talk of liberty, you must have two men in mind. The sphere of rights of one of these men trenches upon that of the other, and whenever you establish liberty for the one, you repress the other. Whenever absolute sovereigns are subjected to constitutional restraints, you always hear them remonstrate that their liberty is curtailed. So it is, in the sense that their power of determining what shall be done in the state is limited below what it was before and the similar power of other organs in the state is widened. Whenever the privileges of an aristocracy are curtailed, there is heard a similar complaint. The truth is that the line of limit or demarcation between classes as regards civil power has been moved and what has been taken from one class is given to another.

We may now, then, advance a step in our conception of civil liberty. It is the status in which we find the true adjustment of rights between classes and individuals. Historically, the conception of civil liberty has been constantly changing. The notion of rights changes from one generation to another and the conception of civil liberty changes with it. If we try to formulate a true definition of civil liberty as an ideal thing towards which the development of political institutions is all the time tending, it would be this: Civil liberty is the status of the man who is guaranteed by law and civil institutions the exclusive employment of all his own powers for his own welfare.

This definition of liberty or civil liberty, you see, deals only with concrete and actual relations of the civil order. There is some sort of a poetical and metaphysical notion of liberty afloat in men’s minds which some people dream about which nobody can define. In popular language it means that a man may do as he has a mind to. When people get this notion of liberty into their heads and combine with it the notion that they live in a free country and ought to have liberty, they sometimes make strange demands upon the state. If liberty means to be able to do as you have a mind to, there is no such thing in this world. Can the Czar of Russia do as he has a mind to? Can the Pope do as he has a mind to? Can the President of the United States do as he has a mind to? Can Rothschild do as he has a mind to? Could a Humboldt or a Faraday do as he had a mind to? Could a Shakespeare or a Raphael do as he had a mind to? Can a tramp do as he has a mind to? Where is the man, whatever his station, possessions, or talents, who can get any such liberty? There is none. There is a doctrine floating about in our literature that we are born to the inheritance of certain rights. That is another glorious dream, for it would mean that there was something in this world which we got for nothing. But what is the truth? We are born into no right whatever but what has an equivalent and corresponding duty right alongside of it. There is no such thing on this earth as something for nothing. Whatever we inherit of wealth, knowledge, or institutions from the past has been paid for by the labor and sacrifice of preceding generations; and the fact that these gains are carried on, that the race lives and that the race can, at least within some cycle, accumulate its gains, is one of the facts on which civilization rests. The law of the conservation of energy is not simply a law of physics; it is a law of the whole moral universe, and the order and truth of all things conceivable by man depends upon it. If there were any such liberty as that of doing as you have a mind to, the human race would be condemned to everlasting anarchy and wars these erratic wills crossed and clashed against each other. True liberty lies in the equilibrium of rights and duties, producing peace, order, and harmony. As I have defined it, it means that a man’s right to take power and wealth out of the social product is measured by the energy and wisdom which he has contributed to the social effort.

Now if I have set this idea before you with any distinctness and success, you see that civil liberty consists of a set of civil institutions and laws which are arranged to act as impersonally as possible. It does not consist in majority rule or in universal suffrage or in elective systems at all. These are devices which are good or better just in the degree in which they secure liberty. The institutions of civil liberty leave each man to run his career in life in his own way, only guaranteeing to him that whatever he does in the way of industry, economy, prudence, sound judgment, etc., shall redound to his own welfare and shall not be diverted to some one else’s benefit. Of course it is a necessary corollary that each man shall also bear the penalty of his own vices and his own mistakes. If I want to be free from any other man’s dictation, I must understand that I can have no other man under my control.

Now with these definitions and general conceptions in mind, let us turn to the special class of facts to which, as I said at the outset, I invite your attention. We see that under a regime of liberty and equality before that law, we get the highest possible development of independence, self-reliance, individual energy, and enterprise, but we get these high social virtues at the expense of old sentimental ties which used to unite baron and retainer. master and servant, sage and disciple, comrade and comrade. We are agreed that the son shall not be disgraced even by the crime of the father, much less by the crime of a more distant relative. It is a humane and rational view of things that each life shall stand for itself alone and not be weighted by the faults of another, but it is useless to deny that this view of things is possible only in a society where the ties of kinship have lost nearly all the intensity of poetry and romance which once characterized them. The ties of sentiment and sympathy also have faded out. We have come, under the regime of liberty and equality before the law, to a form of society which is based not on status, but on free contract. Now a society based on status is one in which classes, ranks,interests, industries, guilds, associations, etc., hold men in permanent relations to each other. Custom and prescription create, under status, ties, the strength of which lies in sentiment. Feeble remains of this may be seen in some of our academical societies to-day, and it is unquestionably a great privilege and advantage for any man in our society to will an experience of the sentiments which belong to a strong and close association, just because the chances for such experience are nowadays very rare. In a society based on free contract, men come together as free and independent parties to an agreement which is of mutual advantage. The relation is rational, even rationalistic. It is not poetical. It does not exist from use and custom, but for reasons given, and it does not endure by prescription but ceases when the reason for it ceases. There is no sentiment in it at all. The fact is that, under the regime of liberty and equality before the law, there is no place for sentiment in trade or politics as public interests. Sentiment is thrown back into private life, into personal relations, and if ever it comes into a public discussion of an impersonal and general public question it always produces mischief.

Now you know that “the poor and the weak” are continually put forward as objects of public interest and public obligation. In the appeals which are made, the terms “the poor” and “the weak” are used as if they were terms of exact definition. Except the pauper, that is to say, the man who cannot earn his living or pay his way, there is no possible definition of a poor man. Except a man who is incapacitated by vice or by physical infirmity, there is no definition of a weak man. The paupers and the physically incapacitated are an inevitable charge on society. About them no more need be said. But the weak who constantly arouse the pity of humanitarians and philanthropists are the shiftless, the imprudent, the negligent, the impractical, and the inefficient, or they are the idle, the intemperate, the extravagant, and the vicious. Now the troubles of these persons are constantly forced upon public attention, as if they and their interests deserved especial consideration, and a great portion of all organized and unorganized effort for the common welfare consists in attempts to relieve these classes of people. I do not wish to be understood now as saying that nothing ought to be done for these people by those who are stronger and wiser. That is not my point. What I want to do is to point out the thing which is overlooked and the error which is made ill all these charitable efforts. The notion is accepted as if it were not open to any question that if you help the inefficient and vicious you may gain something for society or you may not, but that you lose nothing. This is a complete mistake. Whatever capital you divert to the support of a shiftless and good-for-nothing person is so much diverted from some other employment, and that means from somebody else. I would spend any conceivable amount of zeal and eloquence if I possessed it to try to make people grasp this idea. Capital is force. If it goes one way it cannot go another. If you give a loaf to a pauper you cannot give the same loaf to a laborer. Now this other man who would have got it but for the charitable sentiment which bestowed it on a worthless member of society is the Forgotten Man. The philanthropists and humanitarians have their minds all full of the wretched and miserable whose case appeals to compassion, attacks the sympathies, takes possession of the imagination, and excites the emotions. They push on towards the quickest and easiest remedies and they forget the real victim.

Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, ready to earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent, self-supporting, and asks no favors. He does not appeal to the emotions or excite the sentiments. He only wants to make a contract and fulfill it, with respect on both sides and favor on neither side. He must get his living out of the capital of the country. The larger the capital is, the better living he can get. Every particle of capital which is wasted on the vicious, the idle, and the shiftless is so much taken from the capital available to reward the independent and productive laborer. But we stand with our backs to the independent and productive laborer all the time. We do not remember him because he makes no clamor; but I appeal to you whether he is not the man who ought to be remembered first of all, and whether, on any sound social theory, we ought not to protect him against the burdens of the goodfornothing. In these last years I have read hundreds of articles and heard scores of sermons ands peeches which were really glorifications of the good-for-nothing, as if these were the charge of society, recommended by right reason to it scare and protection, We are addressed all the time as if those who are respectable were to blame because some are not so, and as if there were an obligation on the part of those who have done their duty towards those who have not done their duty. Every man is bound to take care of himself and his family and to do his share in the work of society. It is totally false that one who has done so is bound to bear the care and charge of those who are wretched because they have not done so. The silly popular notion is that the beggars live at the expense of the rich, but the truth is that those who eat and produce not, live at the expense of those who labor and produce. The next time that you are tempted to subscribe a dollar to a charity, I do not tell you not to do it, because after you have fairly considered the matter, you may think it right to do it, but I do ask you to stop and remember the Forgotten Man and understand that if you put your dollar in the savings bank it will go to swell the capital of the country which is available for division amongst those who, while they earn it, will reproduce it with increase.

Let us now go on to another class of cases. There are a great many schemes brought forward for “improving the condition of the working classes.” I have shown already that a free man cannot take a favor. One who takes a favor or submits to patronage demeans himself. He falls under obligation. He cannot be free and he cannot assert a station of equality with the man who confers the favor on him. The only exception is where there are exceptional bonds of affection or friendship, that is, where the sentimental relation supersedes the free relation. Therefore, in a country which is a free democracy, all propositions to do something for the working classes have an air of patronage and superiority which is impertinent and out of place. No one can do anything for anybody else unless he has a surplus of energy to dispose of after taking care of himself. In the United States, the working classes, technically so called, are the strongest classes. It is they who have a surplus to dispose of if anybody has. Why should anybody else offer to take care of them or to serve them? They can get whatever they think worth having and, at any rate, if they are free men in a free state, it is ignominious and unbecoming to introduce fashions of patronage and favoritism here. A man who, by superior education and experience of business, is in a position to advise a struggling man of the wages class, is certainly held to do so and will, I believe, always be willing and glad to do so; but this sort of activity lies in the range of private and personal relations.

I now, however, desire to direct attention to the public, general, and impersonal schemes, and I point out the fact that, if you undertake to lift anybody, you must have a fulcrum or point of resistance. All the elevation you give to one must be gained by an equivalent depression on some one else. The question of gain to society depends upon the balance of the account, as regards the position of the persons who undergo the respective operations. But nearly all the schemes for “improving the condition of the working man” involve an elevation of some working men at the expense of other working men. When you expend capital or labor to elevate some persons who come within the sphere of your influence, you interfere in the conditions of the competition. The advantage of some is won by an equivalent loss of others. The difference is not brought about by the energy and effort of the persons themselves. If it were, there would be nothing to be said about it, for we constantly see people surpass others in the rivalry of life and carry off the prizes which the others must do without. In the cases I am discussing, the difference is brought about by an interference which must be partial, arbitrary, accidental, controlled by favortism and personal preference. I do not say, in this case, either, that we ought to do no work of this kind. On the contrary, I believe that the arguments for it quite outweigh, in many cases, the arguments against it. What I desire, again, is to bring out the forgotten element which we always need to remember in order to make a wise decision as to any scheme of this kind. I want to call to mind the Forgotten Man, because, in this case also, if we recall him and go to look for him, we shall find him patiently and perseveringly, manfully and independently struggling against adverse circumstances without complaining or begging. If, then, we are led to heed the groaning and complaining of others and to take measures for helping these others,we shall, before we know it, push down this man who is trying to help himself.

Let us take another class of cases. So far we have said nothing about the abuse of legislation. We all seem to be under the delusion that the rich pay the taxes. Taxes are not thrown upon the consumers with any such directness and completeness as is sometimes assumed; but that, in ordinary states of the market, taxes on houses fall, for the most part, on the tenants and that taxes on commodities fall, for the most part, on the consumers, is beyond question. Now the state and municipality go to great expense to support policemen and sheriffs and judicial officers, to protect people against themselves, that is, against the results of their own folly, vice, and recklessness. Who pays for it? Undoubtedly the people who have not been guilty of folly, vice, or recklessness. Out of nothing conies nothing. We cannot collect taxes from people who produce nothing and save nothing. The people who have something to tax must be those who have produced and saved.

When you see a drunkard in the gutter, you are disgusted, but you pity him. When a policeman comes and picks him up you are satisfied.v You say that “society” has interfered to save the drunkard from perishing. Society is a fine word, and it saves us the trouble of thinking to say that society acts. The truth is that the policeman is paid by somebody,and when we talk about society we forget who it is that pays. It is the Forgotten Man again. It is the industrious workman going home from a hard day’s work, whom you pass without noticing, who is mulcted of a percentage of his day’s earnings to hire a policeman to save the drunkard from himself. All the public expenditure to prevent vice has the same effect. Vice is its own curse. If we let nature alone, she cures vice by the most frightful penalties. It may shock you to hear me say it, but when you get over the shock, it will do you good to think of it: a drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be. Nature is working away at him to get him out of the way, just as she sets up her processes of dissolution to remove whatever is a failure in its line. Gambling and less mentionable vices all cure themselves by the ruin and dissolution of their victims. Nine-tenths of our measures for preventing vice are really protective towards it, because they ward off the penalty. “Ward off,” I say, and that is the usual way of looking at it; but is the penalty really annihilated? By no means. It is turned into police and court expenses and spread over those who have resisted vice. It is the Forgotten Man again who has been subjected to the penalty while our minds were full of the drunkards, spendthrifts, gamblers, and other victims of dissipation. Who is, then, the Forgotten Man? He is the clean, quiet, virtuous, domestic citizen, who pays his debts and his taxes and is never heard of out of his little circle. Yet who is there in the society of a civilized state who deserves to be remembered and considered by the legislator and statesman before this man?

Another class of cases is closely connected with this last. There is an apparently invincible prejudice in people’s minds in favor of state regulation. All experience is against state regulation and in favor of liberty. The freer the civil institutions are, the more weak or mischievous state regulation is. The Prussian bureaucracy can do a score of things for the citizen which no governmental organ in the United States can do; and, conversely, if we want to be taken care of as Prussians and Frenchmen are, we must give up something of our personal liberty.

Now we have a great many well-intentioned people among us who believe that they are serving their country when they discuss plans for regulating the relations of employer and employee, or the sanitary regulations of dwellings, or the construction of factories, or the way to behave on Sunday, or what people ought not to eat or drink or smoke. All this is harmless enough and well enough as a basis of mutual encouragement and missionary enterprise, but it is almost always made a basis of legislation. The reformers want to get a majority, that is, to get the power of the state and so to make other people do what the reformers think it right and wise to do. A and B agree to spend Sunday in a certain way. They get a law passed to make C pass it in their way. They determine to be teetotallers and they get a law passed to make C be a teetotaller for the sake of D who is likely to drink too much. Factory acts for women and children are right because women and children are not on an equal footing with men and cannot, therefore, make contracts properly. Adult men, in a free state, must be left to make their own contracts and defend themselves. It will not do to say that some men are weak and unable to make contracts any better than women. Our civil institutions assume that all men are equal in political capacity and all are given equal measure of political power and right, which is not the case with women and children. If, then, we measure political rights by one theory and social responsibilities by another, we produce an immoral and vicious relation. A and B, however, get factory acts and other acts passed regulating the relation of employers and employee and set armies of commissioners and inspectors traveling about to see to things, instead of using their efforts, if any are needed, to lead the free men to make their own conditions as to what kind of factory buildings they will work in, how many hours they will work, what they will do on Sunday and so on. The consequence is that men lose the true education in freedom which is needed to support free institutions. They are taught to rely on government officers and inspectors. The whole system of government inspectors is corrupting to free institutions. In England, the liberals used always to regard state regulation with suspicion, but since they have come to power, they plainly believe that state regulation is a good thing if they regulate because, of course, they want to bring about good things. In this country each party takes turns, according as it is in or out, iii supporting or denouncing the non-interference theory.

Now, if we have state regulation, what is always forgotten is this: Who pays for it? Who is the victim of it? There always is a victim. The work-men who do not defend themselves have to pay for the inspectors who defend them. The whole system of social regulation by boards, commissioners, and inspectors consists in relieving negligent people of the consequences of their negligence and so leaving them to continue negligent without correction. That system also turns away from the agencies which are close, direct, and germane to the purpose, and seeks others. Now, if you relieve negligent people of the consequences of their negligence, you can only throw those consequences on the people who have not been negligent. If you turn away from the agencies which are direct and cognate to the purpose, you can only employ other agencies. Here, then, you have your Forgotten Man again. The man who has been careful and prudent and who wants to go on and reap his advantages for himself and his children is arrested just at that point, and he is told that he must go and take care of some negligent employees in a factory or on a railroad who have not provided precautions for themselves or have not forced their employers to provide precautions, or negligent tenants who have not taken care of their own sanitary arrangements, or negligent householders who have not provided against fire, or negligent parents who have not sent their children to school. If the Forgotten Man does not go, he must hire an inspector to go. No doubt it is often worth his while to go or send, rather than leave the thing undone, on account of his remoter interest; but what I want to show is that all this is unjust to the Forgotten Man, and that the reformers and philosophers miss the point entirely when they preach that it is his duty to do all this work. Let them preach to the negligent to learn to take care of themselves. Whenever A and B put their heads together and decide what A, B and C must do for D, there is never any pressure on A and B. They consent to it and like it. There is rarely any pressure on D because he does not like it and contrives to evade it. The pressure all comes on C. Now, who is C? He is always the man who, if let alone, would make a reasonable use of his liberty without abusing it. He would not constitute any social problem at all and would not need any regulation. He is the Forgotten Man again, and as soon as he is brought from his obscurity you see that he is just that one amongst us who is what we all ought to be.

Let us look at another case. I read again and again arguments to prove that criminals have claims and rights against society. Not long ago, I read an account of an expensive establishment for the reformation of criminals, and I am told that we ought to reform criminals, not merely punish them vindictively. When I was a young man, I read a great many novels by Eugene Sue, Victor Hugo, and other Frenchmen of the school of ’48, in which the badness of a bad man is represented, not as his fault, but as the fault of society. Now, as society consists of the bad men plus the good men, and as the object of this declaration was to show that the badness of the bad men was not the fault of the bad men, it remains that the badness of the bad men must be the fault of the good men. No doubt,it is far more consoling to the bad men than even to their friends to reach the point of this demonstration.

Let us ask, now, for a moment, what is the sense of punishment, since a good many people seem to be quite in a muddle about it. Every man in society is bound in nature and reason to contribute to the strength and welfare of society. He ought to work, to be peaceful, honest, just, and virtuous. A criminal is a man who, instead of working with and for society, turns his efforts against the common welfare in some way or other. He disturbs order, violates harmony, invades the security and happiness of others, wastes and destroys capital. If he is put to death, it is on the ground that he has forfeited all right to existence in society by the magnitude of his offenses against its welfare. If he is imprisoned, it is simply a judgment of society upon him that he is so mischievous to the society that he must be segregated from it. His punishment is a warning to him to reform himself, just exactly like the penalties inflicted by God and nature on vice. A man who has committed crime is, therefore, a burden on society and an injury to it. He is a destructive and not a productive force and everybody is worse off for his existence than if he did not exist. Whence, then, does he obtain a right to be taught or reformed at the public expense? The whole question of what to do with him is one of expediency, and it embraces the whole range of possible policies from that of execution to that of education and reformation, but when the expediency of reformatory attempts is discussed we always forget the labor and expense and who must pay. All that the state does for the criminal, beyond forcing him to earn his living, is done at the expense of the industrious member of society who never costs the state anything for correction and discipline. If a man who has gone astray can be reclaimed in any way, no one would hinder such a work, but people whose minds are full of sympathy and interest for criminals and who desire to adopt some systematic plans of reformatory efforts are only,once more, trampling on the Forgotten Man.

Let us look at another case. If there is a public office to be filled, of course a great number of persons come forward as candidates for it. Many of these persons are urged as candidates on the ground that they are badly off, or that they cannot support themselves, or that they want to earn a living while educating themselves, or that they have female relatives dependent on them, or for some other reason of a similar kind. In other cases, candidates are presented and urged on the ground of their kinship to somebody, or on account of service, it may be meritorious service, in some other line than that of the duty to be performed. Men are proposed for clerkships on the ground of service in the army twenty years ago, or for customhouse inspectors on the ground of public services in the organization of political parties. If public positions are granted on these grounds of sentiment or favoritism, the abuse is to be condemned on the ground of the harm done to the public interest; but I now desire to point out another thing which is constantly forgotten. If you give a position to A, you cannot give it to B. If A is an object of sentiment or favoritism and not a person fit and competent to fulfill the duty, who is B? He is somebody who has nothing but merit on his side, somebody who has no powerful friends, no political influence, some quiet, unobtrusive individual who has known no other way to secure the chances of life than simply to deserve them. Here we have the Forgotten Man again, and once again we find him worthy of all respect and consideration, but passed by in favor of the noisy, pushing, and incompetent. Who ever remembers that if you give a place to a man who is unfit for it you are keeping out of it somebody, somewhere, who is fit for it?

Let us take another case. A trades-union is an association of journeymen in a certain trade which has for one of its chief objects to raise wages in that trade. This object can be accomplished only by drawing more capital into the trade, or by lessening the supply of labor in it. To do the latter, the trades-unions limit the number of apprentices who may be admitted to the trade. In discussing this device, people generally fix their minds on the beneficiaries of this arrangement. It is desired by everybody that wages should be as high as they can be under the conditions of industry. Our minds are directed by the facts of the case to the men who are in the trade already and are seeking their own advantage. Sometimes people go on to notice the effects of trades-unionism on the employers, but although employers are constantly vexed by it, it is seen that they soon count it into the risks of their business and settle down to it philosophically. Sometimes people go further then and see that, if the employer adds the trades-union and strike risk to the other risks, he submits to it because he has passed it along upon the public and that the public wealth is diminished by trades-unionism, which is undoubtedly the case. I do not remember, however, that I have ever seen in print any analysis and observation of trades-unionism which takes into account its effect in another direction. The effect on employers or on the public would not raise wages. The public pays more for houses and goods, but that does not raise wages. The surplus paid by the public is pure loss, because it is only paid to cover an extra business risk of the employer. If their trades-unions raise wages, how do they do it? They do it by lessening the supply of labor in the trade, and this they do by limiting the number of apprentices. All that is won, therefore, for those in the trade, is won at the expense of those persons in the same class in life who want to get into the trade but are forbidden. Like every other monopoly, this one secures advantages for those who are in only at a greater loss to those who are kept out. Who, then, are those who are kept out and who are always forgotten in all the discussions? They are the Forgotten Men again; and what kind of men are they? They are those young men who want to earn their living by the trade in question. Since they select it, it is fair to suppose that they are fit for it, would succeed at it, and would benefit society by practicing it; but they are arbitrarily excluded from it and are perhaps pushed down into the class of unskilled laborers. When people talk of the success of a trades-union in raising wages, they forget these persons who have really, in a sense, paid the increase.

Let me now turn your attention to another class of cases. I have shown how, in times past, the history of states has been a history of selfishness, cupidity, and robbery, and I have affirmed that now and always the problems of government are how to deal with these same vices of human nature. People are always prone to believe that there is something metaphysical and sentimental about civil affairs, but there is not. Civil institutions are constructed to protect, either directly or indirectly, the property of men and the honor of women against the vices and passions of human nature. In our day and country, the problem presents new phases, but it is there just the same as it ever was, and the problem is only the more difficult for us because of its new phase which prevents us from recognizing it. In fact, our people are raving and struggling against it in a kind of blind way, not yet having come to recognize it. More than half of their blows, at present, are misdirected and fail of their object, but they will be aimed better by and by. There is a great deal of clamor about watering stocks and the power of combined capital, which is not very intelligent or well-directed. The evil and abuse which people are groping after in all these denunciations is jobbery.

By jobbery I mean the constantly apparent effort to win wealth, not by honest and independent production, but by some sort of a scheme for extorting other people’s product from them. A large part of our legislation consists in making a job for somebody. Public buildings are jobs,not always, but in most cases. The buildings are not needed at all or are costly far beyond what is useful or even decently luxurious. Internal improvements are jobs. They are carried out, not because they are needed in themselves, but because they will serve the turn of some private interest, often incidentally that of the very legislators who pass the appropriations for them. A man who wants a farm, instead of going out where there is plenty of land available for it, goes down under the Mississippi River to make a farm, and then wants his fellow-citizens to be taxed to dyke the river so as to keep it off his farm. The Californian hydraulic miners have washed the gold out of the hillsides and have washed the dirt down into the valleys to the ruin of the rivers and the farms. They want the federal government to remove this dirt at the national expense. The silver miners, finding that their product is losing value in the market, get the government to go into the market as a great buyer in the hope of sustaining the price. The national government is called upon to buy or hire unsailable ships; to dig canals which will not pay; to educate illiterates in the states which have not done their duty at the expense of the states which have done their duty as to education; to buy up telegraphs which no longer pay; and to provide the capital for enterprises of which private individuals are to win the profits. We are called upon to squander twenty millions on swamps and creeks; from twenty to sixty-six millions on the Mississippi River; one hundred millions in pensions–and there is now a demand for another hundred million beyond that. This is the great plan of all living on each other. The pensions in England used to be given to aristocrats who had political power, in order to corrupt them. Here the pensions are given to the great democratic mass who have the political power, in order to corrupt them. We have one hundred thousand federal office-holders and I do not know how many state and municipal office-holders. Of course public officers are necessary and it is an economical organization of society to set apart some of its members for civil functions, but if the number of persons drawn from production and supported by the producers while engaged in civil functions is in undue proportion to the total population, there is economic loss. If public offices are treated as spoils or benefices or sinecures, then they are jobs and only constitute part of the pillage.

The biggest job of all is a protective tariff. This device consists in delivering every man over to be plundered by his neighbor and in teaching him to believe that it is a good thing for him and his country because he may take his turn at plundering the rest. Mr. Kelley said that if the internal revenue taxes on whisky and tobacco, which are paid to the United States government, were not taken off, there would be a rebellion. Just then it was discovered that Sumatra tobacco was being imported, and the Connecticut tobacco men hastened to Congress to get a tax laid on it for their advantage. So it appears that if a tax is laid on tobacco, to be paid to the United States, there will be a rebellion, but if a tax is laid on it to be paid to the farmers of the Connecticut Valley, there will be no rebellion at all. The tobacco farmers having been taxed for protected manufacturers are now to be taken into the system, and the workmen in the factories are to be taxed on their tobacco to protect the farmers.So the system is rendered more complete and comprehensive.

On every hand you find this jobbery. The government is to give every man a pension, and every man an office, and every man a tax to raise the price of his product, and to clean out every man’s creek for him, and to buy all his unsalable property, and to provide him with plenty of currency to pay his debts, and to educate his children, and to give him the use of a library and a park and a museum and a gallery of pictures. On every side the doors of waste and extravagance stand open; and spend, squander, plunder, and grab are the watchwords. We grumble some about it and talk about the greed of corporations and the power of capital and the wickedness of stock gambling. Yet we elect the legislators who do all this work. Of course, we should never think of blaming ourselves for electing men to represent and govern us, who, if I may use a slang expression, give us away. What man ever blamed himself for his misfortune? We groan about monopolies and talk about more laws to prevent the wrongs done by chartered corporations. Who made the charters? Our representatives. Who elected such representatives? We did. How can we get bad law-makers to make a law which shall prevent bad law-makers from making a bad law? That is, really, what we are trying to do. If we are a free, self-governing people, all our misfortunes come right home to ourselves and we can blame nobody else. Is any one astonished to find that men are greedy, whether they are incorporated or not? Is it a revelation to find that we need, in our civil affairs, to devise guarantees against selfishness, rapacity, and fraud? I have ventured to affirm that government has never had to deal with anything else.

Now, I have said that this jobbery means waste, plunder, and loss, and I define it at the outset as the system of making a chance to extort part of his product from somebody else. Now comes the question: Who pays for it all? The system of plundering each other soon destroys all that it deals with. It produces nothing. Wealth comes only from production, and all that the wrangling grabbers, loafers, and jobbers get to deal with comes from somebody’s toil and sacrifice. Who, then, is he who provides it all? Go and find him and you will have once more before you the Forgotten Man. You will find him hard at work because he has a great many to support. Nature has done a great deal for him in giving him a fertile soil and an excellent climate and he wonders why it is that, after all, his scale of comfort is so moderate. He has to get out of the soil enough to pay all his taxes, and that means the cost of all the jobs and the fund for all the plunder. The Forgotten Man is delving away in patient industry, supporting his family, paying his taxes, casting his vote, supporting the church and the school, reading his newspaper, and cheering for the politician of his admiration, but he is the only one for whom there is no provision in the great scramble and the big divide.

Such is the Forgotten Man. He works, he votes, generally he prays– but he always pays–yes, above all, he pays. He does not want an office; his name never gets into the newspaper except when he gets married or dies. He keeps production going on. He contributes to the strength of parties. He is flattered before election. He is strongly patriotic. He is wanted, whenever, in his little circle, there is work to be done or counsel to be given. He may grumble some occasionally to his wife and family, but he does not frequent the grocery or talk politics at the tavern. Consequently, he is forgotten. He is a commonplace man. He gives no trouble. He excites no admiration. He is not in any way a hero (like a popular orator); or a problem (like tramps and outcasts); nor notorious (like criminals); nor an object of sentiment (like the poor and weak); nor a burden (like paupers and loafers); nor an object out of which social capital may be made (like the beneficiaries of church and state charities); nor an object for charitable aid and protection (like animals treated with cruelty); nor the object of a job (like the ignorant and illiterate); nor one over whom sentimental economists and statesmen can parade their fine sentiments (like inefficient workmen and shiftless artisans). Therefore, he is forgotten. All the burdens fall on him, or on her, for it is time to remember that the Forgotten Man is not seldom a woman.

When you go to Willimantic, they will show you with great pride the splendid thread mills there. I am told that there are sewing-women who can earn only fifty cents in twelve hours, and provide the thread. In the cost of every spool of thread more than one cent is tax. It is paid not to get the thread, for you could get the thread without it. It is paid to get the Willimantic linen company which is not worth having and which is, in fact, a nuisance, because it makes thread harder to get than it would be if there were no such concern. If a woman earns fifty cents in twelve hours, she earns a spool of thread as nearly as may be in an hour, and if she uses a spool of thread per day, she works a quarter of an hour per day to support the Willimantic linen company, which in 1882 paid 95 per cent dividend to its stockholders. If you go and look at the mill, it will captivate your imagination until you remember all the women in all the garrets, and all the artisans’ and laborers’ wives and children who are spending their hours of labor, not to get goods which they need, but to pay for the industrial system which only stands in their way and makes it harder for them to get the goods.

It is plain enough that the Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman are the very life and substance of society. They are the ones who ought to be first and always remembered. They are always forgotten by sentimentalists, philanthropists, reformers, enthusiasts, and every description of speculator in sociology, political economy, or political science. If a student of any of these sciences ever comes to understand the position of the Forgotten Man and to appreciate his true value, you will find such student an uncompromising advocate of the strictest scientific thinking on all social topics, and a cold and hard-hearted skeptic towards all artificial schemes of social amelioration. If it is desired to bring about social improvements bring us a scheme for relieving the Forgotten Man of some of his burdens. He is our productive force which we are wasting. Let us stop wasting his force. Then we shall have a clean and simple gain for the whole society. The Forgotten Man is weighted down with the cost and burden of the schemes for making everybody happy, with the cost of public beneficence, with the support of all the loafers, with the loss of all the economic quackery, with the cost of all the jobs. Let us remember him a little while. Let us take some of the burdens off him. Let us tun our pity on him instead of on the goodfornothing. It will be only justice to him, and society will greatly gain by it. Why should we not also have the satisfaction of thinking and caring for a little about the clean, honest, industrious, independent, self-supporting men and women who have not inherited much to make life luxurious for them, but who are doing what they can to get on in the world without begging from anybody, especially since all they want is to be let alone, with good friendship and honest respect, Certainly the philanthropists and Sentimentalists have kept our attention for a longtime on the nasty, shiftless, criminal, whining, crawling, and good for nothing people, as if they alone deserved our attention.

The Forgotten Man is never a pauper. He almost always has a little capital because it belongs to the character of the man to save something. He never has more than a little. He is, therefore, poor in the popular sense, although in the correct sense he is not so. I have said already that if you learn to look for the Forgotten Man and to care for him, you will be very skeptical toward all philanthropic and humanitarian schemes. It is clear now that the interest of the Forgotten Man and the interest of “the poor,” “the weak,” and the other petted classes are in antagonism, In fact, the warning to you to look for the Forgotten Man comes the minute that the orator or writer begins to talk about the poor man. That minute the Forgotten Man is in danger of a new assault, and if you intend to meddle in the matter at all, then is the minute for you to look about for him and to give him your aid. Hence, if you care for the Forgotten Man, you will be sure to be charged with not caring for the poor. Whatever you do for any of the petted classes wastes capital. If you do anything for the Forgotten Man, you must secure him his earnings and savings, that is, you legislate for the security of capital and for its free employment; you must oppose paper money, wildcat banking and usury laws and you must maintain the inviolability of contracts. Hence you must be prepared to be told that you favor the capitalist class, the enemy of the poor man.

What the Forgotten Man really wants is true liberty. Most of his wrongs and woes come from the fact that there are yet mixed together in our institutions the old mediaeval theories of protection and personal dependence and the modern theories of independence and individual liberty. The consequence is that the people who are clever enough to get into positions of control, measure their own rights by the paternal theory and their own duties by the theory of independent liberty. It follows that the Forgotten Man, who is hard at work at home, has to pay both ways. His rights are measured by the theory of liberty, that is, he has only such as he can conquer. His duties are measured by the paternal theory, that is, he must discharge all which are laid upon him, as is always the fortune of parents. People talk about the paternal theory of government as if it were a very simple thing. Analyze it, however, and you see that in every paternal relation there must be two parties, a parent and a child, and when you speak metaphorically, it makes all the difference in the world who is parent and who is child. Now, since we, the people, are the state, whenever there is any work to be done or expense to be paid, and since the petted classes and the criminals and the jobbers cost and do not pay, it is they who are in the position of the child, and it is the Forgotten Man who is the parent. What the Forgotten Man needs, therefore, is that we come to a clearer understanding of liberty and to a more complete realization of it. Every step which we win in liberty will set the Forgotten Man free from some of his burdens and allow him to use his powers for himself and for the commonwealth.

http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rbannis1/AIH19th/Sumner.Forgotten.html

The Real William Graham Sumner 

by Jeff Riggenbach

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 249, April 24, 2014, Story 1: American People Want Jobs and XL Pipeline Built — Obama Opposes Pipeline To Placate Radical Eco-Socialists aka Watermellons — Green On The Outside — Red on The Inside — Videos

Posted on April 23, 2014. Filed under: Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Climate Change, Coal, Coal, Communications, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, Politics, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Resources, Security, Social Science, Success, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: American People Want Jobs and XL Pipeline Built  — Obama Opposes Pipeline To Placate Radical Eco-Socialists aka Watermellons — Green On The Outside — Red on The Inside — Videos

keystone-pipeline

 Keystone-XL-Pipeline-Proposed-Route

KeystoneXL-pipeline-routeOil-Pipeline_Web

texas_xl

obama_delayedobama_delays_xl

Keystone-XL-Pipeline-Jobs

Ramirez Who Speaks for the 99%

Obomb

Keystone XL Pipeline Delay Debated on Fox News Sunday Panel

Obama, Delaying XL Keystone Is A Major Political Move – Stuart Varney My Take

US puts off decision on Keystone XL pipeline

Blackburn on Keystone XL Project: ‘Build the Pipeline’

New Keystone XL Pipeline Report by State Department SHOCKING

Warren Buffett Comes Out in Favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline

To the Last Drop: Canada’s Dirty Oil Sands – Part 1

To the Last Drop: Canada’s Dirty Oil Sands – Part 2

Lowry: Obama Delaying Keystone XL to Please Left-wing Billionaire Thomas Steyer

The billionaire out to kill the Keystone pipeline

Tar Sands Oil Extraction – The Dirty Truth

Must Big Money Remain the Key Decider of Public Policy?

 

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“Can Keystone Pass the President’s Climate Test?” Tom Steyer Keynote

Keystone XL Pipeline to Raise Gas Prices: Steyer

Sustainability: Why Tom Steyer is confronting this moral issue

Tom Steyer Interview | KQED This Week

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Should we build the Keystone Pipeline?

 

Oil Truth Part 2: The Keystone XL Pipeline

Megastructures Canada’s Ultimate Oil Sands Mine

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Story 1: American People Want Pipeline Built and Jobs — Obama Opposes Pipeline To Placate Radical Leftist Watermellons — Green On The Outside — Red on The Inside — Videos

 

The term “watermelon” is commonly applied, often pejoratively, to Greens who seem to put “social justice” goals above ecological ones, implying they are “green on the outside but red on the inside”; the term is usually attributed to either Petr Beckmann or, more frequently, Warren T. Brookes,[2][3][4] both critics of environmentalism, and is common in Australia,[5][6] New Zealand[7] and the United States

 

New High: 61% Favor Building the Keystone XL Pipeline

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Support for building the Keystone XL pipeline is now at its highest level ever.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor building the major oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, while just 27% are opposed. This includes 37% who Strongly Favor the project and 10% who Strongly Oppose it. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Support for building the pipeline is up four points from 57% in January and now has edged above the previous high of 60% found in November 2011 when President Obama first delayed the project for further environmental study.

Sixty-two percent (62%) believe it will be good for the U.S. economy if the pipeline is built. That’s up from 56% at the beginning of the year and also a new high. Unchanged are the 10% who think the pipeline will be bad for the economy. Twelve percent (12%) say it will have no impact, while 16% are not sure.

Thirty-two percent (32%) think the pipeline will be bad for the environment. But 54% disagree, with 13% who feel it will be good for the environment and 41% who say it will have no environmental impact. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters say the pipeline is at least somewhat important to how they will vote in the next congressional election, with 23% who say it is Very Important. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say the Keystone project is not important to their vote, including 11% who say it is Not at All Important.

The Obama administration announced last Friday that it is delaying a decision on building the Keystone pipeline until after the Nebraska Supreme Court rules on a legal challenge. Supporters of the Keystone project claim the administration is deliberately postponing the decision until after Election Day.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 21-22, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Two-out-of-three voters (65%) believe the United States does not do enough to develop its own gas and oil resources.

A plurality (46%) of voters continues to think it is possible to build the Keystone pipeline in a way that doesn’t significantly damage the environment, but support for that position has steadily deteriorated from 57% in November 2011.

Men and those 40 and over are stronger believers in building the Keystone project and in its economic benefits than women and younger voters are.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either major project favor building the Keystone pipeline, but just 42% of Democrats agree. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of GOP voters and 56% of unaffiliateds say the pipeline is important to their vote in the next congressional election, a view shared by 47% of Democrats.

Forty-three percent (43%) of all voters who Strongly Favor building the Keystone pipeline say it is Very Important to their vote in November. Among voters in the smaller group who Strongly Oppose the pipeline, 37% rate it Very Important to their vote.

Mainstream voters and those in the Political Class are in general agreement about building the pipeline, but Political Class voters are twice as likely as the others to view the project as bad for the environment.

Opponents of the pipeline strongly believe it will bad for the environment. Supporters tend to think building the Keystone project will have no environmental impact.

Half (49%) of all voters continue to believe there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Just 28% disagree.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans rate the quality of the environment in the United States as good or excellent, but 41% think it’s getting worse.  Just 24% think the environment’s getting better.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Tom Steyer, self-deluded liberal billionaire

Tom Steyer’s cash is being used to fund attack ads claiming that the Republican Senate candidates are stooges, but when the spotlight shifts ever so slightly to him, he vehemently denies any comparison between himself — altruistic liberal — and those money-grubbing Koch brothers:

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 26: Tom Steyer poses for a portrait on Saturday, January 26, 2012, in Washington, DC. For the first time in years, President Obama has started talking in blunt terms about global warming. Billionaire Tom Steyer of San Francisco is the man who has Obama's ear when it comes to energy and climate change. Steyer is helping drive policy in Washington and is even under consideration to be the next Energy Secretary, though he might not want the job. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Tom Steyer poses for a portrait on Jan. 26, 2012, in Washington. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Charles and David Koch’s priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks — and that’s not true for us,” Steyer said.

A Koch spokesman objected to Steyer’s characterization.

“That assertion is false and disingenuous, and people can see through that. Koch opposes all mandates and subsidies, even when they exist for businesses in which we operate. In doing so, we act against our self-interest. We have been consistent in this position for over 40 years,” spokesman Robert Tappan said in an email.

Really, is Steyer serious or simply another self-deluded billionaire? Steyer has interests — in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, for example. Whether it is a monetary interest or not, he’s using his considerable wealth to do just what the Koch brothers do, namely, influence the political process. Meanwhile, the Kochs accurately state that unlike some business interests, they oppose almost every regulation because they believe in the free market. They also believe in a Rand Paul-like foreign policy and gay marriage. Maybe Steyer is like the Kochs — but only when the latter are on the “right” side?

It really boils down to typical left-wing arrogance. Liberals say that they are for the poor and that conservatives are selfish. And if one brings up the skyrocketing poverty rate, their opposition to welfare reform (which lifted people out of poverty and into the workplace) and their war against school choice (which benefits poor kids), the answer is either “Give us more power” or “At least our intentions are pure.” (Steyer insists: “I think [the Kochs are] in a very, very different position than me and from the people that I work with. And the fact that we’re on opposite sides of the table on a lot of issues — that is true. But the way that we’re approaching them is very, very different.” Really?)

The hypocrisy is remarkable. First, we witnessed liberal outrage over defeats in the campaign finance cases (in Citizens United, then with McCutcheon), which decried shadowy third-party groups (just Republican ones)Now, the hypocrisy is in full view in the war against the Kochs led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is using Steyer’s wealth to stay in power. It is all a bit much. Democrats have always had the advantage of Big Labor to supply money and troops for Democratic campaigns. Those guys sure want something in return (e.g. card check, National Labor Relations Board appointments). Democrats have cash from Hollywood, Manhattan and Silicon Valley liberal elites who would like pot and gay marriage to be legal and the internal combustion engine to disappear. Those people are just as “selfish” as the Koch brothers, arguably more so since it is the working class, not liberal elites, who will, for example, feel the pinch from higher fuel prices.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/04/23/tom-steyer-self-deluded-billionaire/

Hedge Fund Billionaire Tom Steyer Comes Under Republican Attack

When liberal billionaire Tom Steyer ran his hedge fund firm, he worked so hard to stay under the radar that his Farallon Capital Management was known as a secretive operation in the investment community. He avoided publicly and guarded his privacy even as Farallon became one of the largest hedge funds in the nation.

But now Steyer is pursuing an aggressive financial campaign to support Democratic candidates and push climate change measures on both the federal and state level, sometimes by using stinging attack ads. He is backing his NextGen Climate Action group with $50 million and hoping to raise another $50 million from donors. That would make it one of the biggest outside political groups in the country.

Fortune Brainstorm Green 2013(Photo credit: Fortune Live Media)

Now, Steyer’s political activities have made him a target of Republicans and conservative groups that increasingly view Steyer as the liberal version of the billionaire Koch brothers. The Koch brothers have been vilified by Democrats for their enormous financial support of Republican candidates and conservative causes. On the surface, it appears conservatives have found their own billionaire punching bag.

Steyer has been targeted by American Commitment, a GOP-leaning group that has started a campaign to link Democratic candidates to Steyer. It recently started running an online ad that claims Steyer is to blame for the Obama administration dragging its feet on making a decision on the Keystone pipeline. The purpose of the ad is to accuse Democratic Senator Mark Udall, who is running for re-election in Colorado, of being in the pocket of Steyer and his environmental agenda. American Commitment previously ran an online ad called “Steyer Infection,” saying he was one of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “billionaire buddies” and was blocking energy opportunities in America even though his hedge fund once financed Indonesia’s second biggest coal company.

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger at The Washington Post, took the baton on Wednesday and called Steyer a “self-deluded liberal billionaire,” reacting tocomments Steyer made to Politico and The Washington Post, in which Steyer said “there are real distinctions between the Koch brothers and us.” Steyer said that the Kochs’ political efforts “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks—and that’s not true for us,” a notion that Rubin wrote “boils down to typical left-wing arrogance.”

Meanwhile, the conservative Washington Free-Beacon has been running articles that are critical of how Steyer ran Farallon. One article focused on the work of UnFarallon, a student group that a decade ago championed the idea of universities disclosing their private equity investments. The group made a big deal of Farallon’s 1995 partnership with Yale that invested in a water-development project in Colorado that the group said was bad for the environment. Steyer and Farallon  have always claimed that the allegations were misguided, but he was clearly uncomfortable a decade ago being singled out for public attack. This election cycle there is a much bigger bullseye on his back.

The conservative press has followed up with accusations that Steyer had ties to a $67 million Ponzi scheme, referring to a lawsuit in Texas that centers around German real estate investors. Farallon has denied wrongdoing, saying it was only marginally involved in the project.

The campaign against Steyer is reminiscent of President Barack Obama’s attack ads against Mitt Romney’s private equity background during the 2012 presidential campaign. In such a scenario, Farallon might become the Bain Capital of the 2014 election cycle. Bain Capital, the large private equity firm founded by Romney, was vilified throughout 2012 in a massive media campaign designed to undermine Romney. Steyer left Farallon in 2012 and the San Francisco-based firm, which oversees some $19 billion, is now run by Andrew Spokes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2014/04/24/hedge-fund-billionaire-tom-steyer-comes-under-republican-attack/

 

Billionaire Liberal Donor Gets Way on Keystone Pipeline

By Rich Lowry – April 22, 2014

In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances and competing influences among the president and Congress, the states and the federal government, and billionaire liberal donor Tom Steyer.

Tom Steyer isn’t Senate majority leader, or chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, or even Senate president pro tem. He’s merely the man who wants to spend $100 million on Democrats this year and who hates the Keystone pipeline.

President Barack Obama famously boasted that he has a pen and a phone that give him the power to make Washington act. Except, evidently, if Tom Steyer doesn’t want him to.

Last week, the Obama administration yet again delayed its long-delayed determination whether or not to approve the Keystone pipeline, a nondecision strategically announced not just on a Friday, but a Friday that is one of the holiest days of the year. The administration had enough self-awareness to know its latest exercise of executive inaction was nothing to be proud of.

Even in the mainstream media, almost everyone assumed the move was entirely political. The project has undergone multiple reviews beginning in 2009 and always gotten a clean bill of health. The administration cited a lawsuit in Nebraska that might affect the path of the pipeline as reason for the new delay. This is an absurd fig leaf. A fight over the pipeline in one state doesn’t affect whether the State Department — which is involved because the project crosses an international boundary — can determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest or not.

One theory is that the White House thinks the delay is good politics because it allows endangered Red State Democrats who favor the pipeline to distance themselves from the president by attacking his foot-dragging. If so, this is highly counterintuitive political strategy: We’ll do you a big favor by making another in a series of indefensible nondecisions that are unpopular in your state.

The simpler explanation is that Tom Steyer, as well as the liberal donors and climate activists allied with him, is getting his way. They were always an influential constituency in the Democratic party, but became even more so a few months ago when Steyer pledged $50 million of his own money to Democrats in the midterms, to be matched by another $50 million from other donors. In a punishing year for Democrats, this was rare good news. Why mess it up by deciding Keystone on the merits?

For all the complaints about money in politics, it is unusual that a high-profile decision seems to have such a direct connection to one big-time donor. This isn’t sneaking a small but consequential provision into a 1,000-page bill in the dead of night. It is blocking a project in broad daylight that is important to a close ally (Canada), that will instantly create thousands of construction jobs, that will send a signal to Vladimir Putin that we are serious about developing energy resources, and that will have no net effect on global warming (as the latest State Department review established).

Steyer deserves perverse credit for his success defying what would otherwise be uncontroversial public policy. Rarely does a meritless cause get so much traction. But union workers can be forgiven for not appreciating Steyer’s virtuosity. The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America went further than any Republican in denouncing the latest delay. He called it a “gutless move,” “politics at its worst,” and “another low blow to the working men and women of our country.”

Needless to say, Steyer hasn’t received a fraction of the press coverage of the Koch brothers, whose funding of conservative groups has made them an obsession for the New York Times and other outlets. Steyer isn’t nearly as interesting — he’s just the guy with effective veto power over a major infrastructure project clearly in the national interest.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/22/billionaire_liberal_donor_gets_way_on_keystone_pipeline_122369.htmlr

America’s power grid at the limit: The road to electrical blackouts

Photo of Steve Goreham
Steve Goreham

Executive Director, Climate Science Coalition

Americans take electricity for granted. It powers our lights, our computers, our offices, and our industries. But misguided environmental policies are eroding the reliability of our power system.

Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system ― and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.

Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days. Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet ― we dodged a cannon ball.”

Environmental policies established by Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving us toward electrical grid failure. The capacity reserve margin for hot or cold weather events is shrinking in many regions. According to Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”

EPA policies, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.

In addition to shrinking reserve margin, electricity prices are becoming less stable. Natural gas-fired plants are replacing many of the closing coal-fired facilities. Gas powered 27 percent of US electricity in 2013, up from 18 percent a decade earlier. When natural gas is plentiful, its price is competitive with that of coal fuel.

But natural gas is not stored on plant sites like coal. When electrical and heating demand spiked in January, gas was in short supply. Gas prices soared by a factor of twenty, from $5 per million BTU to over $100 per million BTU. Consumers were subsequently shocked by utility bills several times higher than in previous winters.

On top of existing regulations, the EPA is pushing for carbon dioxide emissions standards for power plants, as part of the “fight” against human-caused climate change. If enacted, these new regulations will force coal-fired plants to either close or add expensive carbon capture and storage technology. This EPA crusade against global warming continues even though last winter was the coldest U.S. winter since 1911-1912.

Nuclear generating facilities are also under attack. Many of the 100 nuclear power plants that provided 20 percent of American electricity for decades can no longer be operated profitably. Exelon’s six nuclear power plants in Illinois have operated at a loss for the last six years and are now candidates for closure.

What industry pays customers to take its product? The answer is the U.S. wind industry. Wind-generated electricity is typically bid in electrical wholesale markets at negative prices. But how can wind systems operate at negative prices?

The answer is that the vast majority of U.S. wind systems receive a federal production tax credit (PTC) of up to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for produced electricity. Some states add an additional credit, such as Iowa, which provides a corporate tax credit of 1.5 cents per kw-hr. So wind operators can supply electricity at a pre-tax price of a negative 3 or 4 cents per kw-hr and still make an after-tax profit from subsidies, courtesy of the taxpayer.

As wind-generated electricity has grown, the frequency of negative electricity pricing has grown. When demand is low, such as in the morning, wholesale electricity prices sometimes move negative. In the past, negative market prices have provided a signal to generating systems to reduce output.

image002But wind systems ignore the signal and continue to generate electricity to earn the PTC, distorting wholesale electricity markets. Negative pricing by wind operators and low natural gas prices have pushed nuclear plants into operating losses. Yet, Congress is currently considering whether to again extend the destructive PTC subsidy.

Capacity shortages are beginning to appear. A reserve margin deficit of two gigawatts is projected for the summer of 2016 for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), serving the northern plains states. Reserve shortages are also projected for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) by as early as this summer.

The United States has the finest electricity system in the world, with prices half those of Europe. But this system is under attack from foolish energy policies. Coal-fired power plants are closing, unable to meet EPA environmental guidelines. Nuclear plants are aging and beset by mounting losses, driven by negative pricing from subsidized wind systems. Without a return to sensible energy policies, prepare for higher prices and electrical grid failures.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/23/americas-power-grid-at-the-limit-the-road-to-electrical-blackouts/2/

 

Eco-socialism

Eco-socialismgreen socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxismsocialism, and/or libertarian socialism with that of green politicsecology and alter-globalization. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusionpovertywar and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures.[1]

Eco-socialists advocate dismantling capitalism, focusing on common ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers, and restoring the commons.[1]

Ideology

Eco-socialists are critical of many past and existing forms of both Green politics and socialism. They are often described as “Red Greens” – adherents to Green politics with clear anti-capitalist views, often inspired by Marxism (Red Greens are in contrast to eco-capitalists and Green anarchists).

The term “watermelon” is commonly applied, often pejoratively, to Greens who seem to put “social justice” goals above ecological ones, implying they are “green on the outside but red on the inside”; the term is usually attributed to either Petr Beckmann or, more frequently, Warren T. Brookes,[2][3][4] both critics of environmentalism, and is common in Australia,[5][6] New Zealand[7] and the United States.[8]

A New Zealand website, The Watermelon, uses the term proudly, stating that it is “green on the outside and liberal on the inside”, while also citing “socialist political leanings”, reflecting the use of the term “liberal” to describe theleft wing in many English-speaking countries.[7] Red Greens are often considered “fundies” or “fundamentalist greens”, a term usually associated with Deep Ecology even though the German Green Party “fundi” faction included eco-socialists, and eco-socialists in other Green Parties, like Derek Wall, have been described in the press as fundies.[9][10]

Eco-socialists also criticise bureaucratic and elite theories of self-described socialism such as MaoismStalinism and what other critics have termed Bureaucratic collectivism or state capitalism. Instead, eco-socialists focus on imbuing socialism with ecology while keeping the emancipatory goals of “first-epoch” socialism.[1] Eco-socialists aim for communal ownership of the means of production by “freely associated producers” with all forms of domination eclipsed, especially gender inequality and racism.[1]

This often includes the restoration of commons land in opposition to private property,[11] in which local control of resources valorizes the Marxist concept of use value above exchange value.[12] Practically, eco-socialists have generated various strategies to mobilise action on an internationalist basis, developing networks of grassroots individuals and groups that can radically transform society through nonviolent “prefigurative projects” for a post-capitalistpost-statist world.[12]

History

1880s-1930s – Marx, Morris and influence on the Russian Revolution[edit]

Contrary to the depiction of Karl Marx by some environmentalists,[13] social ecologists[14] and fellow socialists[15] as a productivist who favoured the domination of nature, eco-socialists have revisited Marx’s writings and believe that he “was a main originator of theecological world-view”.[12] Eco-socialist authors, like John Bellamy Foster[16] and Paul Burkett,[17] point to Marx’s discussion of a “metabolic rift” between man and nature, his statement that “private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite absurd as private ownership of one man by another” and his observation that a society must “hand it [the planet] down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”.[18] Nonetheless, other eco-socialists feel that Marx overlooked a “recognition of nature in and for itself”, ignoring its “receptivity” and treating nature as “subjected to labor from the start” in an “entirely active relationship”.[12]

Therefore William Morris, the English novelist, poet and designer, is largely credited with developing key principles of what was later called eco-socialism.[19] During the 1880s and 1890s, Morris promoted his eco-socialist ideas within the Social Democratic Federationand Socialist League.[20]

Following the Russian Revolution, some environmentalists and environmental scientists attempted to integrate ecological consciousness into Bolshevism, although many such people were later purged from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[21] The “pre-revolutionary environmental movement”, encouraged by revolutionary scientist Aleksandr Bogdanov and the Proletkul’t organisation, made efforts to “integrate production with natural laws and limits” in the first decade of Soviet rule, before Joseph Stalin attacked ecologists and the science of ecology and the Soviet Union fell into the pseudo-science of the state biologist Trofim Lysenko, who “set about to rearrange the Russian map” in ignorance of environmental limits.[12]

Ecoanarchism[edit]

Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreauand his book Walden[22] as well as Leo Tolstoy[23] and Elisee Reclus.[24][25] In the late 19th century there emerged anarcho-naturism as the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in France, Spain, Cuba[26] and Portugal.[23][27] Several anarchists from the mid-20th century, including Herbert ReadEthel ManninLeopold Kohr,[28] Jacques Ellul,[29] and Paul Goodman,[30] also held proto-environmental views linked to their anarchism. Mannin’s 1944 book Bread and Roses: A Utopian Survey and Blue-Print has been described by anarchist historian Robert Graham as setting forth “an ecological vision in opposition to the prevailing and destructive industrial organization of society”.[30] Important contemporary currents are anarcho-primitivism and social ecology.[31]

Social ecology and communalism[edit]

Social ecology is closely related to the work and ideas of Murray Bookchin and influenced by anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Social ecologists assert that the present ecological crisis has its roots in human social problems, and that the domination of human-over-nature stems from the domination of human-over-human.[32] In 1958, Murray Bookchin defined himself as an anarchist,[33]seeing parallels between anarchism and ecology. His first book, Our Synthetic Environment, was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber in 1962, a few months before Rachel Carson‘sSilent Spring.[34] The book described a broad range of environmental ills but received little attention because of its political radicalism. His groundbreaking essay “Ecology and Revolutionary Thought” introduced ecology as a concept in radical politics.[35] In 1968 he founded another group that published the influential Anarchos magazine, which published that and other innovative essays on post-scarcity and on ecological technologies such as solar and wind energy, and on decentralization and miniaturization. Lecturing throughout the United States, he helped popularize the concept of ecology to the counterculture.

Post-Scarcity Anarchism is a collection of essays written by Murray Bookchin and first published in 1971 by Ramparts Press.[36] It outlines the possible form anarchism might take under conditions of post-scarcity. It is one of Bookchin’s major works,[37] and its radical thesis provoked controversy for being utopian and messianic in its faith in the liberatory potential oftechnology.[38] Bookchin argues that post-industrial societies are also post-scarcity societies, and can thus imagine “the fulfillment of the social and cultural potentialities latent in a technology of abundance”.[38] The self-administration of society is now made possible by technological advancement and, when technology is used in an ecologically sensitive manner, the revolutionary potential of society will be much changed.[39] In 1982, his book The Ecology of Freedom had a profound impact on the emerging ecology movement, both in the United States and abroad. He was a principal figure in the Burlington Greens in 1986-90, an ecology group that ran candidates for city council on a program to create neighborhood democracy.

Bookchin later developed a political philosophy to complement social ecology which he called “Communalism” (spelled with a capital “C” to differentiate it from other forms of communalism). While originally conceived as a form ofSocial anarchism, he later developed Communalism into a separate ideology which incorporates what he saw as the most beneficial elements of Anarchism, Marxism, syndicalism, and radical ecology.

Politically, Communalists advocate a network of directly democratic citizens’ assemblies in individual communities/cities organized in a confederal fashion. This method used to achieve this is called Libertarian Municipalism which involves the establishment of face-to-face democratic institutions which are to grow and expand confederally with the goal of eventually replacing the nation-state.

Janet Biehl (born 1953) is a writer associated with social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. In 1986 she attended the Institute for Social Ecology and there began a collaborative relationship with Bookchin, working intensively with him over the next two decades in the explication of social ecology from their home in Burlington, Vermont.[40] From 1987 to 2000 she and Bookchin co-wrote and co-published the theoretical newsletter Green Perspectives, later renamed Left Green Perspectives.[41]She is the editor and compiler of The Murray Bookchin Reader (1997);[42] the author of The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (1998) and Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics (1991); and coauthor (with Peter Staudenmaier) of Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience (1995).

1970s-1990s – Rise of environmentalism and engagement with Marxism and ‘actually existing socialism’

In the 1970s, Barry Commoner, suggesting a left-wing response to the Limits to Growth model that predicted catastrophic resource depletion and spurred environmentalism, postulated that capitalist technologies were chiefly responsible for environmental degradation, as opposed to population pressures.[43] East German dissident writer and activist Rudolf Bahro published two books addressing the relationship between socialism and ecology – The Alternative in Eastern Europe[44] and Socialism and Survival[45] – which promoted a ‘new party’ and led to his arrest, for which he gained international notoriety.

At around the same time, Alan Roberts, an Australian Marxist, posited that people’s unfulfilled needs fuelled consumerism.[46] Fellow Australian Ted Trainer further called upon socialists to develop a system that met human needs, in contrast to the capitalist system of created wants.[47] A key development in the 1980s was the creation of the journal “Capitalism, Nature, Socialism” in short CNS with James O’Connor as founding editor and the first issue in 1988. The debates ensued led to a host of theoretical works by O’Connor,Carolyn MerchantPaul Burkett and others.

The Australian Democratic Socialist Party launched the Green Left Weekly newspaper in 1991, following a period of working within Green Alliance and Green Party groups in formation. This ceased when the Australian Greens adopted a policy of proscription of other political groups in August 1991.[48] The DSP also published a comprehensive policy resolution, “Socialism and Human Survival” in book form in 1990, with an expanded second edition in 1999 entitled “Environment, Capitalism & Socialism”.[49]

1990s onwards – Engagement with the anti-globalization movement and The Ecosocialist Manifesto

The 1990s saw the socialist feminists Mary Mellor[50] and Ariel Salleh[51] address environmental issues within an eco-socialist paradigm. With the rising profile of the anti-globalization movement in the Global South, an “environmentalism of the poor”, combiningecological awareness and social justice, has also become prominent.[11] David Pepper also released his important work, Ecosocialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice, in 1994, which critiques the current approach of many within Green politics, particularly deep ecologists.[52]

In 2001, Joel Kovel, a social scientistpsychiatrist and former candidate for the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) Presidential nomination in 2000, and Michael Löwy, an anthropologist and member of the Reunified Fourth International (a principal Trotskyistorganisation), released An ecosocialist manifesto, which has been adopted by some organisations[20] and suggests possible routes for the growth of eco-socialist consciousness.[1] Kovel’s 2002 work, The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?,[12] is considered by many to be the most up-to-date exposition of eco-socialist thought.[19]

In October 2007, the International Ecosocialist Network was founded in Paris.[53]

Influence on current Green and socialist movements

Currently, many Green Parties around the world, such as the Dutch Green Left Party (GroenLinks), contain strong eco-socialist elements. Radical Red-green alliances have been formed in many countries by eco-socialists, radical Greens and other radical left groups. In Denmark, the Red-Green Alliance was formed as a coalition of numerous radical parties. Within the European Parliament, a number of far-left parties from Northern Europe have organized themselves into the Nordic Green Left Alliance. Red Greens feature heavily in the Green Party of Saskatchewan (in Canada but not necessarily affiliated to the Green Party of Canada) and GPUS.

The Green Party of England and Wales features an eco-socialist group, Green Left, that was founded in June 2005 and whose members hold a number of influential positions within the party, including both the former Principal Speakers Siân Berry and Dr. Derek Wall, himself an eco-socialist and marxist academic, as well as prominent Green Party candidate and human rights activist Peter Tatchell.[20] Many Marxist organisations also contain eco-socialists, as evidenced by Löwy’s involvement in the reunified Fourth Internationaland Socialist Resistance, a British Marxist newspaper that reports on eco-socialist issues and has published two collections of essays on eco-socialist thought: Ecosocialism or Barbarism?, edited by Jane Kelly and Sheila Malone, and The Global Fight for Climate Justice, edited by Ian Angus with a foreword by Derek Wall.[54][55]

Influence on “existing socialist” regimes

Eco-socialism has had a minor influence over developments in the environmental policies of what can be called “existing socialist” regimes, notably the People’s Republic of ChinaPan Yue, Deputy Director of the PRC‘s State Environmental Protection Administration, has acknowledged the influence of eco-socialist theory on his championing of environmentalism within China, which has gained him international acclaim (including being nominated for the Person of the Year Award 2006 by The New Statesman,[56] a British current affairs magazine). Yue stated in an interview that, while he often finds eco-socialist theory “too idealistic” and lacking “ways of solving actual problems”, he believes that it provides “political reference for China’s scientific view of development”, “gives socialist ideology room to expand” and offers “a theoretical basis for the establishment of fair international rules” on the environment.

He echoes much of eco-socialist thought, attacking international “environmental inequality”, refusing to focus on technological fixes and arguing for the construction of “a harmonious, resource-saving and environmentally-friendly society”. He also shows a knowledge of eco-socialist history, from the convergence of radical green politics and socialism and their political “red-green alliances” in the post-Soviet era. This focus on eco-socialism has informed an essay, On Socialist Ecological Civilisation, published in September 2006, which, according to chinadialogue, “sparked debate” in China.[57] The current Constitution of Bolivia, promulgated in 2009, is the first both ecologic and pro-socialist Constitution in the world, making the Bolivian state officially ecosocialist.[58]

Ecosocialist International Network (EIN) and other international eco-socialist organisations

In 2007, it was announced that attempts to form an Ecosocialist International Network (EIN) would be made and an inaugural meeting of the International occurred on October 7, 2007 in Paris.[59] The meeting attracted “more than 60 activists from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States” and elected a Steering Committee featuring representatives from Britain, the United States, Canada, France, Greece, Argentina, Brazil and Australia, including Joel KovelMichael LöwyDerek WallIan Angus (editor of Climate and Capitalism in Canada) and Ariel Salleh. The Committee states that it wants “to incorporate members from China, India, Africa, Oceania and Eastern Europe”. EIN held its second international conference in January 2009, in association with the next World Social Forum in Brazil”.[60] The conference released The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration.[61]

International networking by eco-socialists has already been seen in the Praxis Research and Education Center, a group on international researchers and activists. Based in Moscow and established in 1997, Praxis, as well as publishing books “by libertarian socialists, Marxist humanistsanarchists, [and] syndicalists“, running the Victor Serge Library and opposing war in Chechnya, states that it believes “that capitalism has brought life on the planet near to the brink of catastrophe, and that a form of ecosocialism needs to emerge to replace capitalism before it is too late”.[62][63]

Critique of capitalist expansion and globalisation

Merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, environmentalism and ecology, eco-socialists generally believe that the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusioninequality and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures.

In the Ecosocialist manifestoKovel and Löwy suggest that capitalist expansion causes both “crises of ecology” through “rampant industrialization” and “societal breakdown” that springs “from the form of imperialism known as globalization”. They believe that capitalism’s expansion “exposes ecosystems” to pollutants, habitat destruction and resource depletion, “reducing the sensuous vitality of nature to the cold exchangeability required for the accumulation of capital“, while submerging “the majority of the world’s people to a mere reservoir of labor power” as it penetrates communities through “consumerism and depoliticization”.[1]

Other eco-socialists, like Wall, highlight how, in the Global Southfree-market capitalism structures economies to produce export-geared crops that take water from traditional subsistence farms, increasing hunger and the likelihood of famine; furthermore, forests are increasingly cleared and enclosed to produce cash crops that separate people from their local means of production and aggravate povertyWall shows that many of the world’s poor have access to the means of production through “non-monetised communal means of production“, such as subsistence farming, but, despite providing for need and a level of prosperity, these are not included in conventional economics measures, like GNP.

Wall therefore views neo-liberal globalization as “part of the long struggle of the state and commercial interests to steal from those who subsist” by removing “access to the resources that sustain ordinary people across the globe”.[19] Furthermore, Kovel sees the form of neo-liberal globalization as “a return to the pure logic of capital” that “has effectively swept away measures which had inhibited capital’s aggressivity, replacing them with naked exploitation of humanity and nature”; for Kovel, this “tearing down of boundaries”, which was “a deliberate response to a serious accumulation crisis” in the 1970s, has become the definition of modern ‘globalization’.[64]

Furthermore, Guha and Martinez-Alier blame globalization for creating increased levels of waste and pollution, and then dumping the waste on the most vulnerable in society, particularly those in the Global South.[11] Others have also noted that capitalism disproportionately affects the poorest in the Global North as well, leading to examples of resistance such as the environmental justice movement in the USA, consisting of working-class people and ethnic minorities who highlight the tendency for waste dumps, major road projects and incinerators to be constructed around socially excluded areas. However, as Wall highlights, such campaigns are often ignored or persecuted precisely because they originate among the most marginalized in society: the African-American radical green religious group MOVE, campaigning for ecological revolution and animal rights from Philadelphia, had many members imprisoned or even killed by US authorities from the 1970s onwards.[19]

Eco-socialism disagrees with the elite theories of capitalism, which tend to label a specific class or social group as conspirators who construct a system that satisfies their greed and personal desires. Instead, eco-socialists suggest that the very system itself is self-perpetuating, fuelled by “extra-human” or “impersonal” forces. Kovel uses the Bhopal industrial disaster as an example. Many anti-corporate observers would blame the avarice of those at the top of many multi-national corporations, such as the Union CarbideCorporation in Bhopal, for seemingly isolated industrial accidents. Conversely, Kovel suggests that Union Carbide were experiencing a decrease in sales that led to falling profits, which, due to stock market conditions, translated into a drop in share values. The depreciation of share value made many shareholders sell their stock, weakening the company and leading to cost-cutting measures that eroded the safety procedures and mechanisms at the Bhopal site. Though this did not, in Kovel’s mind, make the Bhopal disaster inevitable, he believes that it illustrates the effect market forces can have on increasing the likelihood of ecological and social problems.[12]

Use and exchange value

Eco-socialism focuses closely on Marx’s theories about the contradiction between use values and exchange valuesKovel posits that, within a market economy, goods are not produced to meet needs but are produced to be exchanged for money that we then use to acquire other goods; as we have to keep selling in order to keep buying, we must persuade others to buy our goods just to ensure our survival, which leads to the production of goods with no previous use that can be sold to sustain our ability to buy other goods.[12]

Such goods, in an eco-socialist analysis, produce exchange values but have no use value. Eco-socialists like Kovel stress that this contradiction has reached a destructive extent, where certain essential activities – such as caring for relatives full-time and basicsubsistence – are unrewarded, while unnecessary commodities earn individuals huge fortunes and fuel consumerism and resource depletion.[12]

The “second contradiction” of capitalism

James O’Connor argues for a “second contradiction” of underproduction, to complement Marx‘s “first” contradiction of capital and labor. While the second contradiction is often considered a theory of environmental degradation, O’Connor’s theory in fact goes much further. Building on the work of Karl Polanyi, along with Marx, O’Connor argues that capitalism necessarily undermines the “conditions of production” necessary to sustain the endless accumulation of capital. These conditions of production include soil, water, energy, and so forth. But they also include an adequate public education system, transportation infrastructures, and other services that are not produced directly by capital, but which capital needs in order accumulate effectively. As the conditions of production are exhausted, the costs of production for capital increase. For this reason, the second contradiction generates an underproduction crisis tendency, with the rising cost of inputs and labor, to complement the overproduction tendency of too many commodities for too few customers. Like Marx’s contradiction of capital and labor, the second contradiction therefore threatens the system’s existence.[65][66]

In addition, O’Connor believes that, in order to remedy environmental contradictions, the capitalist system innovates new technologies that overcome existing problems but introduce new ones.[65]

O’Connor cites nuclear power as an example, which he sees as a form of producing energy that is advertised as an alternative to carbon-intensive, non-renewable fossil fuels, but creates long-term radioactive waste and other dangers to health and security. While O’Connor believes that capitalism is capable of spreading out its economic supports so widely that it can afford to destroy one ecosystem before moving onto another, he and many other eco-socialists now fear that, with the onset of globalization, the system is running out of new ecosystems.[65] Kovel adds that capitalist firms have to continue to extract profit through a combination of intensive or extensive exploitation and selling to new markets, meaning that capitalism must grow indefinitely to exist, which he thinks is impossible on a planet of finite resources.[12]

The role of the state and transnational organisations

Capitalist expansion is seen by eco-socialists as being “hand in glove” with “corrupt and subservient client states” that repress dissent against the system, governed by international organisations “under the overall supervision of the Western powers and thesuperpower United States“, which subordinate peripheral nations economically and militarily.[1] Kovel further claims that capitalism itself spurs conflict and, ultimately, war. Kovel states that the ‘War on Terror‘, between Islamist extremists and the USA, is caused by “oil imperialism”, whereby the capitalist nations require control over sources of energy, especially oil, which are necessary to continue intensive industrial growth – in the quest for control of such resources, Kovel argues that the capitalist nations, specifically the USA, have come into conflict with the predominantly Muslim nations where oil is often found.[12]

Eco-socialists believe that state or self-regulation of markets does not solve the crisis “because to do so requires setting limits upon accumulation”, which is “unacceptable” for a growth-orientated system; they believe that terrorism and revolutionary impulses cannot be tackled properly “because to do so would mean abandoning the logic of empire“. Instead, eco-socialists feel that increasing repressive counter-terrorism increases alienation and causes further terrorism and believe that state counter-terrorist methods are, in Kovel and Löwy‘s words, “evolving into a new and malignant variation of fascism“. They echo Rosa Luxemburg‘s “stark choice” between “socialism or barbarism”, which was believed to be a prediction of the coming of fascism and further forms of destructive capitalism at the beginning of the twentieth century (Luxemburg was in fact murdered by proto-fascist Freikorps in the revolutionary atmosphere of Germany in 1919).[1]

Tensions within the Eco-Socialist discourse

Reflecting tensions within the environmental and socialist movements, there is some conflict of ideas. In practice however, a synthesis is emerging which calls for democratic regulation of industry in the interests of people and the environment, nationalisation of some key (environmental) industries, local democracy and an extension of co-ops and the library principle.[67]

Critique of other forms of green politics

Eco-socialists criticise many within the Green movement for not being overtly anti-capitalist, for working within the existing capitaliststatist system, for voluntarism, or for reliance on technological fixes. The eco-socialist ideology is based on a critique of other forms of Green politics, including various forms of Green economicsLocalismDeep EcologyBioregionalism and even some manifestations of radical green ideologies such as Eco-feminism and Social Ecology.

As Kovel puts it, eco-socialism differs from Green politics at the most fundamental level because the ‘Four Pillars‘ of Green politics (and the ‘Ten Key Values’ of the US Green Party) do not include the demand for the emancipation of labour and the end of the separation between producers and the means of production.[12] Many eco-socialists also oppose Malthusianism[19] and are alarmed by the gulf between Green politics in the Global North and the Global South.[11]

Opposition to within-system approaches, voluntarism and technological fixes

Eco-socialists are highly critical of those Greens who favour “working within the system”. While eco-socialists like Kovel recognise the ability of within-system approaches to raise awareness, and believe that “the struggle for an ecologically rational world must include a struggle for the state”, he believes that the mainstream Green movement is too easily co-opted by the current powerful socio-political forces as it “passes from citizen-based activism to ponderous bureaucracies scuffling for ‘a seat at the table'”.[12]

For Kovel, capitalism is “happy to enlist” the Green movement for “convenience”, “control over popular dissent” and “rationalization”. He further attacks within-system green initiatives like carbon trading, which he sees as a “capitalist shell game” that turns pollution“into a fresh source of profit”.[12] Brian Tokar has further criticised carbon trading in this way, suggesting that it augments existing class inequality and gives the “largest ‘players’… substantial control over the whole ‘game'”.[68]

In addition, Kovel criticises the “defeatism” of voluntarism in some local forms of environmentalism that do not connect: he suggests that they can be “drawn off into individualism” or co-opted to the demands of capitalism, as in the case of certain recycling projects, where citizens are “induced to provide free labor” to waste management industries who are involved in the “capitalization of nature”. He labels the notion on voluntarism “ecopolitics without struggle”.[12]

Technological fixes to ecological problems are also rejected by eco-socialists. Saral Sarkar has updated the thesis of 1970s ‘limits to growth‘ to exemplify the limits of new capitalist technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells, which require large amounts of energy to split molecules to obtain hydrogen.[69] Furthermore, Kovel notes that “events in nature are reciprocal and multi-determined” and can therefore not be predictably “fixed”; socially, technologies cannot solve social problems because they are not “mechanical”. He posits an eco-socialist analysis, developed from Marx, that patterns of production and social organisation are more important than the forms of technology used within a given configuration of society.[12]

Under capitalism, he suggests that technology “has been the sine qua non of growth” – thus he believes that, even in a world with hypothetical “free energy”, the effect would be to lower the cost of automobile production, leading to the massive overproduction ofvehicles, “collapsing infrastructure”, chronic resource depletion and the “paving over” of the “remainder of nature“. In the modern world, Kovel considers the supposed efficiency of new post-industrial commodities is a “plain illusion”, as miniaturized components involve many substances and are therefore non-recyclable (and, theoretically, only simple substances could be retrieved by burning out-of-date equipment, releasing more pollutants). He is quick to warn “environmental liberals” against over-selling the virtues of renewable energies that cannot meet the mass energy consumption of the era; although he would still support renewable energy projects, he believes it is more important to restructure societies to reduce energy use before relying on renewable energy technologies alone.[12]

Critique of Green economics

Eco-socialists have based their ideas for political strategy on a critique of several different trends in Green economics. At the most fundamental level, eco-socialists reject what Kovel calls “ecological economics” or the “ecological wing of mainstream economics” for being “uninterested in social transformation”. He furthers rejects the Neo-Smithian school, who believe in Adam Smith‘s vision of “a capitalism of small producers, freely exchanging with each other”, which is self-regulating and competitive.[12]

The school is represented by thinkers like David Korten who believe in “regulated markets” checked by government and civil society but, for Kovel, they do not provide a critique of the expansive nature of capitalism away from localised production and ignore “questions of classgender or any other category of domination”. Kovel also criticises their “fairy-tale” view of history, which refers to the abuse of “natural capital” by the materialism of the Scientific Revolution, an assumption that, in Kovel’s eyes, seems to suggest that “nature had toiled to put the gift of capital into human hands”, rather than capitalism being a product of social relations in human history.[12]

Other forms of Community-based economics are also rejected by eco-socialists such as Kovel, including followers of E. F. Schumacher and some members of the Cooperative movement, for advocating “no more than a very halting and isolated first step”. He thinks that their principles are “only partially realizable within the institutions of cooperatives in capitalist society” because “the internal cooperation” of cooperatives is “forever hemmed in and compromised” by the need to expand value and compete within the market.[12]Marx also believed that cooperatives within capitalism make workers into “their own capitalist… by enabling them to use the means of production for the employment of their own labour”.[18]

For Kovel and other eco-socialists, Community-based economics and Green Localism are “a fantasy” because “strict localism belongs to the aboriginal stages of society” and would be an “ecological nightmare at present population levels” due to “heat losses from a multitude of dispersed sites, the squandering of scarce resources, the needless reproduction of effort, and cultural impoverishment”. While he feels that small-scale production units are “an essential part of the path towards an ecological society”, he sees them not as “an end in itself”; in his view, small enterprises can be either capitalist or socialist in their configuration and therefore must be “consistently anti-capitalist“, through recognition and support of the emancipation of labour, and exist “in a dialectic with the whole of things”, as human society will need large-scale projects, such as transport infrastructures.[12]

He highlights the work of Herman Daly, who exemplifies what eco-socialists see as the good and bad points of ecological economics – while he offers a critique of capitalism and a desire for “workers ownership”, he only believes in workers ownership “kept firmly within a capitalist market”, ignoring the eco-socialist desire for struggle in the emancipation of labour and hoping that the interests of labour and management today can be improved so that they are “in harmony”.[12]

Critique of Deep Ecology

Despite the inclusion of both in political factions like the ‘Fundies‘ of the German Green Party, eco-socialists and deep ecologists hold markedly opposite views. Eco-socialists like Kovel have attacked deep ecology because, like other forms of Green politics and Green economics, it features “virtuous souls” who have “no internal connection with the critique of capitalism and the emancipation of labor”. Kovel is particularly scathing about deep ecology and its “fatuous pronouncement” that Green politics is “neither left nor right, but ahead”, which, for him, ignores the notion that “that which does not confront the system comes its instrument”.[12]

Even more scathingly, Kovel suggests that in “its effort to decentre humanity within nature”, deep ecologists can “go too far” and argue for the “splitting away of unwanted people”, as evidenced by their desire to preserve wilderness by removing the groups that have lived there “from time immemorial“. Kovel thinks that this lends legitimacy to “capitalist elites”, like the US State Department and the World Bank, who can make preservation of wilderness a part of their projects that “have added value as sites for ecotourism” but remove people from their land. Between 1986 and 1996, Kovel notes that over three million people were displaced by “conservation projects”; in the making of the US National Parks, three hundred Shoshone Indians were killed in the development of Yosemite.[12]

Kovel believes that deep ecology has affected the rest of the Green movement and led to calls from restrictions on immigration, “often allying with reactionaries in a… cryptically racist quest”.[12] Indeed, he finds traces of deep ecology in the “biological reduction” ofNazism, an ideology many “organicist thinkers” have found appealing, including Herbert Gruhl, a founder of the German Green Party (who subsequently left when it became more Left-wing) and originator of the phrase “neither left nor right, but ahead”. Kovel warns that, while ‘ecofascism‘ is confined to a narrow band of far right intellectuals and disaffected white power skinheads who involved themselves alongside far left groups in the anti-globalization movement, it may be “imposed as a revolution from above to install anauthoritarian regime in order to preserve the main workings of the system” in times of crisis.[12]

Critique of bioregionalism

Bioregionalism, a philosophy developed by writers like Kirkpatrick Sale who believe in the self-sufficiency of “appropriate bioregional boundaries” drawn up by inhabitants of “an area”,[70] has been thoroughly critiqued by Kovel, who fears that the “vagueness” of the area will lead to conflict and further boundaries between communities.[12] While Sale cites the bioregional living of Native Americans,[70] Kovel notes that such ideas are impossible to translate to populations of modern proportions, and evidences the fact that Native Americans held land in commons, rather than private property – thus, for eco-socialists, bioregionalism provides no understanding of what is needed to transform society, and what the inevitable “response of the capitalist state” would be to people constructingbioregionalism.[12]

Kovel also attacks the problems of self-sufficiency. Where Sale believes in self-sufficient regions “each developing the energy of its peculiar ecology”, such as “wood in the northwest [USA]”,[70] Kovel asks “how on earth” these can be made sufficient for regional needs, and notes the environmental damage of converting Seattle into a “forest-destroying and smoke-spewing wood-burning” city. Kovel also questions Sale‘s insistence on bioregions that do “not require connections with the outside, but within strict limits”, and whether this precludes journeys to visit family members and other forms of travel.[12]

Critique of variants of eco-feminism

Like many variants of socialism and Green politics, eco-socialists recognise the importance of “the gendered bifurcation of nature” and support the emancipation of gender as it “is at the root of patriarchy and class“. Nevertheless, while Kovel believes that “any path out of capitalism must also be eco-feminist“, he criticises types of ecofeminism that are not anti-capitalist and can “essentialize women’s closeness to nature and build from there, submerging history into nature”, becoming more at place in the “comforts of the New AgeGrowth Centre”. These limitations, for Kovel, “keep ecofeminism from becoming a coherent social movement”.[12]

Critique of Social Ecology

While having much in common with the radical tradition of Social Ecology, eco-socialists still see themselves as distinct. Kovel believes this is because Social Ecologists see hierarchy “in-itself” as the cause of ecological destruction, whereas eco-socialists focus ongender and class domination embodied in capitalism and recognise that forms of authority that are not “an expropriation of human power for… self-aggrandizement”, such as a student-teacher relationship that is “reciprocal and mutual”, are beneficial.[12]

In practice, Kovel describes Social Ecology as continuing the anarchist tradition of non-violent direct action, which is “necessary” but “not sufficient” because “it leaves unspoken the question of building an ecological society beyond capital“. Furthermore, Social Ecologists and anarchists tend to focus on the state alone, rather than the class relations behind state domination (in the view of Marxists). Kovel fears that this is political, springing from historic hostility to Marxism among anarchists and sectarianism, which he points out as a fault of the “brilliant” but “dogmatic” founder of Social Ecology, Murray Bookchin.[12]

Opposition to Malthusianism and Neo-Malthusianism

While Malthusianism and eco-socialism overlap within the Green movement because both address over-industrialism, and despite the fact that Eco-socialists, like many within the Green movement, are described as neo-Malthusian because of their criticism ofeconomic growth, Eco-socialists are opposed to Malthusianism. This divergence stems from the difference between Marxist and Malthusian examinations of social injustice – whereas Marx blames inequality on class injustice, Malthus argued that the working-class remained poor because of their greater fertility and birth rates.

Neo-Malthusians have slightly modified this analysis by increasing their focus on overconsumption – nonetheless, eco-socialists find this attention inadequate. They point to the fact that Malthus did not thoroughly examine ecology and that Garrett Hardin, a key Neo-Malthusian, suggested that further enclosed and privatised land, as opposed to commons, would solve the chief environmental problem, which Hardin labeled the ‘Tragedy of the Commons‘.[19]

The “two varieties of environmentalism”[edit]

Guha and Martinez-Alier attack the gulf between what they see as the two “varieties of environmentalism” – the environmentalism of the North, an aesthetic environmentalism that is the privilege of wealthy people who no longer have basic material concerns, and the environmentalism of the South, where people’s local environment is a source of communal wealth and such issues are a question of survival.[11] Nonetheless, other eco-socialists, such as Wall, have also pointed out that capitalism disproportionately affects the poorest in the Global North as well, leading to examples of resistance such as the environmental justice movement in the US and groups like MOVE.[19]

Critique of other forms of socialism[edit]

Eco-socialists choose to use the term ‘socialist‘, despite “the failings of its twentieth century interpretations”, because it “still stands for the supersession of capital” and thus “the name, and the reality” must “become adequate for this time”.[1] Eco-socialists have nonetheless often diverged with other Marxist movements. Eco-socialism has also been partly influenced by and associated with agrarian socialism as well as some forms of Christian socialism, especially in the United States.

Critique of ‘Actually Existing Socialisms’

For Kovel and Lowy, eco-socialism is “the realization of the “first-epoch” socialisms” by resurrecting the notion of “free development of all producers”, distancing themselves from “the attenuated, reformist aims of social democracy and the productivist structures of thebureaucratic variations of socialism”, such as forms of Leninism and Stalinism.[1] They ground the failure of past socialist movements in “underdevelopment in the context of hostility by existing capitalist powers”, which led to “the denial of internal democracy” and “emulation of capitalist productivism“.[1] Kovel believes that the forms of ‘actually existing socialism’ consisted of “public ownership of the means of production“, rather than meeting “the true definition” of socialism as “a free association of producers“, with the Party-State bureaucracy acting as the “alienating substitute ‘public'”.[12]

In analysing the Russian Revolution, Kovel feels that “conspiratorial” revolutionary movements “cut off from the development of society” will “find society an inert mass requiring leadership from above”. From this, he notes that the anti-democratic Tsarist heritage meant that the Bolsheviks, who were aided into power by World War One, were a minority who, when faced with a counter-revolution and invading Western powers, continued “the extraordinary needs of ‘war communism‘”, which “put the seal of authoritarianism” on the revolution; thus, for Kovel, Lenin and Trotsky “resorted to terror”, shut down the Soviets (workers’ councils) and emulated “capitalist efficiency and productivism as a means of survival”, setting the stage for Stalinism.[12]

Lenin, in Kovel’s eyes, came to oppose the nascent Bolshevik environmentalism and its champion Aleksandr Bogdanov, who was later attacked for “idealism”; Kovel describes Lenin‘s philosophy as “a sharply dualistic materialism, rather similar to the Cartesianseparation of matter and consciousness, and perfectly tooled… to the active working over of the dead, dull matter by the human hand”, which led him to want to overcome Russian backwardness through rapid industrialization. This tendency was, according to Kovel, augmented by a desire to catch-up with the West and the “severe crisis” of the revolution’s first years.[12]

Furthermore, Kovel quotes Trotsky, who believed in a Communist “superman” who would “learn how to move rivers and mountains”.[71] Kovel believes that, in Stalin‘s “revolution from above” and mass terror in response to the early 1930s economic crisis, Trotsky‘s writings “were given official imprimatur”, despite the fact that Trotsky himself was eventually purged, as Stalinism attacked “the very notion of ecology… in addition to ecologies”. Kovel adds that Stalin “would win the gold medal for enmity to nature”, and that, in the face of massive environmental degradation, the inflexible Soviet bureaucracy became increasingly inefficient and unable to emulate capitalist accumulation, leading to a “vicious cycle” that led to its collapse.[12]

Critique of the wider socialist movement

Beyond the forms of ‘actually existing socialism’, Kovel criticises socialists in general as treating ecology “as an afterthought” and holding “a naive faith in the ecological capacities of a working-class defined by generations of capitalist production”. He exemplifies David McNally, who advocated increasing consumption levels under socialism, which, for Kovel, contradicts any notion of natural limits. He also criticises McNally’s belief in releasing the “positive side of capital‘s self-expansion”[72] after the emancipation of labor; instead, Kovel argues that a socialist society would “seek not to become larger” but would rather become “more realized“, choosing sufficiency and eschewing economic growth. Kovel further adds that the socialist movement was historically conditioned by its origins in the era of industrialization so that, when modern socialists like McNally advocate a socialism that “cannot be at the expense of the range of human satisfaction”,[72] they fail “to recognize that these satisfactions can be problematic with respect to nature when they have been historically shaped by the domination of nature”.[12]

Eco-socialist strategy

Eco-socialists generally advocate the non-violent dismantling of capitalism and the state, focusing on collective ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers and restoration of the Commons.[1] To get to an eco-socialist society, eco-socialists advocate working-class anti-capitalist resistance but also believe that there is potential for agency in autonomous, grassroots individuals and groups across the world who can build “prefigurative” projects for non-violent radical social change.[12]

These prefigurative steps go “beyond the market and the state”[19] and base production on the enhancement of use values, leading to the internationalization of resistance communities in an ‘Eco-socialist Party’ or network of grassroots groups focused on non-violent, radical social transformation. An ‘Eco-socialist revolution’ is then carried out.[12]

Agency

Many eco-socialists, like Alan Roberts, have encouraged working-class action and resistance, such as the ‘green ban‘ movement in which workers refuse to participate in projects that are ecologically harmful.[46] Similarly, Kovel focuses on working-class involvement in the formation of eco-socialist parties or their increased involvement in existing Green Parties; however, he believes that, unlike many other forms of socialist analysis, “there is no privileged agent” or revolutionary class, and that there is potential for agency in numerous autonomous, grassroots individuals and groups who can build “prefigurative” projects for non-violent radical social change. He defines “prefiguration” as “the potential for the given to contain the lineaments of what is to be”, meaning that “a moment toward the future exists embedded in every point of the social organism where a need arises”.[12]

If “everything has prefigurative potential”, Kovel notes that forms of potential ecological production will be “scattered”, and thus suggests that “the task is to free them and connect them”. While all “human ecosystems” have “ecosocialist potential”, Kovel points out that ones such as the World Bank have low potential, whereas internally democratic anti-globalization “affinity groups” have a high potential through a dialectic that involves the “active bringing and holding together of negations”, such as the group acting as an alternative institution (“production of an ecological/socialist alternative”) and trying to shut down a G8 summit meeting (“resistance to capital”). Therefore “practices that in the same motion enhance use-values and diminish exchange-values are the ideal” for eco-socialists.[12]

Prefiguration

For Kovel, the main prefigurative steps “are that people ruthlessly criticize the capitalist system… and that they include in this a consistent attack on the widespread belief that there can be no alternative to it”, which will then “deligitimate the system and release people into struggle”. Kovel justifies this by stating that “radical criticism of the given… can be a material force”, even without an alternative, “because it can seize the mind of the masses of people”, leading to “dynamic” and “exponential”, rather than “incremental” and “linear”, victories that spread rapidly. Following this, he advocates the expansion of the dialectical eco-socialist potential of groups through sustaining the confrontation and internal cohesion of human ecosystems, leading to an “activation” of potentials in others that will “spread across the whole social field” as “a new set of orienting principles” that define an ideology or “‘party-life’ formation”.[12]

In the short-term, eco-socialists like Kovel advocate activities that have the “promise of breaking down the commodity form”. This includes organizing labor, which is a “reconfiguring of the use-value of labor power”; forming cooperatives, allowing “a relatively free association of labor”; forming localised currencies, which he sees as “undercutting the value-basis of money”; and supporting “radical media” that, in his eyes, involve an “undoing of the fetishism of commodities”. Arran GareWall and Kovel have advocated economiclocalisation in the same vein as many in the Green movement, although they stress that it must be a prefigurative step rather than an end in itself.[19][73]

Kovel also advises political parties attempting to “democratize the state” that there should be “dialogue but no compromise” with established political parties, and that there must be “a continual association of electoral work with movement work” to avoid “being sucked back into the system”. Such parties, he believes, should focus on “the local rungs of the political system” first, before running national campaigns that “challenge the existing system by the elementary means of exposing its broken promises”.[12]

Kovel believes in building prefigurations around forms of production based on use values, which will provide a practical vision of a post-capitalistpost-statist system. Such projects include Indymedia (“a democratic rendering of the use-values of new technologies such as the Internet, and a continual involvement in wider struggle”), open-source softwareWikipediapublic libraries and many other initiatives, especially those developed within the anti-globalisation movement.[12] These strategies, in Wall‘s words, “go beyond the marketand the state” by rejecting the supposed dichotomy between private enterprise and state-owned production, while also rejecting any combination of the two through a mixed economy. He states that these present forms of “amphibious politics”, which are “half in the dirty water of the present but seeking to move on to a new, unexplored territory”.[19]

Wall suggests that open source software, for example, opens up “a new form of commons regime in cyberspace“, which he praises as production “for the pleasure of invention” that gives “access to resources without exchange”. He believes that open source has “bypassed” both the market and the state, and could provide “developing countries with free access to vital computer software”. Furthermore, he suggests that an “open source economy” means that “the barrier between user and provider is eroded”, allowing for “cooperative creativity”. He links this to Marxism and the notion of usufruct, asserting that “Marx would have been a Firefox user”.[19]

Internationalization of prefiguration and the ‘Eco-socialist Party’

Many eco-socialists have noted that the potential for building such projects is easier for media workers than for those in heavy industry because of the decline in trade unionism and the globalized division of labor which divides workers. However, Kovel believes that examples like the Christian Bruderhof Communities (despite elements of patriarchy that he attacks) show that “communistic” organizations can “survive rather well in a heavily industrialized market” if they are “protected” from the dependence on the market by “anti-capitalist intentionality”. He further posits that class struggle is “internationalized in the face of globalization”, as evidenced by a wave of strikes across the Global South in the first half of the year 2000; indeed, he says that “labor’s most cherished values are already immanently ecocentric”.[12]

Kovel therefore thinks that these universalizing tendencies must lead to the formation of “a consciously ‘Ecosocialist Party'” that is neither like a parliamentary or vanguardist party. Instead, Kovel advocates a form of political party “grounded in communities of resistance”, where delegates from these communities form the core of the party’s activists, and these delegates and the “open and transparent” assembly they form are subject to recall and regular rotation of members. He holds up the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the Gaviotas movement as examples of such communities, which “are produced outside capitalist circuits” and show that “there can be no single way valid for all peoples”.[12]

Nonetheless, he also firmly believes in connecting these movements, stating that “ecosocialism will be international or it will be nothing” and hoping that the Ecosocialist Party can retain the autonomy of local communities while supporting them materially. With an ever-expanding party, Kovel hopes that “defections” by capitalists will occur, leading eventually to the armed forces and police who, in joining the revolution, will signify that “the turning point is reached”.[12]

’The Revolution’ and transition to eco-socialism

‘The Revolution’ as envisaged by eco-socialists involves an immediate socio-political transition. Internationally, eco-socialists believe in a reform of the nature of money and the formation of a ‘World People’s Trade Organisation’ (WPTO) that democratizes and improves world trade through the calculation of an ‘Ecological Price’ (EP) for goods. This would then be followed by a transformation of socioeconomic conditions towards ecological production, commons land and notions of usufruct (that seek to improve the common property possessed by society) to end private property. Eco-socialists assert that this must be carried out with adherence to non-violence[12]

The immediate aftermath of the revolution

Eco-socialists like Kovel use the term “Eco-socialist revolution” to describe the transition to an eco-socialist world society. In the immediate socio-political transition, he believes that four groups will emerge from the revolution – revolutionaries, those “whose productive activity is directly compatible with ecological production” (such as nurses, schoolteachers, librarians, independent farmers and many other examples), those “whose pre-revolutionary practice was given over to capital” (including the bourgeoisie, advertising executives and more) and “the workers whose activity added surplus value to capitalist commodities”.[12]

In terms of political organisation, he advocates an “interim assembly” made up of the revolutionaries that can “devise incentives to make sure that vital functions are maintained” (such as short-term continuation of “differential remuneration” for labor), “handle the redistribution of social roles and assets”, convene “in widespread locations”, and send delegates to regional, state, national and international organisations, where every level has an “executive council” that is rotated and can be recalled. From there, he asserts that “productive communities” will “form the political as well as economic unit of society” and “organize others” to make a transition to eco-socialist production.[12]

He adds that people will be allowed to be members of any community they choose with “associate membership” of others, such as a doctor having main membership of healthcare communities as a doctor and associate membership of child-rearing communities as a father. Each locality would, in Kovel’s eyes, require one community that administered the areas of jurisdiction through an elected assembly. High-level assemblies would have additional “supervisory” roles over localities to monitor the development of ecosystemicintegrity, and administer “society-wide services” like transport in “state-like functions”, before the interim assembly can transfer responsibilities to “the level of the society as a whole through appropriate and democratically responsive committees”.[12]

Transnational trade and capital reform

Part of the eco-socialist transition, in Kovel’s eyes, is the reforming money to retain its use in “enabling exchanges” while reducing its functions as “a commodity in its own right” and “repository of value”. He argues for directing money to “enhancement of use-values” through a “subsidization of use-values” that “preserves the functioning core of the economy while gaining time and space for rebuilding it”. Internationally, he believes in the immediate cessation of speculation in currencies (“breaking down the function of money as commodity, and redirecting funds on use-values“), the cancellation of the debt of the Global South (“breaking the back of the value function” of money) and the redirecting the “vast reservoir of mainly phony value” to reparations and “ecologically sound development”. He suggests the end of military aid and other forms of support to “comprador elites in the South” will eventually “lead to their collapse”.[12]

In terms of trade, Kovel advocates a ‘World People’s Trade Organization’ (WPTO), “responsible to a confederation of popular bodies”, in which “the degree of control over trade is… proportional to involvement with production”, meaning that “farmers would have a special say over food trade” and so on. He posits that the WPTO should have an elected council that will oversee a reform of prices in favour of an ‘Ecological Price’ (EP) “determined by the difference between actual use-values and fully realized ones”, thus having low tariffs for forms of ecological production like organic agriculture; he also envisages the high tariffs on non-ecological production providing subsidies to ecological production units.[12]

The EP would also internalize the costs of current externalities (like pollution) and “would be set as a function of the distance traded”, reducing the effects of long-distance transport like carbon emissions and increased packaging of goods. He thinks that this will provide a “standard of transformation” for non-ecological industries, like the automobile industry, thus spurring changes towards ecological production.[12]

Ecological production

Eco-socialists pursue “ecological production” that, according to Kovel, goes beyond the socialist vision of the emancipation of labor to “the realization of use-values and the appropriation of intrinsic value”. He envisions a form of production in which “the making of a thing becomes part of the thing made” so that, using a high quality meal as an analogy, “pleasure would obtain for the cooking of the meal” – thus activities “reserved as hobbies under capitalism” would “compose the fabric of everyday life” under eco-socialism.[12]

This, for Kovel, is achieved if labor is “freely chosen and developed… with a fully realized use-value” achieved by a “negation” of exchange-value, and he exemplifies the Food Not Bombs project for adopting this. He believes that the notion of “mutual recognition… for the process as well as the product” will avoid exploitation and hierarchy. With production allowing humanity to “live more directly and receptively embedded in nature“, Kovel predicts that “a reorientation of human need” will occur that recognises ecological limits and sees technology as “fully participant in the life of eco-systems“, thus removing it from profit-making exercises.[12]

In the course on an Eco-socialist revolution, writers like Kovel advocate the a “rapid conversion to ecosocialist production” for all enterprises, followed by “restoring ecosystemic integrity to the workplace” through steps like workers ownership. He then believes that the new enterprises can build “socially developed plans” of production for societal needs, such as efficient light-rail transport components. At the same time, Kovel argues for the transformation of essential but, under capitalism, non-productive labour, such as child care, into productive labour, “thereby giving reproductive labour a status equivalent to productive labour”.[12]

During such a transition, he believes that income should be guaranteed and that money will still be used under “new conditions of value… according to use and to the degree to which ecosystem integrity is developed and advanced by any particular production”. Within this structure, Kovel asserts that markets and will become unnecessary – although “market phenomena” in personal exchanges and other small instances might be adopted – and communities and elected assemblies will democratically decide on the allocation of resources.[12] Istvan Meszaros believes that such “genuinely planned and self-managed (as opposed to bureaucratically planned from above) productive activities” are essential if eco-socialism is to meet its “fundamental objectives”.[74]

Eco-socialists are quick to assert that their focus on “production” does not mean that there will be an increase in production and labor under Eco-socialism. Kovel thinks that the emancipation of labor and the realization of use-value will allow “the spheres of work and culture to be reintegrated”. He cites the example of Paraguayan Indian communities (organised by Jesuits) in the eighteenth century who made sure that all community members learned musical instruments, and had labourers take musical instruments to the fields and takes turns playing music or harvesting.[12]

Commons, property and ‘usufruct’

Most eco-socialists, including Guha and Martinez-Alier, echo subsistence eco-feminists like Vandana Shiva when they argue for the restoration of commons land over private property. They blame ecological degradation on the inclination to short-term, profit-inspired decisions inherent within a market system. For them, privatization of land strips people of their local communal resources in the name of creating markets for neo-liberal globalisation, which benefits a minority. In their view, successful commons systems have been set up around the world throughout history to manage areas cooperatively, based on long-term needs and sustainability instead of short-term profit.[11]

Many eco-socialists focus on a modified version of the notion of ‘Usufruct’ to replace capitalist private property arrangements. As a legal term, Usufruct refers to the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that belongs to another person, as long as the property is not damaged. According to eco-socialists like Kovel, a modern interpretation of the idea is “where one uses, enjoys – and through that, improves – another’s property”, as its Latin etymology “condenses the two meanings of use – as in use-value, and enjoyment – and as in the gratification expressed in freely associated labour”. The idea, according to Kovel, has roots in the Code of Hammurabi and was first mentioned in Roman law “where it applied to ambiguities between masters and slaves with respect to property”; it also features in Islamic Sharia lawAztec law and the Napoleonic Code.[12]

Crucially for eco-socialists, Marx mentioned the idea when he stated that human beings are no more than the planet’s “usufructaries, and, like boni patres familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”.[18] Kovel and others have taken on this reading, asserting that, in an eco-socialist society, “everyone will have… rights of use and ownership over those means of production necessary to express the creativity of human nature”, namely “a place of one’s own” to decorate to personal taste, some personal possessions, the body and its attendant sexual and reproductive rights.[12]

However, Kovel sees property as “self-contradictory” because individuals emerge “in a tissue of social relations” and “nested circles”, with the self at the centre and extended circles where “issues of sharing arise from early childhood on”. He believes that “the full self is enhanced more by giving than by taking” and that eco-socialism is realized when material possessions weigh “lightly” upon the self – thus restoration of use-value allows things to be taken “concretely and sensuously” but “lightly, since things are enjoyed for themselves and not as buttresses for a shaky ego”.[12]

This, for Kovel, reverses what Marxists see as the commodity fetishism and atomization of individuals (through the “unappeasable craving” for “having and excluding others from having”) under capitalism. Under eco-socialism, he therefore believes that enhancement of use-value will lead to differentiated ownership between the individual and the collective, where there are “distinct limits on the amount of property individuals control” and no-one can take control of resources that “would permit the alienation of means of productionfrom another”. He then hopes that the “hubris” of the notion of “ownership of the planet” will be replaced with usufruct.[12]

Non-violence

Most eco-socialists are involved in peace and antiwar movements, and eco-socialist writers, like Kovel, generally believe that “violence is the rupturing of ecosystems” and is therefore “deeply contrary to ecosocialist values”. Kovel believes that revolutionary movements must prepare for post-revolutionary violence from counter-revolutionary sources by “prior development of the democratic sphere” within the movement, because “to the degree that people are capable of self-government, so will they turn away from violence and retribution” for “a self-governed people cannot be pushed around by any alien government”. It is therefore essential, in Kovel’s view, that the revolution “takes place in” or spreads quickly to the USA, which “is capital’s gendarme and will crush any serious threat”, and that revolutionaries reject the death penalty and retribution against former opponents or counter-revolutionaries.[12]

Criticisms of eco-socialism

While in many ways the criticisms of eco-socialism combine the traditional criticisms of both socialism and Green politics, there are unique critiques of eco-socialism, which are largely from within the traditional Socialist or Green movements themselves, along withconservative criticisms.

Some socialists are critical of the word ‘eco-socialism’. David Reilly, who questions whether his argument is improved by the use of an “exotic word”, argues instead that the “real socialism” is “also a green or ‘eco'” one that you get to “by dint of struggle”.[75] Other socialists, like Paul Hampton of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (a British third camp socialist party), see eco-socialism as “classless ecology”, wherein eco-socialists have “given up on the working class” as the privileged agent of struggle by “borrowing bits from Marx but missing the locus of Marxist politics”.[76]

Writing in Capitalism Nature SocialismDoug BoucherPeter CaplanDavid Schwartzman and Jane Zara criticise eco-socialists in general (and Joel Kovel in particular) for a deterministic “catastrophism” that overlooks “the countervailing tendencies of both popular struggles and the efforts of capitalist governments to rationalize the system” and the “accomplishments of the labor movement” that “demonstrate that despite the interests and desires of capitalists, progress toward social justice is possible”. They argue that an ecological socialism must be “built on hope, not fear”.[77]

Conservatives have criticised the perceived opportunism of left-wing groups who have increased their focus on green issues since the fall of CommunismFred L. Smith Jr., President of the Competitive Enterprise Institute think-tank, exemplifies the conservative critique of left Greens, attacking the “pantheism” of the Green movement and conflating “eco-paganism” with eco-socialism. Like many conservative critics, Smith uses the term ‘eco-socialism’ to attack non-socialist environmentalists for advocating restrictions on thefree market, although he does recognise and condemn the influence of socialist ideals on many in the Green movement who reject private property, and instead advocates market-based solutions to ecological problems. He nevertheless wrongly claims that eco-socialists endorse “the Malthusian view of the relationship between man and nature”, and states that Al Gore, a former Democratic Party Vice President of the United States and now a climate change campaigner, is an eco-socialist, despite the fact that Gore has never used this term and is not recognised as a such by other followers of either Green politics or socialism.[78]

Some environmentalists and conservationists have criticised eco-socialism from within the Green movement. In a review of Joel Kovel‘s The Enemy of NatureDavid M. Johns criticises eco-socialism for not offering “suggestions about near term conservation policy” and focusing exclusively on long-term societal transformation. Johns believes that species extinction “started much earlier” than capitalism and suggests that eco-socialism neglects the fact that an ecological society will need to transcend the destructiveness found in “all large-scale societies”.[79] the very tendency that Kovel himself attacks among capitalists and traditional leftists who attempt to reduce nature to “linear” human models.[12] Johns questions whether non-hierarchical social systems can provide for billions of people, and criticises eco-socialists for neglecting issues of population pressure. Furthermore, Johns describes Kovel’s argument that human hierarchy is founded on raiding to steal women as “archaic”.

 

Tom Steyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tom Steyer
SteyerHeadshot.jpeg
Born 1957 (age 56–57)
New York City, New York U.S.
Residence San Francisco, California, U.S.
Nationality United States
Alma mater Phillips Exeter Academy
Yale University
Stanford University
Net worth IncreaseUS$1.6 billion (March 2014)[1]
Political party
Democratic
Spouse(s) Kathryn Ann Taylor (m. 1986); 4 children
Website
Official website

Thomas Fahr “Tom” Steyer (born 1957) is an American hedge fund manager, philanthropist, and environmentalist.[2]

Steyer is the founder and former Co-Senior Managing Partner of Farallon Capital Management, LLC and the co-founder of the OneCalifornia Bank, an Oakland-based community development bank.[2] Steyer is responsible for funding the creation of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University, part of the Precourt Institute of Energy.[3] Since 1986, he has been a partner and member of the Executive Committee at Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco-based $8 billion private equity firm. Farallon Capital Management, LLC, manages $20 billion in capital for institutions and high net worth individuals. The firm’s institutional investors are primarily college endowments and foundations.[2][4]

In 2010, Steyer and his wife, along with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, signed the Giving Pledge to donate half their fortune to charity.[5] Steyer is on the board of Next Generation, a non-profit that intends to tackle children’s issues and the environment.[6][7] He serves on the Board of Trustees at Stanford University[8] and is active in political campaign fundraising.

 

Early life and education

Steyer was born in New York City in 1957. His mother, Marnie (née Fahr), was a teacher of remedial reading at the Brooklyn House of Detention, and his father, Roy Henry Steyer, was a partner in the New York law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.[9][10] His family had been a member of the Reform Jewish Congregation Emanu-El of New York.[11]

He attended Philips Exeter Academy and graduated from Yale University, Summa Cum Laude in Economics and Political Science and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Wolf’s Head Society. He was captain of the Yale soccer team. Steyer received his MBA fromStanford Business School, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.[12]

Career

Early career[edit]

Prior to joining Hellman & Friedman, Steyer worked at Goldman Sachs from 1983-85 as an associate in the risk arbitrage department under Robert Rubin. He began his professional career at Morgan Stanley in 1979.[2]

Farallon Capital Management

Steyer founded Farallon Capital Management, LLC in January 1986.[13] Farallon employs approximately 165 people in eight offices globally and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.[14] Farallon is considered a pioneer in the practice of “absolute return” investing, a strategy that aims to produce a positive absolute return regardless of the directions of financial markets.[2] To that end, Farallon makes credit investments, value investments, merger arbitrage, real estate-related investments and direct investments. It also invests in public and private debt and equity securities, and direct investments in private companies and real estate.[15]

Resignation from Farallon

Steyer announced in October 2012 that he would be stepping down from his position at Farallon in order to focus on political activism, in particular on advocating for alternative energy.[16] He cited his desire to focus on giving back “full time” and to revolve his life around service. In an interview he said, “I’ve tried to organize a business voice for what I call advanced energy….I think I’m going to be focused on how to, is there a way to move the needle in some way having to do with thought or policy. And I don’t know what shape that’s going to take.”[17]

It was reported in January 2013 that Steyer might be named as a replacement for Energy Secretary Steven Chu or that he might run for Dianne Feinstein‘s Senate seat in 2018.[18] Asked whether he would accept an appointment to be United States Secretary of Energy, Steyer said yes.[19]

Philanthropy

Giving Pledge

In August 2010, Steyer and his wife joined Warren BuffettBill Gates and 37 other American billionaires in pledging to give away at least half their fortunes to worthwhile causes.[20] Business people “are pretty widely mistrusted and seen as overwhelmingly self-interested,” Steyer said. “The point is that business people are not just laboring for themselves. They have bigger responsibilities and belong to a wider community.”[21]

Community development

Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, founded OneCalifornia Bank, now known as One PacificCoast Bank, a community development bank.[22] The bank functions as a regulated financial institution, insured and for-profit just like other banks, but provides commercial banking services to underserved Bay Area businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Steyer and Taylor put up $22.5 million to start the bank and create the One PacificCoast Foundation to engage in charitable and educational activities, provide lending support, investments and other services for disadvantaged communities and community service organizations in California. Steyer and Taylor maintain mission focus and control of the bank, but take no economic benefit or repayment from their investment as they donated 100% of their economic interest in One PacificCoast Bank to One PacificCoast Foundation.[23][24] In August 2010, the University of San Francisco awarded OneCalifornia Bank and Foundation the 2010 University of San Francisco California Prize for Service and the Common Good.[25]

TomKat Ranch

The couple created the TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, California. The ranch’s philanthropic endeavors include underwriting healthy food programs and co-producing an independent film, La Mission, starring Benjamin Bratt, about San Francisco’s Missionneighborhood.[26]

OneRoof

Steyer and Taylor also helped found OneRoof, a social business designed to bring technology to rural India. Over the past four years OneRoof has opened computer centers to connect poor residents of India with the information revolution.[27]

Environmentalism

In 2008, Steyer and Taylor gave $40 million to create the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University. The center focuses on the development of affordable renewable energy technologies and promotion of public policies that make renewable energymore accessible. Projects include the creation of lighter, less toxic, and more durable batteries and an analysis of the current power grid’s ability to support future renewable energy technologies.[3][28]

Steyer has made millions off industries, like coal and oil, he claims are destroying the environment.[29]

Political activism

Steyer is a leading Democratic activist and fundraiser. In 1983, he worked on the Walter Mondale for President campaign.[22] He raised money for Bill Bradley in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. An early supporter of Hillary Clinton for President, Steyer became one ofBarack Obama’s most prolific fundraisers. Steyer served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 2004 and 2008, and has been a member of the Hamilton Project since 2005.[2]

No on Prop 23

Steyer donated $2.5 million and pledged to contribute $2.5 million more to the No on Prop. 23 campaign, the measure on the November 2010 ballot concerning California’s environmental legislation, AB32. Steyer joined former Secretary of State and Republican George Shultz, to co-chair the No on Prop. 23 campaign.[30][31]

Steyer was reportedly “peeved” that out-of-state activists were backing a California measure. A Manhattan native, he was convinced that passage would hurt California’s environment and economy. Steyer described “stepping up” and donating $5 million – the largest sum donated – and driving to people’s home to campaign. Steyer’s political emergence was a success and the proposition was defeated.[32]

DNC speech

Steyer gave a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He commented that the election was “a choice about whether to go backward or forward. And that choice is especially stark when it comes to energy.” Steyer said that Romney would take no action to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels; rather, he said he would increase it. Steyer went on to support Obama’s policies, which he described as investments to “make us energy independent and create thousands of jobs.”[33]

Prop 39

Steyer was the leading sponsor of Proposition 39 on the 2012 ballot in California. Its purpose was to close a loophole that allowed multi-state corporations to pay taxes out of state, mandating that they pay in California. Steyer contributed $21.9 million, saying that he could wait no longer for the change.[34][35]

Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, said that the level of giving was unprecedented: “We’ve seen companies giving that much, and unions and PACs that have a lot at stake giving $10, $20 million in an election, but you didn’t see that so much for individual donors.”[34] While supporters of Steyer’s effort said it would “help break the partisan gridlock in Sacramento,” critics objected that “the increasing involvement of rich individuals perverts the original intent of the initiatives.[34] The passage of Prop 39 was described as “a $1 billion corporate tax increase that somehow slipped under the radar” and a huge political story that somehow went unnoticed. It was noted that the backers’ strategy was to eliminate political opposition before it could materialize. Tom Steyer added $21 million into the Yes on Proposition 39 campaign, warning opponents that “it would be impossible to wage an opposition campaign on the cheap.”[36]

2013 Virginia Gubernatorial Election[edit]

Steyer supported the campaign of Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 Virginia Gubernatorial race through his NextGen Climate Action political committee. This support consisted primarily of releasing ads meant to portray McAuliffe’s rival, Ken Cuccinelli, as extreme on environmental issues, and in Get out the vote efforts.[37]

Personal life

In August 1986, he married Kathryn Ann Taylor. She is a graduate of Harvard College and earned a J.D./M.B.A. from Stanford University. The Rev. Richard Thayer, a Presbyterian minister, and Rabbi Charles Familant performed the ceremony.[9] Steyer and his wife have four children.[32] His wife is on the President’s Council for the United Religions Initiative whose purpose is to “promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.”[38]

Tom is the brother of attorney, author, and Stanford University professor Jim Steyer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Steyer

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 248, April 22, 2014, Story 1: Shortage of Jobs Not Americans To Fill Jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics — Large US Multinational Corporations Want Cheap Complaint Labor Force of Illegal Aliens Given Pathway To Citizenship — Solution Raise Salaries and Enforce Immigration Laws — Videos

Posted on April 22, 2014. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Culture, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Private Sector Unions, Public Sector Unions, Regulation, Security, Social Networking, Software, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

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Story 1: Shortage of Jobs Not Americans To Fill Jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics — Large US Multinational Corporations Want Cheap Complaint Labor Force of Illegal Aliens Given Pathway To Citizenship — Solution Raise Salaries and Enforce Immigration Laws —  Videos

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 1

Milton Friedman – Illegal Immigration – PT 2

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS DESTROYING AMERICA

Sen. Sessions: ‘Deliberate Plan by President’ to Collapse U.S. Law Enforcement System

ITIF Debate: Is There a STEM Worker Shortage?

The issue of high skill immigration is receiving increased attention as Congress considers comprehensive immigration legislation. Underlying this issue is an ongoing debate surrounding the U.S. labor market for high-skill workers, including those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The key policy questions being discussed include: is there a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. economy; is the U.S. education system producing enough STEM graduates with requisite STEM education; and does high-skill immigration negatively affect the domestic supply of STEM talent?

ITIF will host a lively debate on this critical policy issue. Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF, and Jonathan Rothwell, an Associate Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will argue that the United States does face a STEM worker shortage, which is hampering the development of the innovation economy, and high-skill immigration should be used as a tool to address the skills gap. Hal Salzman, Professor of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, will counter that the country is not experiencing a STEM shortage, and increased immigration will simply exacerbate unemployment and hurt U.S. workers. The debate will be moderated by Kevin Finneran, editor of the National Academies’ Issues in Science and Technology.

The event is free, open to the public and complies with ethics rules. This event will not be live streamed but a video recording will be available the day after the event.

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REPORT: NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT CLAIMS OF SHORTAGE OF HIGH-TECH WORKERS

The notion that there is a shortage of American high-tech workers has been parroted as if it were an indisputable fact by members of congress Congress, academia, and the mainstream press. It has been the impetus behind the relentless campaign for amnesty legislation and a dramatic increase in the number of high-tech visas to allow Silicon Valley to import more foreign workers.

Except there is a problem with those claims. They are not true, and there is empirical evidence to prove it, says Michael Teitelbaum in a piece in, of all places, The Atlantic, a publication that is often cozy with the captains of the high-tech world. He writes that “such claims are now well established as conventional wisdom” and “there is almost no debate in the mainstream.”

Take an article in the Financial Times this week in which the publication repeated the claim that in “booming” Silicon Valley, “engineers are in high demand but short supply,” and companies “are facing the most competitive rush ever to secure US work visas for their foreign hires.”

“They echo from corporate CEO to corporate CEO, from lobbyist to lobbyist, from editorial writer to editorial writer,” Teitelbaum writes. “But what if what everyone knows is wrong? What if this conventional wisdom is just the same claims ricocheting in an echo chamber?”

Claims of a so-called tech-shortage are nothing new, and there have been five phases in history when similar calls have been trumpeted by industry elites. The truth, he says, “is that there is little credible evidence of the claimed widespread shortages in the U.S. science and engineering workforce” and that conventional wisdom is vastly different from the empirical evidence.

As Teitelbaum notes, there has been even more research on the subject from “leading academic researchers and from respected research organizations such as the National Bureau of Economic Research, the RAND Corporation, and the Urban Institute.” But no one has been able to find any evidence indicating current widespread labor shortages or hiring difficulties in science and engineering occupations that require bachelors degrees or higher, although some are forecasting high growth in occupations that require post-high school training but not a bachelors degree:

All have concluded that U.S. higher education produces far more science and engineering graduates annually than there are S&E job openings—the only disagreement is whether it is 100 percent or 200 percent more. Were there to be a genuine shortage at present, there would be evidence of employers raising wage offers to attract the scientists and engineers they want. But the evidence points in the other direction: Most studies report that real wages in many—but not all—science and engineering occupations have been flat or slow-growing, and unemployment as high or higher than in many comparably-skilled occupations.

He mentions that is is “easy to cherry-pick specific specialties that really are in short supply, at least in specific years and locations” and concedes that it is “true that high-skilled professional occupations almost always experience unemployment rates far lower than those for the rest of the U.S. workforce.” Yet, unemployment “among scientists and engineers is higher than in other professions such as physicians, dentists, lawyers, and registered nurses, and surprisingly high unemployment rates prevail for recent graduates even in fields with alleged serious ‘shortages’ such as engineering (7.0 percent), computer science (7.8 percent) and information systems (11.7 percent).”

Teitelbaum also notes that in the current state of play, “far from offering expanding attractive career opportunities, it seems that many, but not all, science and engineering careers are headed in the opposite direction: unstable careers, slow-growing wages, and high risk of jobs moving offshore or being filled by temporary workers from abroad.”

Already, for instance, “among college-educated information technology workers under age 30, temporary workers from abroad constitute a large majority.” He notes that “even in electrical and electronic engineering—an occupation that is right at the heart of high-tech innovation but that also has been heavily outsourced abroad—U.S. employment in 2013 declined to about 300,000, down 35,000 and over 10 percent, from 2012, and down from about 385,000 in 2002.” And the unemployment rate in that industry is on the rise.

But that has not stopped Silicon Valley from going all-in for amnesty legislation in Congress. Silicon Valley companies are getting more creative in their efforts to import more foreign workers. They want to double and perhaps even triple the number of H-1B visas that are annually awarded to 180,000.The SKILLS Act, supported by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), passed out of committee in the House and would double the number of H-1B visas that are awarded immediately.

Lobbying groups like FWD.US, which was started by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and an array of other high-tech interests have spent millions to push for amnesty legislation in Congress. Just this week, Silicon Valley executives held a big-money fundraiser with Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

In an article in the Chronicle of Higher EducationMichael Anft wrote researchers who have not received money from “technology companies or their private foundations–say the notion that there is a STEM-worker shortage is ‘a myth.'” He said that though Silicon Valley groups have spent at least $130 million on lobbying efforts, the increase in the unemployment rate suggests there are a shortage of jobs–not workers.

Anft noted, as did Teitelbaum, that if there really were a shortage, then there would be a corresponding “rise in wages in technology and science fields. And that isn’t happening.”

“If you’re a biologist, chemist, electrical engineer, manufacturing worker, mechanical engineer, or physicist, you’ve most likely seen your paycheck remain flat at best. If you’re a recent grad in those fields looking for a job, good luck,” Anft wrote.

Silicon Valley wants an endless supply of cheaper labor, though. As Breitbart News noted, if they don’t get amnesty legislation and a dramatic increase in the number of high-tech visas, companies are reportedly working on contingency plans. One report noted that some are even looking to open new offices “abroad in order to hire people and then bring them into the US on a type of visa allocated to existing employees for internal transfers.”

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/21/Atlantic-No-Empirical-Evidence-to-Support-Claims-of-Shortage-of-American-High-Tech-Workers

Is There a STEM Worker Shortage? Rutgers Professor Debates Issue at National Academies

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There is a widely held perception that the U.S. faces a significant shortage of STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – graduates, and that this shortfall is bound to hold dire consequences for America in the global economy. Professor Hal Salzman of Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy disagrees.

Salzman, also a senior fellow at the Bloustein School’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, finds supply appears to be far greater than demand. Many representatives of  STEM-related industries allege that American students lack the training, experience or motivation to fill thousands of positions they claim are available – both assertions are not supported by the evidence, Salzman finds.

Hal Salzman
Professor Hal Salzman

Salzman presented his views on March 12 in Washington, D.C., during a public debate co-hosted by the National Academies’ Issues in Science and Technology,the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, the Economic Policy Institute and the Heldrich Center. He recently spoke to Rutgers Today about the debate sparked by his recent article on this topic in Issues in Science and Technology and a report for the Economic Policy Institute.

Rutgers Today: Is there a shortage of STEM workers in the U.S. economy?

Hal Salzman: We can find no evidence of any shortages in most STEM fields. Typically when employers have a hard time finding workers, they increase wages. In the one area where there truly were not enough graduates to meet hiring demands, in petroleum engineering, wages have risen dramatically and the number of graduates more than doubled in just a few years. In other areas, such as IT, average wage levels today are the same as they were when Bill Clinton was president. If employers truly need more workers in these fields, we find it puzzling that they don’t use the market and raise wages; all available evidence suggests that students do respond to market signals. It may be that it is more an issue of cost rather than supply, and Congress has been providing a lower-cost pool of tech guest workers; it is understandable that expanding the pool of lower-cost guest workers would be preferable to paying more for workers already in the U.S., if given the option.

Rutgers Today: Is the U.S. education system producing an adequate supply of STEM graduates with the requisite STEM education?

Hal Salzman: When we consider the supply for the science and engineering workforce, which is about 5 to 8 percent of the overall workforce, we find that the colleges graduate about twice the number of science and engineering students each year as hired into those job. Even in fields such as engineering and computer science, the number of graduates is 50 percent greater than the number hired. At the secondary school level, there are certainly significant educational problems for certain areas and students, but overall, U.S. students are completing more math and science than ever before – over the past 20 years, about 50 percent more complete subjects such as chemistry, algebra II/trigonometry, biology and physics – and test score performance shows steady increases for all students. In terms of actual supply of high performing students in science and math, the U.S. produces the lion’s share of these students in the world.

Rutgers Today: How does high-skill immigration affect the STEM labor market and the domestic supply of STEM talent?

Hal Salzman: Unfortunately the issue of immigration has been confused with guest worker programs. While a broad immigration policy is at the heart of this nation’s success – socially, economically – it is quite different from the current guest worker programs that bring in young workers targeted to a few industries, mostly IT, on a temporary basis and at lower wages.  Naturally, employers tend to prefer the lower cost option for many of the more routine work positions, and even some of the more specialized areas. Our estimate is that currently guest workers are hired for about two-thirds of all entry-level positions in IT.  Although a balanced immigration policy can strengthen the nation, a targeted guest worker program can undermine the STEM workforce by making it harder for graduates of U.S. colleges (both native and immigrant) to find jobs at good wages and to have stable careers.

Rutgers Today: How can the U.S. compete globally, when other nations are rapidly improving their STEM industries?

Hal Salzman: There is an unfortunate premise in science and technology policy that the world is zero-sum – that China or India’s achievements in these areas are a threat to the U.S. Moreover, it’s a case of generals fighting the last war – and the cold war in particular when we thought that the Soviet Union’s scientific advancement would imperil the security of the U.S. Well, the Soviet Union, and later the Japanese, did produce large numbers of engineers and scientists but we know that did little to help their long-term economic performance. The supply of scientists and engineers does not assure high economic performance, nor does another nation’s improvements threaten the U.S. China, for example, is graduating many more engineers because they need them to build roads, buildings, and infrastructure. The U.S. does not have nearly the scale of building that requires large numbers of engineers. In addition, science is increasingly global and having a greater pool of scientists around the world can only help everyone. Although it would be great to have U.S. scientists be the ones to discover the cure for cancer, this country, and the world, will benefit much more if, by having more scientists in China or India, the discovery is made sooner rather than later.

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth

Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians

Posted 30 Aug 2013 | 17:47 GMT
09 STEMeducation Opener
Photo: Justin Lewis/Getty Images

The STEM Crisis Is a Myth: Ongoing Discussion

    1. The STEM Crisis Is a Myth


    1. Is a Career in STEM Really for Me?


    1. Is There a U.S. IT Worker Shortage?


    1. An Engineering Career: Only a Young Person’s Game?


    1. What Ever Happened to STEM Job Security?


    1. Are STEM Workers Overpaid?


    1. Would You Encourage a Student to Pursue a Career in STEM?


    1. Is There a Shortage of STEM Students and STEM professionals?


    1. Corporate Recruiters Insist There Really Is a STEM Worker Shortage


  1. Is It Fair to Steer Students into STEM Disciplines Facing a Glut of Workers?


View all STEM coverage, references, and reactions..

You must have seen the warning a thousand times: Too few young people study scientific or technical subjects, businesses can’t find enough workers in those fields, and the country’s competitive edge is threatened.

It pretty much doesn’t matter what country you’re talking about—the United States is facing this crisis, as is Japan, the United KingdomAustraliaChina,BrazilSouth AfricaSingaporeIndia…the list goes on. In many of these countries, the predicted shortfall of STEM (short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workers is supposed to number in the hundreds of thousands or even the millions. A 2012 report by President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, for instance, stated that over the next decade, 1 million additional STEM graduates will be needed. In the U.K., the Royal Academy of Engineering reported last year that the nation will have to graduate 100 000 STEM majors every year until 2020 just to stay even with demand.Germany, meanwhile, is said to have a shortage of about 210 000 workers in what’s known there as the MINT disciplines—mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology.

The situation is so dismal that governments everywhere are now pouring billions of dollars each year into myriad efforts designed to boost the ranks of STEM workers. President Obama has called for government and industry to train 10 000 new U.S. engineers every year as well as 100 000 additional STEM teachers by 2020. And until those new recruits enter the workforce, tech companies like Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are lobbying to boost the number of H-1B visas—temporary immigration permits for skilled workers—from 65 000 per year to as many as 180 000. The European Union is similarly introducing the new Blue Card visa to bring in skilled workers from outside the EU. The government of India has said it needs to add 800 new universities, in part to avoid a shortfall of 1.6 million university-educated engineers by the end of the decade.

And yet, alongside such dire projections, you’ll also find reports suggesting just the opposite—that there are more STEM workers than suitable jobs. One study found, for example, that wages for U.S. workers in computer and math fields have largely stagnated since 2000. Even as the Great Recession slowly recedes, STEM workers at every stage of the career pipeline, from freshly minted grads to mid- and late-career Ph.D.s, still struggle to find employment as many companies, including Boeing, IBM, and Symantec, continue to lay off thousands of STEM workers.

09STEMeducation graph 
A Matter of Supply vs. Demand: Every year U.S. schools grant more STEM degrees than there are available jobs. When you factor in H-1B visa holders, existing STEM degree holders, and the like, it’s hard to make a case that there’s a STEM labor shortage.

To parse the simultaneous claims of both a shortage and a surplus of STEM workers, we’ll need to delve into the data behind the debate, how it got going more than a half century ago, and the societal, economic, and nationalistic biases that have perpetuated it. And what that dissection reveals is that there is indeed a STEM crisis—just not the one everyone’s been talking about. The real STEM crisis is one of literacy: the fact that today’s students are not receiving a solid grounding in science, math, and engineering.

In preparing this article, I went through hundreds of reports, articles, and white papers from the past six decades. There were plenty of data, but there was also an extraordinary amount of inconsistency. Who exactly is a STEM worker: somebody with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a STEM discipline? Somebody whose job requires use of a STEM subject? What about someone who manages STEM workers? And which disciplines and industries fall under the STEM umbrella?

Such definitions obviously affect the counts. For example, in the United States, both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Commerce track the number of STEM jobs, but using different metrics. According to Commerce, 7.6 million individuals worked in STEM jobs in 2010, or about 5.5 percent of the U.S. workforce. That number includes professional and technical support occupations in the fields of computer science and mathematics, engineering, and life and physical sciences as well as management. The NSF, by contrast, counts 12.4 million science and engineering jobs in the United States, including a number of areas that the Commerce Department excludes, such as health-care workers (4.3 million) and psychologists and social scientists (518 000).

Such inconsistencies don’t just create confusion for numbers junkies like me; they also make rational policy discussions difficult. Depending on your point of view, you can easily cherry-pick data to bolster your argument.

Another surprise was the apparent mismatch between earning a STEM degree and having a STEM job. Of the 7.6 million STEM workers counted by the Commerce Department, only 3.3 million possess STEM degrees. Viewed another way, about 15 million U.S. residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline, but three-fourths of them—11.4 million—work outside of STEM.

The departure of STEM graduates to other fields starts early. In 2008, the NSF surveyed STEM graduates who’d earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 2006 and 2007. It found that 2 out of 10 were already working in non-STEM fields. And 10 years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field, according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University.

The takeaway? At least in the United States, you don’t need a STEM degree to get a STEM job, and if you do get a degree, you won’t necessarily work in that field after you graduate. If there is in fact a STEM worker shortage, wouldn’t you expect more people with STEM degrees to be filling those jobs? And if many STEM jobs can be filled by people who don’t have STEM degrees, then why the big push to get more students to pursue STEM?

Now consider the projections that suggest a STEM worker shortfall. One of the most cited in recent U.S. debates comes from the 2011 Georgetown University report mentioned above, by Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Michelle Melton of the Center on Education and the Workforce. It estimated there will be slightly more than 2.4 million STEM job openings in the United States between 2008 and 2018, with 1.1 million newly created jobs and the rest to replace workers who retire or move to non-STEM fields; they conclude that there will be roughly 277 000 STEM vacancies per year.

But the Georgetown study did not fully account for the Great Recession. It projected a downturn in 2009 but then a steady increase in jobs beginning in 2010 and a return to normal by the year 2018. In fact, though, more than 370 000 science and engineering jobs in the United States were lost in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I don’t mean to single out this study for criticism; it just illustrates the difficulty of accurately predicting STEM demand and supply even a year or two out, let alone over a prolonged period. Highly competitive science- and technology-driven industries are volatile, where radical restructurings and boom-and-bust cycles have been the norm for decades. Many STEM jobs today are alsotargets for outsourcing or replacement by automation.

The nature of STEM work has also changed dramatically in the past several decades. In engineering, for instance, your job is no longer linked to a company but to a funded project. Long-term employment with a single company has been replaced by a series of de facto temporary positions that can quickly end when a project ends or the market shifts. To be sure, engineers in the 1950s were sometimes laid off during recessions, but they expected to be hired back when the economy picked up. That rarely happens today. And unlike in decades past,employers seldom offer generous education and trainingbenefits to engineers to keep them current, so out-of-work engineers find they quickly become technologically obsolete.

Any of these factors can affect both short-term and longer-term demand for STEM workers, as well as for the particular skills those workers will need. The agencies that track science and engineering employment know this to be true. Buried in Chapter 3 of a 2012 NSF workforce study, for instance, you’ll find this caveat: “Projections of employment growth are plagued by uncertain assumptions and are notoriously difficult to make.”

So is there a shortfall of STEM workers or isn’t there?

The Georgetown study estimates that nearly two-thirds of the STEM job openings in the United States, or about 180 000 jobs per year, will require bachelor’s degrees. Now, if you apply the Commerce Department’s definition of STEM to the NSF’s annual count of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, that means about 252 000 STEM graduates emerged in 2009. So even if all the STEM openings were entry-level positions and even if only new STEM bachelor’s holders could compete for them, that still leaves 70 000 graduates unable to get a job in their chosen field.

Of course, the pool of U.S. STEM workers is much bigger than that: It includes new STEM master’s and Ph.D. graduates (in 2009, around 80 000 and 25 000, respectively), STEM associate degree graduates (about 40 000), H-1B visa holders (more than 50 000), other immigrants and visa holders with STEM degrees, technical certificate holders, and non-STEM degree recipients looking to find STEM-related work. And then there’s the vast number of STEM degree holders who graduated in previous years or decades.

Even in the computer and IT industry, the sector that employs the most STEM workers and is expected to grow the most over the next 5 to 10 years, not everyone who wants a job can find one. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., found that more than a third of recent computer science graduates aren’t working in their chosen major; of that group, almost a third say the reason is that there are no jobs available.

Spot shortages for certain STEM specialists do crop up. For instance, the recent explosion in data analytics has sparked demand for data scientists in health care and retail. But the H-1B visa and similar immigrant hiring programs are meant to address such shortages. The problem is that students who are contemplating what field to specialize in can’t assume such shortages will still exist by the time they emerge from the educational pipeline.

What’s perhaps most perplexing about the claim of a STEM worker shortage is that many studies have directly contradicted it, including reports from Duke University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Rand Corp. A 2004 Rand study, for example, stated that there was no evidence “that such shortages have existed at least since 1990, nor that they are on the horizon.”

That report argued that the best indicator of a shortfall would be a widespread rise in salaries throughout the STEM community. But the price of labor has not risen, as you would expect it to do if STEM workers were scarce. In computing and IT, wages have generally been stagnant for the past decade, according to the EPI and other analyses. And over the past 30 years, according to the Georgetown report, engineers’ and engineering technicians’ wages have grown the least of all STEM wages and also more slowly than those in non-STEM fields; while STEM workers as a group have seen wages rise 33 percent and non-STEM workers’ wages rose by 23 percent, engineering salaries grew by just 18 percent. The situation is even more grim for those who get a Ph.D. in science, math, or engineering. The Georgetown study states it succinctly: “At the highest levels of educational attainment, STEM wages are not competitive.”

Given all of the above, it is difficult to make a case that there has been, is, or will soon be a STEM labor shortage. “If there was really a STEM labor market crisis, you’d be seeing very different behaviors from companies,” notes Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York state. “You wouldn’t see companies cutting their retirement contributions, or hiring new workers and giving them worse benefits packages. Instead you would see signing bonuses, you’d see wage increases. You would see these companies really training their incumbent workers.”

“None of those things are observable,” Hira says. “In fact, they’re operating in the opposite way.”

So why the persistent anxiety that a STEM crisis exists? Michael S. Teitelbaum, a Wertheim Fellow at Harvard Law School and a senior advisor to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has studied the phenomenon, and he says that in the United States the anxiety dates back to World War II. Ever since then it has tended to run in cycles that he calls “alarm, boom, and bust.” He says the cycle usually starts when “someone or some group sounds the alarm that there is a critical crisis of insufficient numbers of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians” and as a result the country “is in jeopardy of either a national security risk or of falling behind economically.” In the 1950s, he notes, Americans worried that the Soviet Union was producing 95 000 scientists and engineers a year while the United States was producing only about 57 000. In the 1980s, it was the perceived Japanese economic juggernaut that was the threat, and now it is China and India.

You’ll hear similar arguments made elsewhere. In India, the director general of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Vijay Kumar Saraswat, recently noted that in his country, “a meagre four persons out of every 1000 are choosing S&T or research, as compared to 110 in Japan, 76 in Germany and Israel, 55 in USA, 46 in Korea and 8 in China.” Leaders in South Africa and Brazil cite similar statistics to show how they are likewise falling behind in the STEM race.

“The government responds either with money [for research] or, more recently, with visas to increase the number of STEM workers,” Teitelbaum says. “This continues for a number of years until the claims of a shortage turn out not to be true and a bust ensues.” Students who graduate during the bust, he says, are shocked to discover that “they can’t find jobs, or they find jobs but not stable ones.”

At the moment, we’re in the alarm-heading-toward-boom part of the cycle. According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. government spends more than US $3 billion each year on 209 STEM-related initiatives overseen by 13 federal agencies. That’s about $100 for every U.S. student beyond primary school. In addition, major corporations are collectively spending millions to support STEM educational programs. And every U.S. state, along with a host of public and private universities, high schools, middle schools, and even primary schools, has its own STEM initiatives. The result is that many people’s fortunes are now tied to the STEM crisis, real or manufactured.

Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle. One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit. It gives employers a larger pool from which they can pick the “best and the brightest,” and it helps keep wages in check. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much when in 2007 he advocated boosting the number of skilled immigrants entering the United States so as to “suppress” the wages of their U.S. counterparts, which he considered too high.

 

 

Governments also push the STEM myth because an abundance of scientists and engineers is widely viewed as an important engine for innovation and also for national defense. And the perception of a STEM crisis benefits higher education, says Ron Hira, because as “taxpayers subsidize more STEM education, that works in the interest of the universities” by allowing them to expand their enrollments.

An oversupply of STEM workers may also have a beneficial effect on the economy, says Georgetown’s Nicole Smith, one of the coauthors of the 2011 STEM study. If STEM graduates can’t find traditional STEM jobs, she says, “they will end up in other sectors of the economy and be productive.”

The problem with proclaiming a STEM shortage when one doesn’t exist is that such claims can actually create a shortage down the road, Teitelbaum says. When previous STEM cycles hit their “bust” phase, up-and-coming students took note and steered clear of those fields, as happened in computer science after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001.

Emphasizing STEM at the expense of other disciplines carries other risks. Without a good grounding in the arts, literature, and history, STEM students narrow their worldview—and their career options. In a 2011 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, argued that point. “In my position as CEO of a firm employing over 80 000 engineers, I can testify that most were excellent engineers,” he wrote. “But the factor that most distinguished those who advanced in the organization was the ability to think broadly and read and write clearly.”

A broader view, I and many others would argue, is that everyone needs a solid grounding in science, engineering, and math. In that sense, there is indeed a shortage—a STEM knowledge shortage. To fill that shortage, you don’t necessarily need a college or university degree in a STEM discipline, but you do need to learn those subjects, and learn them well, from childhood until you head off to college or get a job. Improving everyone’s STEM skills would clearly be good for the workforce and for people’s employment prospects, for public policy debates, and for everyday tasks like balancing checkbooks and calculating risks. And, of course, when science, math, and engineering are taught well, they engage students’ intellectual curiosity about the world and how it works.

Many children born today are likely to live to be 100 and to have not just one distinct career but two or three by the time they retire at 80. Rather than spending our scarce resources on ending a mythical STEM shortage, we should figure out how to make all children literate in the sciences, technology, and the arts to give them the best foundation to pursue a career and then transition to new ones. And instead of continuing our current global obsession with STEM shortages, industry and government should focus on creating more STEM jobs that are enduring and satisfying as well.

About the Author

An IEEE Spectrum contributing editor, Charette is a self-described “risk ecologist” who investigates the impact of risk on technology and society. His interest is both professional and personal: He’s a 33-year member of the IEEE Computer Society and has two daughters who are contemplating STEM careers. “Now I can give better career advice to my daughters,” he says.

To Probe Further

Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment (University of Chicago Press, 2009), edited by Richard B. Freeman and Daniel L. Goroff, provides a highly useful introduction to the forces in the early to mid-2000s that shaped current STEM shortage arguments in the United States.

Chapter 13 of Benoît Godin’s Measurement and Statistics on Science and Technology: 1920 to the Present (Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, 2012) shows how the claims of scientist and engineer shortages in the United States and United Kingdom after the Second World War were based on dubious statistics, and notes that the success rate of U.S. government predictions on the supply and demand for scientists and engineers has been about zero.

The National Research Council’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future(The National Academies Press, 2007) and Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5(The National Academies Press, 2010)are must reads. The first report triggered the current STEM shortage debate in the United States, and the second one fanned the flames. Written by a select committee of business and academic leaders, the first report concluded that the United States appeared to be “on a losing path” in its ability to innovate and globally compete, because the U.S. school system was failing to prepare the nation’s future STEM workers. The second report concluded that because the first report’s recommendations had not been funded, the situation was now reaching catastrophic proportions. If these reports were the only ones you read on the subject, you too would believe there is a national STEM crisis.

One of the key conclusions of Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell’s “Guestworkers in the High-Skill U.S. Labor Market” (Briefing Paper #359, Economic Policy Institute, 24 April 2013) is that while there is an adequate supply of U.S. STEM workers and potential STEM graduates, this may not be the case in the IT sector, given that guest workers are willing to work “at wages that are too low to induce a significantly increased supply from the domestic workforce.”

In “The Hidden STEM Economy” (Brookings Institution, 2013), Jonathan Rothwell argues that STEM workers include not just those with bachelor’s or higher degrees, but anyone who uses “specialized knowledge” in any STEM discipline, such as plumbers and auto mechanics. Counted this way, there are 26 million STEM jobs in the United States, or about 20 percent of the workforce, as opposed to the 5 million to 6 million jobs counted the traditional way. Many of Rothwell’s arguments echoed those made in a 1964 report from the American Council on Education entitled “Man, Education, and Work: Post Secondary Vocational and Technical Education.”

One oft-cited argument for boosting the number of U.S. STEM graduates is that China and India are each graduating hundreds of thousands of engineers per year. But in their 2007 article “Where the Engineers Are” (Issues in Science and Technology), Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University and his colleagues revealed that the graduation numbers from China and India have been exaggerated; for example, in China, they write, “a motor mechanic or a technician could be considered an engineer.” The authors argued that the United States should still increase its investment in R&D and STEM education, as both India and China would no doubt work to improve the quality of their own STEM graduates.

Ron Hira, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, wrote a series of reports as part of the STEM Workforce Data Project. In “U.S. Policy and the STEM Workforce System” (Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, 2007), he analyzes why, given STEM’s supposed importance to the nation’s standard of living and national defense, there is so little objective information for making informed policy decisions.

“The Current Model of STEM Graduate Education and Postdocs” [PDF] is a presentation given in November 2007 by Michael S. Teitelbaum, senior advisor to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A world-respected demographer, he looks at the claims of STEM shortages and shortfalls at the graduate level and calls them a “long, embarrassing history.”

“Will the Scientific and Technology Workforce Meet the Requirements of the Federal Government?,” a 2004 report by William Butz and colleagues at the Rand Corp., found no evidence, regardless of what measure was used, “that [STEM] shortages have existed at least since 1990, nor that they are on the horizon.”

Does the U.S. Department of Defense face a STEM worker shortage? No, concludes “Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce” (National Research Council, 2012), a report from the National Academies. What’s more, the report finds, “DOD representatives state virtually unanimously that they foresee no shortage of STEM workers in the years ahead except in a few specialty fields.” Those specialties include cybersecurity, as well as anthropology, linguistics, and sociology.

Heather B. Gonzalez and Jeffrey J. Kuenzi’s “ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: A Primer” [PDF] (Congressional Research Service, 1 August 2012) clearly and succinctly lays out the major issues involved in the STEM debate.

In 2013 the Australian Industry Group, a nonprofit group representing some 60 000 businesses in Australia, published “Lifting Our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Skills.” [PDF] It called for “a major re-think by Australian education at all levels and in all sectors” to increase both the number and quality of Australian STEM graduates. In its tone and recommendations, it’s very similar to the U.S. “Gathering Storm” reports.

The U.K. equivalent to the “Gathering Storm” reports is “Jobs and Growth: the Importance of Engineering Skills to the Economy,” [PDF] published in 2012 by the Royal Academy of Engineering. It concluded that the United Kingdom needs an annual minimum of 100 000 STEM graduates, along with another 60 000 technically trained individuals, over the next decade just to maintain the status quo. Unlike in the United States, where engineering salaries have stagnated, the report found “a persistent, sizeable wage premium for people holding engineering degrees” in the past 20 years.

The German equivalent to STEM is MINT—mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology. Written in German, “MINT-Frühjahrsreport 2013” (MINT Spring Report 2013), published by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, analyzes German employment data for MINT workers, from academics to technicians. One useful metric is the comparison of job openings with unemployed workers in different MINT categories and occupations, although there are limits to this approach.

 

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

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The Pronk Pops Show 247, April 21, 2014, Story 1: Why American People Do Not Trust The Washington Ruling Elite? Boehner says he’s ‘hell-bent’ on passing immigration legislation this year — Go To Hell Boehner and Republican Party — American People Want Immgiration Law Enforcement Not Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Deport The 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens or Undocumented Democrats Now! — Videos

Posted on April 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, Climate Change, Communications, Constitutional Law, Crime, Culture, Drugs, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Government, History, Labor Economics, Law, Media, Monetary Policy, Politics, Regulation, Tax Policy, Terrorism, Unemployment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Why American People Do Not Trust The Washington Ruling Elite? Boehner says he’s ‘hell-bent’ on passing immigration legislation this year — Go To Hell Boehner and Republican Party — American People Want Immigration Law Enforcement Not Comprehensive Immigration Reform — Deport The 40 Million Plus Illegal Aliens or Undocumented Democrats Now! — Videos

 Illegal Immigration

 01_apprehensions

2013-april


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chart_immigration_into_us_1820_2010

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Boehner says he’s ‘hell-bent’ on passing immigration legislation this year

April 17, 2014: Suspected illegal immigrants being detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents, in McAllen, Texas.AP
House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican leadership team are telling donors and industry groups that they want to pass immigration legislation this year, despite the reluctance of other party members to tackle the divisive issue before the November elections.

Many lawmakers and activists have assumed the issue was off the table in an election year. But Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a recent Las Vegas fundraiser that he was “hell-bent on getting this done this year,” two people in the room told The Wall Street Journal.

A Boehner spokesman didn’t dispute the account but said no action is possible until President Obama proves himself a trustworthy partner to Republicans.

The news follows House Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying Wednesday after talking to Obama that the GOP-led chamber will not pass the immigration legislation passed this past summer by the Democrat-controlled Senate that includes a path to citizenship for millions of people living illegally in the United States. Critics of the plan say it is tantamount to amnesty.

In addition, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said during a recent trip to Silicon Valley that action in 2014 was “entirely possible,” likely in the form of votes this summer on five to seven immigration bills, Carl Guardino, chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who hosted his visit, told the newspaper.

A Goodlatte spokeswoman declined to comment on the exchange.

And Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., also is drafting legislation that would give qualifying undocumented immigrants legal status and the chance to apply for citizenship through existing channels. The bill includes border-security measures and an effort to clear the backlog of applications for permanent legal status, known as green cards.

House leaders have told Mr. Diaz-Balart to have the legislation ready to go for possible debate in June or July, an aide said.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/19/report-boehner-says-hell-bent-on-passing-immigration-legislation-this-year/

 

Mark Zuckerberg group’s attack on Steve King sends message to GOP immigration reform foes

Why would Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook billionaire born and raised in New York, educated in Massachusetts, and now based in California, have any particular interest in the politics of Iowa’s rural 4th Congressional District? Because the area is home to Republican Rep. Steve King, one of the most vocal, and certainly controversial, opponents of the immigration reform bill Zuckerberg and fellow Silicon Valley moguls want to pass.

Zuckerberg’s pro-reform group, FWD.us, has produced an ad attacking King for his opposition to the ENLIST Act, a measure that would allow some illegal immigrants to win legal status by joining the U.S. military. “As soon as they raise their hand and say ‘I’m unlawfully present in the United States,’ we’re not going to take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana,” King told Breitbart News this month.

The FWD.us ad, which will run in Iowa, says: “Instead of supporting our military, Steve King, a Republican member of Congress, insults the brave soldiers who are immigrants and those who would proudly serve. Instead of supporting immigrants who want to serve, he’d deport them. Steve King’s attacks on American soldiers and the military is [sic] wrong.”

King is in a safe, conservative, Republican district and is expected to win re-election easily this year. The ad is unlikely to do him much harm at home. And National Journal reports that, “Although FWD.us is going hard after King, the organization doesn’t have plans to utilize similar messaging against other elected officials.”

So why air the ad at all? As a warning to other lawmakers who would oppose FWD.us. “This sends a message,” says a GOP Hill aide who opposes Gang of Eight-style reform. “Do you want this headache? Do you want this amount of trouble?” A lawmaker who gets on the wrong side of the FWD.us billionaires might find himself or herself receiving the King treatment. “They’re trying to push a group of Republicans out of the party,” the aide says, “and, in a left-wing way, if they can’t beat them, then try to delegitimize them.”

 

http://washingtonexaminer.com/zuckerberg-groups-attack-on-steve-king-sends-message-to-gop-immigration-reform-foes/article/2547464

Republicans to the Rescue?

Thomas Sowell | Feb 04, 2014

Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically, as the problems of ObamaCare continue to escalate, and it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate.

But Democrats may not need to worry so much. Republicans may once again come to the rescue of the Democrats, by discrediting themselves and snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory.

The latest bright idea among Republicans inside the Beltway is a new version of amnesty that is virtually certain to lose votes among the Republican base and is unlikely to gain many votes among the Hispanics that the Republican leadership is courting.

One of the enduring political mysteries is how the Republicans can be so successful in winning governorships and control of state legislatures, while failing to make much headway in Washington. Maybe there are just too many clever GOP consultants inside the Beltway.

When it comes to national elections, just what principles do the Republicans stand for? It is hard to think of any, other than their hoping to win elections by converting themselves into Democrats lite. But voters who want what the Democrats offer can vote for the real thing, rather than Johnny-come-lately imitations.

Listening to discussions of immigration laws and proposals to reform them is like listening to something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them. One of the big problems that those who are pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” want solved is how to help people who came here illegally and are now “living in the shadows” as a result.

What about embezzlers or burglars who are “living in the shadows” in fear that someone will discover their crimes? Why not “reform” the laws against embezzlement or burglary, so that such people can also come out of the shadows?

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants, because these children are here “through no fault of their own.” Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places “through no fault of their own,” and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?

More fundamentally, why do the American people not have a right to the protection that immigration laws provide people in other countries around the world — including Mexico, where illegal immigrants from other countries get no such special treatment as Mexico and its American supporters are demanding for illegal immigrants in the United States?

The very phrase “comprehensive” immigration reform is part of the bad faith that has surrounded immigration issues for decades. What “comprehensive” reform means is that border control and amnesty should be voted on together in Congress.

Why? Because that would be politically convenient for members of Congress, who like to be on both sides of issues, so as to minimize the backlash from the voting public. But what “comprehensive” immigration reform has always meant in practice is amnesty up front and a promise to control the border later — promises that have never been kept.

The new Republican proposal is to have some border control criteria whose fulfillment will automatically serve as a “trigger” to let the legalizing of illegal immigrants proceed. But why set up some automatic triggering device to signal that the borders are secure, when the Obama administration is virtually guaranteed to game the system, so that amnesty can proceed?

What in the world is wrong with Congress taking up border security first, as a separate issue, and later taking responsibility in a Congressional vote on whether the border has become secure? Congress at least should come out of the shadows.

The Republican plan for granting legalization up front, while withholding citizenship, is too clever by half. It is like saying that you can slide halfway down a slippery slope.

Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2014/02/04/republicans-to-the-rescue-n1788940/page/full

 

Study: Number Of Illegal Immigrants Living In US Rises To 11.7 Million

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. has found that a previously observed decline in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the nation has seemingly reversed itself.

release posted by experts by the center stated that approximately 11.7 million illegal immigrants were residing in the United States as of March 2012, a figure that indicates an increase from the 11.5 million that lived in America in 2011, and the 11.3 million that took up residence in the country in 2010.

Researchers involved in the study said the figure still fell short of its peak in 2007, but also reinforced that the figures are estimates at best.

“The estimated number of unauthorized immigrants peaked at 12.2 million in 2007 and fell to 11.3 million in 2009, breaking a rising trend that had held for decades,” the release noted. “Although there are indications the number of unauthorized immigrants may be rising, the 2012 population estimate is the midpoint of a wide range of possible values and in a statistical sense is no different from the 2009 estimate.”

Pew said that among the six states with the largest numbers of immigrants here illegally, only Texas had a consistent increase in illegal immigration from 2007 to 2011, due in part to its stronger economy. Its number was unchanged from 2011 to 2012. Two states — Florida and New Jersey — had an initial drop but then increases during the same 2007-2011 period. Three states — California, Illinois and New York — showed only declines.

“As a whole, with the recession ending, the decrease in illegal immigration has stopped,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew.

Passel noted that historically the level of illegal immigration has been closely tied to the strength of the U.S. economy and availability of jobs. Since 2009, the average U.S. unemployment rate has dropped from 9.3 percent to 8.1 percent last year, with signs of strength in the construction industry, which yields jobs generally attractive to newly arrived Latino immigrants.

The Pew analysis is based on census data through March 2012. Because the Census Bureau does not ask people about their immigration status, the estimate on illegal immigrants is derived largely by subtracting the estimated legal immigrant population from the total foreign-born population. It is a method that has been used by the government and Pew for many years and is generally accepted.

Analysts said it was hard to predict whether immigrants in the country illegally could eventually exceed the record total of 12.2 million in 2007. Continued modest increases are possible, but another big surge like the one seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s isn’t likely, due in part to demographic factors such as Mexico’s aging workforce.

“Labor demand in the U.S. is still slack and wages are eroding, whereas there are jobs in Mexico and wages are slowly rising as labor force growth there decelerates,” said Douglas Massey, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University who is co-director of the Mexican Migration Project. “The pressures for mass migration are diminishing for now, but who knows what kind of disasters lie ahead?”

Analyses of census data from the U.S. and Mexican governments show that the number of immigrants here illegally peaked at 12.2 million in 2007, during the U.S. housing boom, and before the recession hit. It then dropped roughly 7 percent to 11.3 million in 2009, the first two-year decline in two decades, due to the weak U.S. economy which shrank construction and service-sector jobs. Much of the decline came as many Mexican workers who already were here saw diminishing job opportunities and returned home.

Since then, the U.S. economy has shown some improvement, while public opinion regarding immigrants has shifted in some cases in favor of granting legal rights. For instance, some state legislatures this year have passed immigrant-friendly measures such as college tuition breaks and rights to driver’s licenses, even as others enacted laws aimed at tightening the system.

The latest numbers on illegal immigration come as prospects for passage of a comprehensive U.S. immigration bill appear dim. A bill passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and backed by the White House includes billions for border security as well as a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already here illegally.

But most House Republicans have rejected this comprehensive approach, and the House Judiciary Committee has moved forward with individual, single-issue immigration bills that could come to the floor sometime later this year or next. It’s unclear whether the GOP-dominated House will ever pass legislation that could form the basis for a final deal with the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Steve A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that advocates tighter immigration policies, said the immigration issue will be tough to resolve.

“The numbers remind us the problem of illegal immigration isn’t going away anytime soon,” he said, “unless we take steps to enforce the laws or have legalization of those here illegally.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/09/25/study-number-of-illegal-immigrants-living-in-us-rises-to-11-7-million/

 

Jobs Americans Won’t Do? A Detailed Look at Immigrant Employment by Occupation

Click here to download a pdf version of this Memoramdum


Steven A. Camarota is the Director of Research and Karen Jensenius is a demographer at the Center for Immigration Studies.


 


This analysis tests the often-made argument that immigrants only do jobs Americans don’t want. If the argument is correct, there should be occupations comprised entirely or almost entirely of immigrants. But Census Bureau data collected from 2005 to 2007, which allow for very detailed analysis, show that even before the recession there were only a tiny number of majority-immigrant occupations. (Click here to see detailed table.)

Among the findings:

  • Of the 465 civilian occupations, only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Moreover, native-born Americans comprise 47 percent of workers in these occupations.
  • Many jobs often thought to be overwhelmingly immigrant are in fact majority native-born:
      • Maids and housekeepers: 55 percent native-born
      • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58 percent native-born
      • Butchers and meat processors: 63 percent native-born
      • Grounds maintenance workers: 65 percent native-born
      • Construction laborers: 65 percent native-born
      • Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 71 percent native-born
      • Janitors: 75 percent native-born
  • There are 93 occupations in which 20 percent or more of workers are immigrants. These high-immigrant occupations are primarily, but not exclusively, lower-wage jobs that require relatively little formal education.
  • There are 23.6 million natives in these high-immigrant occupations (20 percent or more immigrant). These occupations include 19 percent of all native workers.
  • Most natives do not face significant job competition from immigrants; however, those who do tend to be less-educated and poorer than those who face relatively little competition from immigrants.
  • In high-immigrant occupations, 57 percent of natives have no more than a high school education. In occupations that are less than 20 percent immigrant, 35 percent of natives have no more than a high school education. And in occupations that are less than 10 percent immigrant, only 26 percent of natives have no more than a high school education.
  • In high-immigrant occupations the average wages and salary for natives is one-fourth lower than in occupations that are less than 20 percent immigrant.
  • Some may believe that natives in high-immigrant occupations are older and that few young natives are willing to do that kind of work. But 33 percent of natives in these occupations are age 30 or younger. In occupations that are less than 20 percent immigrant, 28 percent of natives are 30 or younger.
  • It is worth remembering that not all high-immigrant occupations are lower-skilled and lower-wage. For example, 44 percent of medical scientists are immigrants, as are 34 percent of software engineers, 27 percent of physicians, and 25 percent of chemists.
  • It is also worth noting that a number of politically important groups tend to face very little job competition from immigrants. For example, just 10 percent of reporters are immigrants, as are only 6 percent of lawyers and judges and 3 percent of farmers and ranchers.

Methodology

The data for this analysis are from the public-use file of the combined three-year sample of the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2005 through 2007. This is the first public-use three-year file to be released by the Census Bureau. The public-use file of the ACS is enormous, allowing for detailed analysis by occupation. The sample includes 4.4 million individuals in the civilian non-institutionalized labor force, about 560,000 of whom are immigrants. Persons in the labor force are either working or looking for work. Like almost all the labor force statistics reported by the government, we confine our analysis to civilians 16 years of age and older not in institutions.1 The immigrant population, which can also be referred to as the foreign-born, is defined as persons living in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. In the ACS this includes people who responded to the survey who are naturalized American citizens, legal permanent residents (green card holders), illegal aliens, and people on long-term temporary visas such as students or guest workers. It does not include those born abroad of American parents or those born in outlying territories of the United States, such as Puerto Rico. Prior research indicates that some 90 percent of illegal immigrants respond to the ACS.2

Discussion

The American economy is dynamic, and it would be a mistake to think that every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native. Many factors impact employment and wages. But it would also be a mistake to assume that dramatically increasing the number of workers in these occupations as a result of immigration policy has no impact on the employment prospects or wages of natives. The data presented here make clear that the often-made argument that immigrants only take jobs Americans don’t want is simply wrong. To talk about the labor market as if there were jobs done entirely or almost entirely by immigrants is not helpful to understanding the potential impact of immigration on American workers. It gives the false impression that the job market is segmented between jobs that are done almost exclusively by immigrants and jobs that are exclusively native. This is clearly not the case.

This analysis focuses on the nation as a whole; the immigrant shares of occupations will vary significantly at the state and local level. But Americans move around the country a great deal. The 2007 ACS showed that about 38 percent of adult natives live outside the state in which they were born. We live in a national economy in which workers can and do move to higher-wage (relative to cost of living) and lower-unemployment areas over time. If immigration levels were lower and a shortage of workers did develop in one part of the country, higher wages and lower unemployment would, over time, tend to induce Americans to move to these areas. Thus in the long term it makes sense to think of the economy as national in scope.3


End Notes

1 Those who are institutionalized live under formally authorized supervision or care such as those in correctional institutions and nursing homes. Since our focus is occupations we also exclude from our analysis the relatively small number of people who did not provide an occupation.

2 The Department of Homeland Security estimates a 10 percent undercount of illegal aliens in Census Bureau data. See Table 2 in Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2007 athttp://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_ill_pe_20…. DHS estimates of the illegal population are based on the ACS with the assumption that 10 percent of illegal immigrants are missed by the survey.

3 In its 1997 study of immigration’s impact on the labor market, the National Research Council concluded that the effects of immigration are likely to be national in scope and not simply confined to high-immigrant areas of the country. See James P. Smith and Barry Edmonston, eds., The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration

http://www.cis.org/illegalImmigration-employment

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 246, April 17, 2014, Story 1: Part 2 Update and Revisions — FairTax Less — 20% Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Income, Payroll and Estate and Gift Taxes With A $500 Per Month Prebate For Every Adult American and $100 Per Child Per Month! — Videos

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Story 1: Part 2 Update and Revisions — FairTax Less — 20% Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Income, Payroll and Estate and Gift Taxes With A $500 Per Month Prebate For Every Adult American and $100 Per Child Per Month! — Videos

FairTax.org

“The Case for the Fair Tax”

The FairTax: It’s Time

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained – Educate Yourself!

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What is the FairTax legislation?

How is the FairTax collected?

How does the FairTax affect the economy?

How does the FairTax rate compare to today’s?

Can I pretend to be a business to avoid the sales tax?

Do corporations get a windfall break from the FairTax?

What is the impact of the FairTax on business?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

Does the FairTax protect privacy and other civil liberties?

What assumptions does the FairTax make about government spending?

Why is the FairTax better than a flat income tax?

Is consumption a reliable source of revenue?

Is the FairTax rate really 23%?

How do we keep exemptions and exclusions from undermining the FairTax?

How does the FairTax impact retailers?

How will used goods be taxed?

How will the FairTax affect state sales tax systems?

What will happen to government programs like Social Security and Medicare?

How will Social Security payments be calculated under the FairTax?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

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Will the FairTax drive the economy down if people stop buying?

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How will the FairTax affect state sales tax systems?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

Isn’t it a stretch to say the IRS will go away?

Will the FairTax lead to a massive underground economy?

How does the “prebate” work?

Is it fair for rich people to get the same prebate as poor people?

Wouldn’t it be more fair to exempt food and medicine from the FairTax?

Will the prebate create a massive new entitlement system?

Is the FairTax truly progressive?

How does the FairTax affect compliance costs?

How will the FairTax help people who don’t hire an accountant?

How can you tax life saving medical treatment?

How does the FairTax impact charitable giving?

Will government pay taxes under the FairTax?

What will the transition be like from the income tax to the FairTax?

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Congressman John Linder, Father of the FairTax

John Linder devoted some 35 years of his life to public service, starting in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1975, and in Congress 1993 – 2011. Linder is nationally known as the father of the FairTax Act which he sponsored in Washington. Linder and radio commentator Neal Boortz wrote two books about why the FairTax is fairer than current taxation schemes. Linder spoke to the Public Policy Foundation on May 21, 1993, just a few months after he was sworn into Congress for the first of his nine terms.

 

FairTax.org

 

 

Background Information and Videos

FairTax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum taxcorporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes(including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 122) would apply a tax, once, at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or “prebate”, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.[1][2] First introduced into the United States Congress in 1999, a number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the bill; however, it has not moved from committee and has yet to have any effect on the tax system. In recent years, a tax reform movement has formed behind the FairTax proposal.[3] Increased attention was created after talk radio personality Neal Boortz and Georgia Congressman John Linderpublished The FairTax Book in 2005 and additional visibility was gained in the 2008 presidential campaign.As defined in the legislation, the tax rate is 23% for the first year. This percentage is based on the total amount paid including the tax ($23 out of every $100 spent in total). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total).[4] The rate would then be automatically adjusted annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5] With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption,[2] but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6][7] Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high-income earners and increase it on the middle class.[4][8] Supporters contend that the plan would effectively tax wealth, increase purchasing power,[9][10] and decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base.The plan’s supporters believe that a consumption tax would have a positive effect on savings and investment, that it would ease tax compliance, and that the tax would result in increased economic growth, incentives forinternational business to locate in the U.S., and increased U.S. competitiveness in international trade.[11][12][13] The plan is intended to increase cost transparency for funding the federal government, and supporters believe it would have positive effects on civil liberties, the environment, and advantages with taxing illegal activity and undocumented immigrants.[11][14] Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion.[4][6] They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.[4][15]There are also concerns regarding the proposed repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use, and the loss of tax advantages tostate and local bonds.

 

Legislative overview and history

Rep John Linder holding the 133 page Fair Tax Act of 2007 in contrast to the then-current U.S. tax code and IRS regulations.

The Fair Tax Act is designed to replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum taxcorporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, andestate taxes with a national retail sales tax on new goods and services. The legislation would remove the Internal Revenue Service (after three years), and establish an Excise Tax Bureau and a Sales Tax Bureau in the Department of the Treasury.[16] The states are granted the primary authority for the collection of sales tax revenues and the remittance of such revenues to the Treasury. The plan was created by Americans For Fair Taxation, an advocacy group formed to change the tax system. The group states that, together with economists, it developed the plan and the name “Fair Tax”, based on interviews, polls, and focus groups of the general public.[4] The FairTax legislation has been introduced in the House by Georgia Republicans John Linder (1999–2010) and Rob Woodall (2011-2014), while being introduced in the Senate by Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss (2003-2014).

Linder first introduced the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 2525) on July 14, 1999 to the 106th United States Congress and a substantially similar bill has been reintroduced in each subsequent session of Congress. The bill attracted a total of 56 House and Senate cosponsors in the 108th Congress,[17][18] 61 in the 109th,[19][20] 76 in the 110th,[21][22] 70 in the 111th,[23][24] 78 in the 112th,[25][26] and 81 in the 113th (H.R. 25/S. 122). Former Speaker of the HouseDennis Hastert (Republican) had cosponsored the bill in the 109th–110th Congress, but it has not received support from the Democratic leadership, which still controls the Senate.[20][21][27] Democratic Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia cosponsored and introduced the bill in the 108th Congress, but Peterson is no longer cosponsoring the bill and Miller has left the Senate.[17][18] In the 109th–111th Congress, Representative Dan Boren has been the only Democrat to cosponsor the bill.[19][21] A number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the FairTax, but it has not moved from committee since its introduction in 1999. The legislation was also discussed with President George W. Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson.[28]

To become law, the bill will need to be included in a final version of tax legislation from the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, pass both the House and the Senate, and finally be signed by the President. In 2005, President Bush established an advisory panel on tax reform that examined several national sales tax variants including aspects of the FairTax and noted several concerns. These included uncertainties as to the revenue that would be generated, and difficulties of enforcement and administration, which made this type of tax undesirable to recommend in their final report.[8] The panel did not examine the Fairtax as proposed in the legislation. The FairTax received visibility in the 2008 presidential election on the issue of taxes and the IRS, with several candidates supporting the bill.[29][30] A poll in 2009 by Rasmussen Reports found that 43% of Americans would support a national sales tax replacement, with 38% opposed to the idea; the sales tax was viewed as fairer by 52% of Republicans, 44% of Democrats, and 49% of unaffiliateds.[31] President Barack Obama does not support the bill,[32] arguing for more progressive changes to the income and payroll tax systems.

Tax rate

The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation for the first year, is 23% of the total payment including the tax ($23 of every $100 spent in total—calculated similar to income taxes). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total, or $30 on top of every $100 spent—$130 total).[4] After the first year of implementation, this rate is automatically adjusted annually using a predefined formula reflecting actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.

The effective tax rate for any household would be variable due to the fixed monthly tax rebate that are used to rebate taxes paid on purchases up to the poverty level.[2] The tax would be levied on all U.S. retail sales for personal consumption on new goods andservices. Critics argue that the sales tax rate defined in the legislation would not be revenue neutral (that is, it would collect less for the government than the current tax system), and thus would increase the budget deficit, unless government spending were equally reduced.[4]

Sales tax rate

During the first year of implementation, the FairTax legislation would apply a 23% federal retail sales tax on the total transaction value of a purchase; in other words, consumers pay to the government 23 cents of every dollar spent in total (sometimes called tax-inclusive, and presented this way to provide a direct comparison with individual income and employment taxes which reduce a person’s available money before they can make purchases). The equivalent assessed tax rate is 30% if the FairTax is applied to the pre-tax price of a good like traditional U.S. state sales taxes (sometimes called tax-exclusive; this rate is not directly comparable with existing income and employment taxes).[4] After the first year of implementation, this tax rate would be automatically adjusted annually using a formula specified in the legislation that reflects actual federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5]

Effective tax rate

A household’s effective tax rate on consumption would vary with the annual expenditures on taxable items and the fixed monthly tax rebate. The rebate would have the greatest effect at low spending levels, where they could lower a household’s effective rate to zero or below.[33] The lowest effective tax rate under the FairTax could be negative due to the rebate for households with annual spending amounts below poverty level spending for a specified household size. At higher spending levels, the rebate has less impact, and a household’s effective tax rate would approach 23% of total spending. A person spending at the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 0%, whereas someone spending at four times the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of 17.2%.[33] Buying or otherwise receiving items and services not subject to federal taxation (such as a used home or car) can contribute towards a lower effective tax rate. The total amount of spending and the proportion of spending allocated to taxable items would determine a household’s effective tax rate on consumption.[33] If a rate is calculated on income, instead of the tax base, the percentage could exceed the statutory tax rate in a given year.

Monthly tax rebate[edit]

Proposed 2012 FairTax Prebate Schedule[34]
One adult household Two adult household
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
Family
Size
Annual
Consumption
Allowance
Annual
Prebate
Monthly
Prebate
1 person $11,170 $2,569 $214 couple $22,340 $5,138 $428
and 1 child $15,130 $3,480 $290 and 1 child $26,300 $6,049 $504
and 2 children $19,090 $4,391 $366 and 2 children $30,260 $6,960 $580
and 3 children $23,050 $5,302 $442 and 3 children $34,220 $7,871 $656
and 4 children $27,010 $6,212 $518 and 4 children $38,180 $8,781 $732
and 5 children $30,970 $7,123 $594 and 5 children $42,140 $9,692 $808
and 6 children $34,930 $8,034 $699 and 6 children $46,100 $10,603 $884
and 7 children $38,890 $8,945 $745 and 7 children $50,060 $11,514 $959
The annual consumption allowance is based on the 2012 DHHS Poverty Guidelines as published in theFederal Register, January 26, 2012. There is no marriage penalty as the couple amount is twice the amount that a single adult receives. For each additional child above 7, add $3,960 to the annual consumption allowance, $911 to the annual rebate, and $76 to the monthly rebate amount. The annual consumption allowance is the amount of spending that is “untaxed” under the FairTax. Note: Alaska and Hawaii have different poverty levels and would have different FairTax rebate amounts.

Under the FairTax, family households of lawful U.S. residents would be eligible to receive a “Family Consumption Allowance” (FCA) based on family size (regardless of income) that is equal to the estimated total FairTax paid on poverty level spending according to the poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[1] The FCA is a tax rebate (known as a “prebate” as it would be an advance) paid in twelve monthly installments, adjusted for inflation. The rebate is meant to eliminate the taxation of household necessities and make the plan progressive.[4] Households would register once a year with their sales tax administering authority, providing the names and social security numbers of each household member.[1] The Social Security Administration would disburse the monthly rebate payments in the form of a paper check via U.S. Mail, an electronic funds transfer to a bank account, or a “smartcard” that can be used like a debit card.[1]

Opponents of the plan criticize this tax rebate due to its costs. Economists at the Beacon Hill Institute estimated the overall rebate cost to be $489 billion (assuming 100% participation).[35] In addition, economist Bruce Bartlett has argued that the rebate would create a large opportunity for fraud,[36] treats children disparately, and would constitute a welfarepayment regardless of need.[37]

The President’s Advisory Panel for Federal Tax Reform cited the rebate as one of their chief concerns when analyzing their national sales tax, stating that it would be the largestentitlement program in American history, and contending that it would “make most American families dependent on monthly checks from the federal government”.[8][38] Estimated by the advisory panel at approximately $600 billion, “the Prebate program would cost more than all budgeted spending in 2006 on the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior combined.”[8] Proponents point out that income tax deductions, tax preferences, loopholescredits, etc. under the current system was estimated at $945 billion by the Joint Committee on Taxation.[35] They argue this is $456 billion more than the FairTax “entitlement” (tax refund) would spend to cover each person’s tax expenses up to the poverty level. In addition, it was estimated for 2005 that the Internal Revenue Service was already sending out $270 billion in refund checks.[35]

Presentation of tax rate