In the economic news, more stumbling along the bottom. On Thursday morning, the Labor Department (not, by the way, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the main source of data in that agency, but in this case the Employment and Training Administration, another division within the Department—sorry to go all geeky on you) reported that first-time claims for unemployment insurance, filed by people who’ve just lost their jobs, rose by a sharp 36,000 last week. The Department said, however, that this rise was mostly the result of a holiday-related processing delays and not… Read More
I’m going to keep the opening comments pretty short today. Though some of you have already heard my analysis of the December employment report, the WBAI audience hasn’t. So a quick reprise of that. In a phrase: quite disappointing. It looked for a bit like the labor market might finally be turning around, but those hopes were set back, though not thoroughly dashed, by the news that employers shed 85,000 jobs last month. Some of that might have been the result of terrible weather, even by the standards of Decembers. But there… Read More
GDP of Haiti: $8.5 billion. Goldman Sachs bonus pool: $20 billion.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the transit operations in and around New York City, is facing a budget shortfall of around $400 million. There are likely to be deep cuts to subway and bus service in New York City. There is, of course, “no money” to deal with the problem. Actually, that depends on what your definition of “no” is. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who also happens to be the city’s richest resident, could comfortably write a check to solve the problem. Forbes estimates his net worth at… Read More
There’s going to be a memorial for Dennis Brutus, the South African poet and activist, at the Brecht Forum, 451 West Street, between Bank and Bethune Streets, NYC, Sunday, January 17, at 2 PM. For my interview with Brutus (a rebroadcast of a show first aired in July 2008), see my Radio archives.
It was just pointed out to me that I don’t always include audio links to the original shows on which the commentaries were delivered. They’re all here: Radio archives. I often post the file before updating that page, so for the quickest fulfillment of your radio needs, subscribe to the podcast (info on how to do that on the archives page).
Some Janus-y observations at the turns of the year and decade. I apologize for quoting a Facebook status update; it always annoys me when CNN quotes Twitter feeds as if they were news. But this is relevant, I swear. Last week, a friend and colleague of mine whom I have a lot of respect for conceded some political disappointments over the last year in his status update, but concluded that things were basically going in “our” direction. What ever was he talking about? Let’s take stock for a moment. • We’ve just been… Read More
Just a few words on the economic news today because we’re jam-packed with interview material. Iceland, whose economy collapsed when its bubble burst last year, is getting the full IMF treatment. At first, I’d wondered if a Nordic country would get some special ethnic exemption from the typical austerity program, imposed on desperate countries in exchange for loans from the Fund. It hasn’t. On the “advice” of the IMF, the country is raising its sales tax to 25.5%. Low-income taxpayers will get a break on their income taxes as partial recompense, but… Read More