71 stories
·
2 followers

Open Thread - Steps Down From An Ambulance Chaser

1 Share
Open Thread - Steps Down From An Ambulance Chaser

Open Thread below...


Read the whole story
geoblack
2 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete

The Captured Economy: Book Talk at U.C. Berkeley | Tu Apr 10 @ 2 PM | Blum Hall Plaza Level

1 Share

https://www.icloud.com/pages/0o9LLDvrhW-xkx2N_NL7x-hVw | 2018-04-10

HL 2018 04 10 The Captured Economy pages pdf 1 page

“The best attempt so far at a social democratic–libertarian synthesis of the origins and cure of our current political-economic ills…”—Brad DeLong

The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality

Brink Lindsey and Steve Teles

Niskanen Center: https://niskanencenter.org


"A compelling and original argument about one of the most pressing issues of our time, The Captured Economy challenges readers to break out of traditional ideological and partisan silos and confront the hidden forces that are strangling opportunity in the contemporary United States."—Matthew Yglesias http://vox.com

"Are you looking for how to get out of our current mess? The Captured Economy is perhaps the very best place to start."—Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University

"American politics is mired in endless arguments about how much downward redistribution we want and how to provide it. But as Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles point out in this engaging, powerfully argued book, the reality of our political economy often looks much more like upward redistribution. In one arena after another, public policy enriches the already rich and advantages the already advantaged."—Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs

"Steven Teles and Brink Lindsey ask one of the most important questions of our times: What are the political reforms we need to reduce the ability of the wealthy to maintain their capture of our government? Combining the analytic forces of liberalism and libertarianism, they provide a much-needed investigation into why the U.S. government works on behalf of the powerful and the steps we can take to address rising inequality and regressive regulation so that it instead acts in the public interest."—Heather Boushey, Democratic Economic Policy Director, 2016

Available at Powell’s: https://tinyurl.com/dl20180402a

Available at Google Books: https://tinyurl.com/dl20180402b

Takeaways:

  • Today: a stagnating economy and sky-high inequality
  • Breakdowns in democratic governance: wealthy special interests capture the policymaking process
  • Regressive regulations that redistribute wealth and income up the economic scale
  • Stifling entrepreneurship and innovation
  • New regulatory barriers shield the powerful from competition inflating their incomes extravagantly:
    1. Subsidies for finance’s excessive risk taking
    2. Overprotection of copyrights and patents
    3. Favoritism toward incumbents through occupational licensing schemes
    4. The NIMBY-led escalation of land use controls that drive up rents for everyone else.
  • Needed: improve democratic deliberation to open pathways for meaningful change

Synopsis

For years, America has been plagued by slow economic growth and increasing inequality. Yet economists have long taught that there is a tradeoff between equity and efficiency-that is, between making a bigger pie and dividing it more fairly. That is why our current predicament is so puzzling: today, we are faced with both a stagnating economy and sky-high inequality.

In The Captured Economy , Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles identify a common factor behind these twin ills: breakdowns in democratic governance that allow wealthy special interests to capture the policymaking process for their own benefit. They document the proliferation of regressive regulations that redistribute wealth and income up the economic scale while stifling entrepreneurship and innovation. When the state entrenches privilege by subverting market competition, the tradeoff between equity and efficiency no longer holds.

Over the past four decades, new regulatory barriers have worked to shield the powerful from the rigors of competition, thereby inflating their incomes-sometimes to an extravagant degree. Lindsey and Teles detail four of the most important cases: subsidies for the financial sector's excessive risk taking, overprotection of copyrights and patents, favoritism toward incumbent businesses through occupational licensing schemes, and the NIMBY-led escalation of land use controls that drive up rents for everyone else.

Freeing the economy from regressive regulatory capture will be difficult. Lindsey and Teles are realistic about the chances for reform, but they offer a set of promising strategies to improve democratic deliberation and open pathways for meaningful policy change. An original and counterintuitive interpretation of the forces driving inequality and stagnation, The Captured Economy will be necessary reading for anyone concerned about America's mounting economic problems and the social tensions they are sparking.

Blum Center logo square pdf 1 page

Read the whole story
geoblack
22 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete

Quick Takes: Score Another One for the Parkland Students

1 Share

* I’m not totally sure why, but David Hogg seems to be a favorite target for right wingers wanting to attack the Parkland students. Yesterday Laura Ingraham joined the chorus.

David shot back with this:

Today, Ingraham’s advertisers started jumping ship.

Four of the companies, TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Nestle and Nutrish, said Thursday they would pull their ads. A fifth, Expedia, said it had recently pulled its advertising but declined to say when.

Then came this…too little, too late.

Notice that she apologized for “any hurt or upset” her words caused, not for saying them in the first place.

On the other hand, here’s David:

Kinda makes you wonder who’s the adult and who’s the teenager, doesn’t it?

* Personally, I’ve been skeptical that a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea will ever really happen. The backpedals are being put in place.

“Certainly, the rhetoric has calmed down just a little bit, would you say?” Trump said of North Korea. “We’ll see how it all turns out. Maybe it will be good. Maybe it won’t. If it’s no good, we’re walking. And if it’s good, we will embrace it.”

* I’m not confident this will do much good, but it is great to see the professionals speaking up.

More than 200 former U.S. ambassadors and veteran diplomats have signed a letter expressing alarm over the slide in U.S. leadership in the world and urging senators to grill Mike Pompeo about his plans to reverse the corrosion of the State Department if he is confirmed as secretary of state.

The letter is addressed to the Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is expected to hold confirmation hearings for Pompeo next month. The CIA director has been tapped to replace Rex Tillerson, who was unceremoniously fired by President Trump two weeks ago.

* It is way too early to start talking about a challenger to face McConnell in 2020. But liberal sports radio host Matt Jones could sure stir things up in Kentucky.

Jones is a liberal populist—an outspoken champion of worker’s rights, a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-wrestling NASCAR enthusiast—looking to recapture the Trump vote from Republicans in a state the president won by nearly 30 points in 2016. Jones does have one big thing going for him—sky-high name recognition, thanks to his radio show, one of the most popular local sports shows in the country. Democratic insiders in Kentucky believe he might be uniquely qualified to take on McConnell…

Defining Jones’ political identity is a slippery task—even for those in Kentucky who listen to him every day. When pressed, he identifies as a “Southern populist progressive,” wary of using the term “liberal” in his home state. He is a proponent of Obamacare and marijuana legalization, generally an advocate of free trade and lowering the corporate tax, bullish on union rights and a vocal opponent of corporate welfare. These stances almost universally find root not in party allegiance but in the effect on Kentucky’s working class, a mooring so deep that Jones says he would vote against his personal beliefs in the Senate—on coal, for instance—if he felt it was in the best interest of his constituents.

* I can only dream of being able to write like James Wolcott.

This is strictly, sketchily anecdotal, so don’t strap me to the wall and drill for data, but listening to fellow liberal neurotic Democrats over the last year, I detect a sense of abandonment. Of Obandonment, to be more precise. Obama, Obama, where art thou? The Bat Signal scours the city night in vain for thee. Think of it, treasure the memory: A president who didn’t brag about himself. Who made it about “we,” not “me.” Who could lankily stride around the Oval Office without getting winded. Occupying the White House for eight years, Barack and Michelle Obama conducted themselves beautifully and irreproachably, elevating the national tone, embracing the once excluded, and leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue radiating an afterglow rare for presidents and first mates, second terms usually being brutal and humbling. Their afterglow persists, giving their absence a keener pang, but the halo effect they left on governance, integrity, and diversity was turned into a bent hubcap on Week One of the Trump presidency; it’s been Satyricon ever since under a chief executive whom political consultant, analyst, and Never Trumper Rick Wilson has crowned our “Kentucky Fried Nero.” The contrast between the recent Then and the nonstop Now is painful, poignant, and demoralizing . . . one stabbing reminder after another of what we have lost.

* Finally, when we talk about common sense gun reforms, this would certainly fit right in.

Read the whole story
geoblack
26 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete

Grant Compliance Auditor / Senior / Prin... - County of Napa, CA - Napa, CA

1 Share
Senior Grant Compliance Auditor. The Napa Valley's strategic location, natural and cultural resources, history of responsible land use planning and attractive... $33.94 - $49.95 an hour
From County of Napa, CA - Sun, 18 Mar 2018 08:27:08 GMT - View all Napa, CA jobs
Read the whole story
geoblack
36 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete

Quick Takes: ‘This is All You Need Today’

1 Share

There are days when the news is uninspiring or so terrible that you simply need a break. Today is an interesting combination of both for me. It’s true that some big things happened, like Gary Cohn resigning as Trump’s top economic adviser. But does that really change much of anything? I don’t know.

On the other hand, we’ve had a steady stream of stories about pressure building up from the Mueller investigation while Trump and his cronies seem to lose a little bit more of their minds on a daily basis. I need a break from all of that. You with me?

Instead of rounding up news today, how about a “feel good” story? Last week I noted the picture of this little girl being awe-struck at Michelle Obama’s portrait at the National Portrait Gallery.

Here’s the story:

Parker Curry, age 2, was not being cooperative.

Standing in front of the new painting of former first lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery, Parker ignored her mother’s pleas to turn around for a photo.

“All I wanted was just one pic,” Parker’s mother, Jessica Curry, said Sunday. “She was just so fixated on the portrait and wouldn’t turn away from it.”

Curry, a lifelong District resident, was so fixated on her daughter being fixated on the portrait that she didn’t see a man to the side taking a cellphone photo of the moment — Parker in utter awe, her mouth agape.

It turns out that another visitor to the gallery that day, Ben Hines, took the photo and last weekend it went viral after he posted it on Facebook. Apparently someone tweeted: “I needed to cry over something beautiful ­instead of crying over frustrating news.” Now THAT’S what I’m talking about.

But the story doesn’t end there. Today Parker had a visitor.

Of course they danced.

Here’s what Joy Reid had to say about all of this on Instagram today:

This is all you need today. A little girl gets to meet the first lady who awed her in an iconic museum portrait that she believed was of a Queen. @michelleobama making the time and creating a moment that will stay with this little princess forever. Amazing.

She is 100% right. That is all you need today.

Read the whole story
geoblack
49 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete

Steve Wynn, Republican finance chair and Las Vegas mogul, accused of sexually abusing employees

1 Share

Dozens of Wynn’s employees alleged what amounts to decades of sexual abuse in a new Wall Street Journal report.

Republican finance chair and Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn engaged in decades of sexual misconduct with his employees, according to a new bombshell report by Alexandra Berzon, Chris Kirkham, Elizabeth Bernstein, and Kate O’Keeffe in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reached out to more than 150 people who have worked for Wynn, who is the chair and chief executive of Wynn Resorts and was involved in the construction of major Las Vegas properties such as the Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore casinos. The publication heard back from dozens of people that Wynn repeatedly sexually harassed employees and pressured them to perform sex acts.

One woman said that Wynn forced her to have sex in 2005:

After she gave Mr. Wynn a manicure, she said, he pressured her to take her clothes off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite, according to people she gave the account to. The manicurist said she told Mr. Wynn she didn’t want to have sex and was married, but he persisted in his demands that she do so, and ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex, the people remember her saying.

Others told stories of Wynn making sexual advances. Some said that during massage sessions, Wynn would remove a towel to expose his penis and ask massage therapists to touch him. One of these women said she complied, terrified of losing her job.

The Journal explained that on top of potentially losing their jobs, workers worried that upsetting Wynn would ruin their career prospects in other parts of the industry, where Wynn is powerful. They were also physically intimidated in some cases, such as when Wynn would make the requests in a small office space with one or more of his German shepherds present.

The abuse was apparently well-known among Wynn’s employees — to the point that some took steps to protect one another. The Journal reported: “Former employees said they sometimes entered fake appointments in the books to help other female workers get around a request for services in Mr. Wynn’s office or arranged for others to pose as assistants so they wouldn’t be alone with him. They told of female employees hiding in the bathroom or back rooms when they learned he was on the way to the salon.”

Wynn denied the allegations in a written statement to the Journal, saying that “[t]he idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.” He added, “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation.”

Wynn blamed the allegations on his ex-wife Elaine Wynn, “with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.”

The Wall Street Journal said it reached out to employees on its own and did not speak to Wynn’s ex-wife. Her attorney said the claim that she instigated the article “is just not true.”

Wynn has donated millions to Republicans

President Donald Trump and Wynn have had a rocky past. According to Bloomberg, Trump, who also owns properties in Las Vegas, previously called Wynn a “scumbag,” while Wynn said Trump was “all hat, no cattle.”

But the two seem to have made up. In a photo posted on Instagram in 2013, Trump posed with Wynn, with the caption, “With terrific Steve Wynn at dinner last night.”

With terrific Steve Wynn at dinner last night.

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

Trump, of course, has faced his own allegations of sexual harassment and assault, with more than a dozen women coming forward with allegations against him.

One reason the two made up may be all the money that Wynn has contributed to Trump’s current political party over the years. Wynn has given millions to Republicans and their dark money groups, although he claimed he voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and had given to Democratic candidates and groups in the past.

In 2017, Wynn was named the Republican National Committee’s finance chair. Wynn said that Trump personally asked him to take the job.

Trump is reportedly pleased to have Wynn “working to maintain the record level of organizational strength that helped to produce overwhelming success for the Republican Party last November,” Lindsay Walters, deputy White House press secretary, said at the time, according to Bloomberg. “As a steadfast supporter of Republican candidates, and an incredibly successful businessman, Mr. Wynn has already contributed greatly to improving the lives of Americans, and President Trump knows he will excel in this new role, advancing conservative solutions across the country.”

The sexual assault allegations come in the middle of a reckoning that began with allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, leading to hundreds of women coming forward with their own allegations against dozens of powerful and high-profile men.

Weinstein himself was a major supporter of Democrats. When the allegations against Weinstein first surfaced, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, “If the DNC truly stands up for women like they say they do, then returning Weinstein’s dirty money should be a no-brainer.” It remains to be seen whether she — or the rest of her party — will make a similar call for Wynn.

Read the whole story
geoblack
88 days ago
reply
Walnut Creek, California
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories