Annual Fundraising Appeal

The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…

Ayers

The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Jump Starting the Economy

Can’t Get No Stimulation

by MARK WEISBROT

It is sad to see that the U.S. Congress is having trouble even passing just $24 billion for unemployment insurance at a time when the economy is weak and unemployment is at nearly 10 percent. This shows the power of right-wing ideology in this country: Even the simplest, smallest and most obvious steps to relieve economic misery can be held back.

It seems that the right has made headway in convincing some politicians, and a good part of the media, to take seriously their message that government spending is the problem rather than a solution for our economic ills. However, the public is far from convinced: The latest Gallup poll finds that Americans favor “additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy” by a huge margin of 60 to 38 percent.

The majority view is supported by basic economic logic. It was the collapse of private demand – consumption and investment – brought on by the bursting of an $8 trillion housing bubble that put us in this mess. Since our trade deficit is growing again, as a matter of accounting that leaves only government spending to give the economy a boost until private spending is sufficient to bring us back to full employment.

The unemployment report for May – which showed a mere 20,000 non-Census jobs created, compared with 217,000 the prior month, was a reminder that private spending is still a long way from leading this economic recovery.

The choice is simple, really: more stimulus or more unemployment. And more poverty, and more people losing their homes and health insurance.

The White House projects it will take nearly eight years – until 2018 – for unemployment to reach 5.2 percent, or what is considered full employment. This causes real long-term economic and social damage. For example, we know that children’s achievement test scores fall with family income. And the layoffs of teachers across the country will also take their toll on education.

Young workers entering the job market will face not only poor job prospects but reduced income over their working life. Since the lower-paid and least educated are hardest hit, this period of prolonged unemployment will worsen income distribution in the United States.

This misery and pain is unnecessary, since the government is capable of creating employment and increasing economic growth. Right-wing politicians argue that the last 16 months of stimulus have not worked, since unemployment remains at 9.7 percent. This is nonsense. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus has created between 1.2 and 2.8 million jobs, and private estimates – from across the political spectrum – are in the same range. The problem with the stimulus is simply that it has not been big enough – it has replaced perhaps one-tenth of the loss of private demand.

This has been more of a problem in recent months, as the cutbacks by state and local governments have actually outweighed the Federal stimulus, giving the economy a net negative contribution from government overall.

Those who think that the federal deficit and the national debt preclude a stronger stimulus should take a look at the facts. Most of the present deficit is a result of the recession, and will disappear as the economy returns to full employment. The long-term deficit problems are completely a result of our out-of-control health care costs, which are a disease of the private sector – not the government. And with inflation at two percent, the Federal Reserve can even finance stimulus spending by buying U.S. Treasury bonds.

Nothing that our government spends now to relieve suffering and restore employment will necessarily burden future generations. On the contrary, it is the failure to act that will hurt them.

MARK WEISBROT is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: the Phony Crisis.

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK