Climate-Related Cost-of-Living Increases Are a Harbinger of Future Crises

Climate conditions are putting upward pressure on global food prices, as people around the world chafe under levels of inflation not seen in decades. A prolonged drought this autumn is parching the Mississippi River watershed, pushing up the cost of producing key crops in the U.S. agricultural heartland. The lack of rain is not only hindering farm output, it’s also causing the Mississippi to slow to a trickle along parts of the massive waterway, which is burdening global supply chains by significantly slowing barge traffic critical to the global food system, a U.S. government report warned last week. “River levels…

Mitch McConnell’s Condemnation of Debt Relief Is Dripping With Hypocrisy

Often in this society, when a scam is exposed, one must peel it layer by layer like an onion to reveal the stinky green, tear-inducing nubbin at the core. This week’s lesson in “How We Get Screwed Everywhere We Turn” finds us confronting the sticky wicket of student loan debt, and the problem some people have with the idea that other people might get something that helps them. This is the deal as I have always been given to understand it: If you can, you excel at school. You nail the grades and the extracurriculars, assembling a dossier of achievement…

Second-Richest Man Jeff Bezos Defends Oil Industry Price-Gouging

Progressives ripped billionaire Jeff Bezos for his latest defense of corporate profiteering over the weekend in which the Amazon founder and world’s second-richest person criticized a call by President Joe Biden for oil companies to lower the price of gasoline. On Saturday, Bezos accused President Joe Biden of “misdirection” and ignorance “of basic market dynamic” in response to a tweet from the president which called on companies setting gasoline prices to “bring down the price you are charging.” While Bezos’ comment sparked a sharp response from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre — who said pump prices remaining constant despite…

Sanders Calls for Windfall Tax to Defend Economy Against Corporate Greed

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday slammed oil companies for raking in huge profits on the backs of U.S. consumers and reiterated his case for a windfall tax, a demand that came as President Joe Biden’s call for a federal gas tax holiday faced growing pushback from progressives and top officials in his own administration. “Corporate greed is destroying this economy. Right now, people all over the country are paying $5, $6 for a gallon of gas,” said Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “Meanwhile, in the first quarter of this year, oil company profits were $93 billion,…

Corporate Profits Soared to Highest Levels in 7 Decades Last Year

A new paper published Tuesday shows that U.S. corporate price markups and profits surged to their highest levels since the 1950s last year, bolstering arguments for an excess profits tax as a way to rein in sky-high inflation. Authored by Mike Konczal and Niko Lusiani of the Roosevelt Institute, the analysis finds that markups—the difference between the actual cost of a good or service and the selling price—”were both the highest level on record and the largest one-year increase” in 2021. “Markups this high mean there is room for reversing them with little economic harm and likely societal benefit,” Konczal…

Many Nations Have Used COVID to Impose the Tyranny of Transnational Capital

The following is an excerpt from the Introduction to Global Civil War: Capitalism Post-Pandemic, which has just been released by PM Press. Not far from my home in Los Angeles are about a hundred houses that have been boarded up for years. The houses were bought up by the city in the late twentieth century through eminent domain in order to make way for an extension of the 710 freeway that dead ends into my El Sereno neighborhood. But opposition from affluent communities further east eventually killed the project, leaving the houses to lay vacant. Meanwhile, there were on any…

Federal Reserve Puts Burden of Curbing Inflation on Global Working Class

On Wednesday, at the end of a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell announced a tightening of monetary policy in response to the highest U.S. inflation in 40 years. The burden of this measure will fall disproportionately on the working class, both in the U.S. and abroad. In a press release the FOMC said the current inflation rate reflected “supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher energy prices, and broader price pressures.” The Fed raised its benchmark policy rate by 0.75 percentage points, the first increase of this magnitude since 1994. This…

Unemployment Due to Voluntary Quits Falls in May Amid Strong Job Growth

The economy added 390,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment remained unchanged at 3.6 percent for the third consecutive month. The May report showed clear evidence that the labor market is normalizing with wage growth continuing to slow. The annualized rate of wage growth comparing the last three months (March, April, and May) with the prior three months (December, January, and February) was 4.3 percent, down from the 5.2 percent year-over-year increase. This is only moderately higher than the peak 3.6 percent year-over-year rate hit in February 2019. This means that if we are concerned about underlying inflation rather than…

Labor Force Participation Continues Toward Pre-Pandemic Levels

The economy added 428,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate remained flat at 3.6 percent. The unemployment rates for white workers (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.1 percent) were all virtually unchanged from the previous month. Labor Force Participation Gains Slowed, Still Approaching Pre-Pandemic Levels The overall labor force participation rate (LFPR) declined 0.2 percentage points to 62.2 percent, returning to the January 2022 level. This marks the first time since May 2021 that the LFPR has experienced a month-over-month decline. For prime age (25 to 54) workers, the LFPR is still below their…

Raising the Standard of Living for Everyone Could Offset the Pains of Inflation

Many Americans are noticing the rising price of goods from sour cream to carburetors as politicians sound the alarm on an inflation crisis. You may be wondering what single force would cause the cost of a dairy product to go up at the same time as the cost of a car part. The truth is that not all inflation is the same. Each sector has its own issues. And none of it is solved by less government funding for our safety net, as some politicians have proposed. Some of it is what we can call pandemic inflation. Because our economy…

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