The OB Media Rundown for 4/1/12

BPD says it’s ready for Occupy A1 protest

“We are aware of the event and we will be monitoring it closely and have sufficient police resources available to address any concerns,” Boston police Officer Nicole Grant told the Herald last night.

“Obviously, people have the right to protest, and Occupy has been orchestrating protests and marches for months now without incident,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “But we’ll certainly monitor the situation.”

6 Ways to Get Ready for the May 1st General Strike

[2] Spread the Word On Social Media: Follow #M1GS, @OWSMayDay, @OccupyWallSt, and @OccupyGenStrike on Twitter. Also be sure to RSVP on Facebook and follow You can also look for city-specific events, like these from Chicago and Detroit.

All Parties Ignore the One Way to Reduce Health Care Costs: Single-Payer

Both parties studiously avoid the one health-reform solution that – unlike computers – would actually save money while sparing patients: single-payer, nonprofit national health insurance.

Research shows that single-payer reform could save about $380 billion annually that’s currently wasted on insurers’ overhead and the unnecessary paperwork (and screen-work) they inflict on hospitals, doctors and patients. That’s enough money to fully cover the uninsured and eliminate copayments and deductibles for the rest of us.

In the early 1990s, studies by the CBO and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) arrived at similar conclusions. Their basic findings still hold. And, of course, the experience of other developed nations has demonstrated this proposition in practice.

But taking this path would mean taking on the big insurers, drug companies and medical-equipment manufacturers. It’s been much easier for politicians to toss some money to computer vendors and pretend that that will fix health care’s cost problem.

Student Loans For Kindergarten, High School On The Rise

The tuitions are “outrageous,” said Dana Haddad, a private admissions consultant, in an interview with the New York Times. “People don’t want to put a price tag on their children’s future, so they are willing to pay more than many of them can afford.”

Republicans Block Bill to End $24 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies to Oil Industry

It’s interesting that for every penny we pay extra in gas – the oil industry makes an additional $200 million per quarter in profits.  That’s MIND BOGGLING.  And the Republican party wants you to believe that oil prices are high because of our President despite the fact that domestic oil production is at a 12 year high.

Marx at 193

I think he didn’t use the word ‘capitalism’ because that would have implied that capitalism was one of a number of competing possible systems – and Marx didn’t believe that. He didn’t think it was possible to move past capitalism without a fundamental overturning of the existing social, political and philosophical order.

He was right: no alternative has developed. Economics as a discipline has in effect become the study of capitalism. The two are taken as the same subject. If there were ever going to be a serious and sustained theoretical challenge to the hegemony of capitalism inside economics – a serious and sustained challenge subsequent to the one provided by what used to be called ‘actually existing socialisms’ – you’d have thought one would have come along since the near terminal meltdown of the global economic system in 2008. But all we’ve seen are suggestions for ameliorative tweaking of the existing system to make it a little less risky. We have at the moment this monstrous hybrid, state capitalism – a term which used to be a favourite of the Socialist Workers Party in describing the Soviet Union, and which only a few weeks ago was on the cover of the Economist to describe the current economic condition of most of the world. This is a parody of economic order, in which the general public bears all the risks and the financial sector takes all the rewards – an extraordinarily pure form of what used to be called ‘socialism for the rich’. But ‘socialism for the rich’ was supposed to be a joke. The truth is that it is now genuinely the way the global economy is working.

The financial system in its current condition poses an existential threat to Western democracy far exceeding any terrorist threat. No democracy has ever been destabilised by terrorism, but if the cashpoints stopped giving out money, it would be an event on a scale that would put the currently constituted democratic states at risk of collapse. And yet governments act as if there is very little they can do about it. They have the legal power to conscript us and send us to war, but they can’t address any fundamentals of the economic order. So it looks very much as if Marx’s omission of the word ‘capitalism’, because he foresaw no alternative within the existing social order, was an instance of his crystal ball functioning with particularly high resolution.

The Horrors of an Ayn Rand World: Why We Must Fight for America’s Soul

An Objectivist America would be a dark age of unhindered free enterprise, far more primitive and Darwinian than anything seen before. Objectivists know this. What perhaps they do not always appreciate, given their less than fanatical approach to reality, is what turning back the clock would mean. Or perhaps they do not care.
. . .

In an Objectivist world, the reset button would be pushed on government services that we take for granted. They would not be cut back, not reduced — they would vanish. In an Objectivist world, roads would go unplowed in the snows of winter, and bridges would fall as the government withdrew from the business of maintaining them — unless some private citizen would find it in his rational self-interest to voluntarily take up the slack by scraping off the rust and replacing frayed cables. Public parks and land, from the tiniest vest-pocket patch of green to vast expanses of the West, would be sold off to the newly liberated megacorporations. Airplane traffic would be grounded unless a profit-making capitalist found it in his own selfish interests to fund the air traffic control system. If it could be made profitable, fine. If not, tough luck. The market had spoken. The Coast Guard would stay in port while storm- tossed mariners drown lustily as they did in days of yore. Fires would rage in the remnants of silent forests, vegetation and wildlife no longer protected by rangers and coercive environmental laws, swept clean of timber, their streams polluted in a rational, self-interested manner by bold, imaginative entrepreneurs.

Grim Housing Data Shows We Have Not Hit Bottom

A new string of grim housing data confirms what economists and analysts have long predicted: the housing market has yet to hit bottom, and once it does, it will be a long slog back to health and stability.

The nation’s heap of completed foreclosures remained steep, barely budging to 65,000 in February compared to 66,000 one year earlier, according to new data released by CoreLogic Thursday.  The percentage of American homeowners more than 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payments, including those in foreclosure, rose to 7.3 percent in February compared to 7.2 percent a month earlier. However, the rate is still lower than the 7.8 percent of delinquent homeowners logged in February 2011.

Occupy spurs talk of financial overhaul

Evidence that Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has reshaped the discourse in the national financial sector is ample, as working groups continue to organize events to recreate a new kind of banking system.

Most executive directors at major financial services firms say that OWS has made a mark on their businesses, according to a study conducted by a financial services research firm Echo Research and Makovsky.

Influential establishment financiers are organizing meetings and conferences with the purpose of discussing future and current regulatory reform and to address new resolution structures that can be implemented.

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