What To Do? What To Do?

Gross domestic product (GDP) figures released yesterday by the Commerce Department show that the US economy shrank by 0.3 percent on an annualised basis in the three months from July to September. With economists expecting even poorer GDP figures for the fourth quarter, the latest data confirms that the economy has now entered into severe recession.

Negative GDP growth for the third quarter was driven by a 3.1 percent decline in consumer spending, the first such contraction since 1991 and the largest fall recorded since 1980.

Consumer spending, partly fuelled by personal debt, has accounted for more than two-thirds of all economic activity in the last period. But mounting layoffs, home foreclosures, credit card defaults, the rising cost of living and the declining value of retirement savings have had a devastating impact on broad layers of the population. The Commerce Department reported an extraordinary 8.7 percent third quarter decline in disposable personal income—that is, income after taxes and adjusted for inflation. This is the largest fall ever recorded since figures were first kept in 1947.

Disposable income in the second quarter had increased by 11.9 percent on an annualised basis due to tax rebates from the Bush administration’s emergency economic stimulus package.

Unsurprisingly, spending has declined together with incomes. In the three months up to October, purchases of non-durable goods—smaller purchases such as food and clothing items—plunged by 6.4 percent, the biggest decline since 1950. Spending on durable goods, such as cars and furniture, declined by 14.1 percent.

Housing investment plunged 19.1 percent on an annualized basis. Also recorded in the GDP data was a decline of 1 percent in “real non-residential fixed investment,” that is, business investment in capital items including machinery, vehicles, and computers. The New York Times described this as “a worrying sign of a new, potentially pernicious phase of the downturn.”

Today In Labor History

01 November

Nation’s first general strike for 10 hour day; Philadelphia – 1835

Malbone tunnel disaster in New York City; inexperienced scab motorman crashes train during strike, 97 killed, 255 injured – 1918

400,000 soft coal miners strike for higher wages and shorter hours – 1919

United Stone & Allied Products Workers of America merge with United Steelworkers of America – 1972

http://www.biglabor.com/

Open Letter To The American Voter

Next week you, the American voter, will be asked to go to your polling place and cast your vote for a candidate for the office of president of the United States Of America. This is one of your civic duties as a member of this society. But if you go to vote for a personality instead of an ideal then you are the one wasting your vote. Personalities have put us in the position we find ourselves in the world.

I ask you to go to the websites of ALL candidates in your area, read stands of the issues, make notes and then make the decision based on who you think will best serve the country and its people. Do not labels make your decision for you. Name calling is just a lame attempt to scare you into doing something you know is not productive. This country is facing many crises and they must be handled properly by the next president, but you must decide if the candidate is capable of making needed decisions.

Yes there are others wanting to be president besides the traditional Republican and Democrat. Parties like the Libertarians, Greens, Independents all are seeking the chance to run this country. Are they capable? That is the question you must ask yourself before you cast your vote. THat is why you must be armed with information on each candidate regardless of the party affliation. If you do not then you are lazy and taking the easy way out. Because of this laziness we have had about twenty years of horrible leadership. And over 60 years of leadership that cares little of the plight of the average American, it has been about making the country a world leader in global trade and finance, all the while many Americans have been forced into stark poverty. All in the name of democracy.

Now is the time to either look to the future or glance back to the past. Your vote will move the United States into a bright future for your fellow Americans or we can just remain in the past and suffer the slings and arrows of our choice. We are facing two wars that seem to have NO end, we are in the middle of a horrible economic crisis and a crumbling infrastructure; your vote will decide where the country will go and how it will face the growing number of problems.

By all means–get out and vote! This is your ONLY chance to influence the direction of the country. Make It Count!

Those Darn Pesky Socialists–Page 2

This is a contuation of a post I started yesterday for those pee brains that are still convinced that Obama is a socialist.

Economics:


1. We demand the immediate withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and oppose the creation of a widened Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

2. We call for worker and community ownership and control of corporations within the framework of a decentralized and democratically determined economic.
3. We call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.

4. We call for a full employment policy. We support the provision of a livable guaranteed annual income.

5. We call for all financial and insurance institutions to be socially owned and operated by a democratically-controlled national banking authority, which should include credit unions, mutual insurance cooperatives, and cooperative state banks. In the meantime, we call for re-regulation of the banking and insurance industries.

6. We call for a steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum. We oppose regressive taxes such as payroll tax, sales tax, and property taxes.

7. We call for the restoration of the capital gains tax and luxury tax on a progressive, graduated scale.

8. We call for compensation to communities– and compensation, re-training, and other support service for workers– affected by plant and military base closings as stop-gap measures until we reach our goal of creating a socialist society totally separate from the global capitalist economy.

9. We oppose the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization as instruments of capitalist oppression throughout the world.

10. We demand cancellation of Third World debt.

11. We call for a National Pension Authority to hold the assets of private pension funds, and a levy against corporate assets for any pension fund deficits

12. We call for increased and expanded welfare assistance and increased and expanded unemployment compensation at 100% of a worker’s previous income or the minimum wage, whichever is higher, for the full period of unemployment or re-training, whichever is longer.

13. We support a program of massive federal investment in both urban and rural areas for infrastructure reconstruction and economic development.

14. We support tax benefits for renters equal to those for homeowners.

15. We call for the elimination of subsidies and tax breaks that benefit corporations and all other forms of corporate welfare.

Still do not see much that would convince me that Obama is a socialist. Once again when armed with facts you can dis-spell all the BS coming from the turds on the right.