US economic crisis, but not for the rich

This video from the USA says about itself:

How the 1% Exploits America: Rob Walton, Walmart

Want to see who’s using their wealth to exploit the 99%? This series of 1-minute videos reveals the methods of the worst of the 1%.

Nearly 30,000 long-term unemployed workers in Michigan—those out of work for more than six months—had their extended benefits assistance terminated February 18: here.

3 thoughts on “US economic crisis, but not for the rich

  1. GM records its highest profit ever: $7.6 billion

    By TOM KRISHER | Associated Press – Thu, Feb 16, 2012

    DETROIT (AP) — General Motors earned its largest profit ever in 2011, two years after it nearly collapsed.

    Strong sales in the U.S. and China helped the carmaker turn a profit of $7.6 billion, beating its old record of $6.7 billion in 1997 during the pickup and SUV boom.

    GM is a vastly different company than it was back then. It’s smaller, has less debt and its contract with the United Auto Workers is less costly. But it took a $49.5 billion government bailout and bankruptcy protection in 2009 to cut its bloated costs. The company earned huge a profit even though U.S. sales of cars and trucks were near an historic low of 12.8 million.

    In 2012, GM expects to increase its revenue as global sales grow and it charges more for models.

    Its ongoing effort to cut costs and take advantage of its global presence are also paying off. In the fourth quarter, costs fell by $500 million. It saved $100 million by cutting some of the dozens of advertising agencies and media managers it uses. It also saved $100 million by centralizing engineering.

    “We will build on these results as we bring more new cars, crossovers and trucks to market,” CEO Daniel Akerson said.

    GM’s stock price rose $1.70, or 4 percent, to $26.01 in early afternoon trading.

    That’s good news for the U.S. government, which still owns 26.5 percent of the company and needs the stock price to rise significantly before it can recoup all the bailout money. The bailout and GM’s performance already are contentious issues in this year’s presidential campaign.

    Still, problems emerged for GM late last year. Its fourth-quarter profit fell 8 percent and missed Wall Street expectations. Europe and South America reported losses. And sales growth in the U.S. slowed even as more Americans bought cars and trucks.

    This year, GM expects to make less money per vehicle as the mix of sales shifts to cars from trucks, which have bigger sticker prices

    Still, last year was a big success for the company.

    Revenue rose 11 percent to $150 billion. Its per-share profit was $4.58. GM made the bulk of its income in North America, where its pretax profit totaled $7.2 billion. International Operations, which includes Asia, made $1.9 billion before taxes, but that was down.

    GM sold 9.03 million cars and trucks around the world in 2011, up 7.6 percent from the year before. That helped it reclaim the title of world’s largest automaker from Toyota Motor Corp.

    GM said 47,500 blue-collar workers in the U.S. will get $7,000 profit-sharing checks in March. The checks are based on the company’s North American performance and are a record for the company.

    The government still owns 500 million shares of GM, which it got in exchange for the $49.5 billion bailout. Through earlier stock sales and loan repayments, the government has recouped about $22.3 billion of that money. The remaining shares would have to sell for around $53 each for the government to recoup the rest.

    See also here.



    In case you missed it, the Republicans in Congress got the Democrats to agree to drug testing many applicants for unemployment compensation. In return, the Democrats got the Republicans to sign off on an extension of unemployment benefits this year, although with the number of eligible weeks shortened.

    This drug-testing requirement is a sleight of hand to imply that people who can’t find a job are responsible for their own plight and are not the victims of the economic circumstances created by Wall Street and global corporations that move jobs overseas.

    In short, the implementation of drug screening (for specified applicants) to receive unemployment funds stigmatizes less fortunate Americans by implying that if you aren’t rich and anointed, you are a drug addict, a derelict or a criminal. That is why some states are stampeding to test welfare recipients for drugs, even though it was shown to be an enormous fiasco in Florida.

    Following the logic that people who stand to receive state or federal money should be drug tested, BuzzFlash at Truthout proposes that every member of Congress should pee into a cup and be certified drug free before being allowed to assume office. They should also be subject to random drug tests while they serve in DC.

    After all, a person who loses his or her job due to lack of employment opportunities must rely on a safety network for survival. But our elected officials in DC receive generous salaries, vacations, health care and pensions – all at the taxpayers’ expense. Furthermore, they pass legislation that determines the future of this nation.

    If anyone should get drug tested, it is members of Congress, many of whom espouse political and personal viewpoints whose only origin might be explained by the use of illicit drugs.

    As for those who lose their jobs and must now undergo a drug test before receiving money to support themselves and their families, Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, laments:

    This policy is a terrible one-two punch to the gut for thousands of struggling Americans. Congress has paired a generous taxpayer subsidy for corporations that drug test with a slap in the face for those struggling to find work, feed their families and keep their homes. The American people have a right to be upset over being forced to subsidize the violation of their civil liberties, when they try to access a program that they pay for with every paycheck.

    Let John Boehner be the first to show Americans that he is drug free, and let the rest of Congress – every member of the House and Senate – be forced by law to grab the plastic cup and head for a washroom stall.

    Of course, they must be required to be accompanied by a “watcher.” We wouldn’t want any cheating involved on the part of our elected officials in the nation’s capital, would we?

    Mark Karlin
    Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout


  3. Pingback: Crisis and poverty in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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