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[OP-ED]: The curse of middle-aged capitalism -- for Trump and all of us

 08/21/2017 - 13:57
In 1995, the largest five firms by market “capitalization” (the value of a company’s shares) were old-line businesses: Exxon, AT&T, Coca Cola, General Electric and Merck. By 2015, only Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) remained.

 A persisting puzzle about the U.S. economy is how it can seem both strong and weak. On the one hand, it remains a citadel of innovation, producing new companies like Uber. On the other, the economy is expanding at a snail’s pace of 2 percent annually since 2010. How could both be true? Why isn’t innovation translating into faster growth? The answer -- or part of the answer -- is that American businesses are running on two separate tracks. Call them the “youthful” and “middle-aged” tracks.

[OP-ED]: El gran debate de Trump sobre el crecimiento económico

 08/15/2017 - 10:01
No hay suficiente dinero para satisfacer todas nuestras demandas, incluso a tasas más altas de crecimiento económico. Habrá conflictos entre gastos privados y gubernamentales; entre gastos nacionales y locales; entre gastos de salud y gastos de no-salud; y entre gastos dedicados a los ancianos versus los jóvenes. El presente es polémico; el futuro quizás sea peor.

La discusión entre el gobierno de Trump y sus críticos sobre una tasa de crecimiento económico sostenible suscita profundas preguntas sobre el futuro de Estados Unidos. ¿Ingresamos en un período prolongado de crecimiento económico lento? Si es así, ¿cómo altera eso la sociedad y la política? ¿O acaso las medidas “correctas” elevarán el crecimiento económico a niveles del pasado?

Rock and Roll and Resistance: A Conversation with Alejandro Escovedo

 08/11/2017 - 12:25
Alejandro Escovedo for Burn Something Beautiful by Nancy Rankin Escovedo 

Mexican-American musician and activist Alejandro Escovedo elucidates on his immigrant roots, his take on the government, his brush with death, and how the stories he feels compelled to compose transcend the genre of rock and roll. Escovedo will be strumming alongside Texan legend Joe Ely at Ardmore Music Hall on August 19th, 2017.

[OP-ED]: Trump’s great growth debate

 08/09/2017 - 08:58
There isn’t enough money to satisfy all our demands, even at higher rates of economic growth. There will be conflicts between private and governmental spending; between national and local spending; between health spending and non-health spending; and between spending on the old versus the young. The present is contentious; the future may be worse.

The argument between the Trump administration and its critics over a sustainable rate of economic growth raises profound questions about America’s future. Have we entered a prolonged period of slow growth? If so, how does that alter society and politics? Or will the “right” policies raise growth to past levels? 

If you haven’t paid attention, here’s a brief overview of the debate.

[OP-ED]: Trump is but the latest politician to serenade Youngstown

 08/04/2017 - 08:03
It’s no surprise that Trump returned to the familiar theme of demonizing Latino immigrants. The surprise is that he chose to do it in Youngstown of all places -- a city with a minuscule immigrant population, located in a state where the Latino population is just 3.7 percent. EFE

Youngstown again? As an avid spectator of politics, I’ve been hearing about that city in the Mahoning Valley of northeast Ohio for decades. Although it’s home to just 64,000 people, Youngstown gets more than its share of attention from politicians, media, filmmakers, and even a poetic singer/songwriter from Freehold, New Jersey.

[OP-ED]: Donald Trump’s lost opportunity

 07/26/2017 - 09:12
Donald Trump could have quickly begun reshaping American politics. He heard voices that others didn’t, understood what those people wanted to hear and articulated much of it. But when it came time to deliver, it turned out that he had no serious ideas, policies, nor even the desire to search for them. EFE

There are many ways to evaluate the Trump presidency at the six-month mark. What I am struck by is the path not taken, the lost opportunity. Donald Trump had many flaws, but during the campaign, he tapped into a real set of problems facing America and a deep frustration with the existing political system. Additionally, he embraced and expressed -- somewhat inconsistently -- a populism that went beyond the traditional left-right divide. What would things look like at this point if President Trump had governed in the manner of a pragmatic, jobs-oriented reformer who was relentlessly focused on the “forgotten” Americans of whom he often speaks?

[OP-ED]: Deficits forever?

 07/20/2017 - 12:15
The federal budget remains badly out of whack, even though we are near or at “full employment” (June unemployment rate: 4.4 percent). We cannot afford tax cuts; we need tax increases.

House Republicans, who are now deliberating the government’s 2018 budget, pledge to eliminate deficits within a decade. Well, good luck with that. It must be obvious that chronic deficits reflect a basic political impasse that can be broken only if majorities in Congress do things they’ve refused to do: trim Social Security benefits; raise taxes significantly; control health spending. There is a giant mismatch between what Americans want from government and what they’ll pay for with taxes.

[OP-ED]: Why robots won’t steal all our jobs

 07/14/2017 - 08:43
En un mundo ideal, los robots realizarían la mayoría de los trabajos repetitivos y monótonos, mientras que la fuerza de trabajo mejor educada y mejor paga se concentraría en trabajos que no pueden ser realizados por máquinas. Archivo

Don’t worry, the robots won’t destroy all our jobs. History suggests just the opposite -- that new technologies inspire new jobs. So concludes a study from leading labor economists. It’s a useful antidote to widespread fears that robots and “artificial intelligence” will displace millions of workers and lead to permanently high joblessness.

Republican health plan is a death sentence for US Latinos, Democrats say.

 06/29/2017 - 03:51
Spectators listen as US Democratic Senator from New Jersey Bob Menendez delivers remarks at a press conference in opposition to the Senate Republican health care bill on the US Capitol grounds in Washington, DC, USA, 28 June 2017. EPA/SHAWN THEW

The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that under the bill drafted by Republican senators, roughly 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026.  That number includes some 6 million Latinos, 1 million of them children, according to La Raza.

Plain Text Author: 
EFE

Republican divisions force postponement of healthcare bill vote

 06/28/2017 - 05:27
Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell (R) turns away from the microphones beside Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn (L) after speaking to members of the news media outside the West Wing of the White House following a meeting to discuss healthcare legislation with Senate Republicans and US President Donald J. Trump, in Washington, DC, USA, 27 June 2017. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

 US Senate Republicans on Tuesday found themselves forced - due to internal divisions - to postpone a vote on the controversial bill designed to replace former President Barack Obama"s healthcare reform, a bill that could leave more than 20 million Americans without medical coverage.

Plain Text Author: 
EFE