Category Archives: Banking & Lending Issues

Lame-Duck Dems Must Lift Debt Limit, Advocates Say as GOP Doubles Down on Social Security Threats

“Democrats must do whatever it takes to defeat Republican attacks on our earned Social Security benefits,” said one advocate. “That means raising the debt ceiling this year, before Republicans take control of the House.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 11-30-2022 by Common Dreams

#StoptheShutdown Press Conference with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer in 2019. Photo: AFGE/flickr/CC

Progressives on Wednesday warned that time is running out for Democratic leaders to take Republicans at their word regarding slashes to social safety net programs, as U.S. Sen. John Thune indicated the GOP will use a potential fight over the debt ceiling next year as leverage to push cuts—unless the Democrats act now to raise the debt limit while they still control the Senate and House.

Thune (R-S.D.), who is the number-two Republican in the Senate as the chamber’s minority whip, told Bloomberg Tuesday that the party has a “long list” of policy priorities for the next Congress, which will commence on January 3. The party plans to put forward budget reforms including to federal programs which they have long claimed, erroneously, are unsustainable. Continue reading

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How the global energy crisis is pressuring countries at the UN climate summit – while some race to renewables, others plan more natural gas production

Europe’s natural gas prices have risen dramatically in 2022.
Privetik/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

Robert Brecha, University of Dayton

Russia’s war on Ukraine has cast a shadow over this year’s United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where officials from around the world are discussing the costs of climate change and how to cut emissions that remain near record highs.

The war has dramatically disrupted energy markets the world over, leaving many countries vulnerable to price spikes amid supply shortages. Continue reading

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

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US Unemployment System ‘Wholly Unprepared’ as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

“If another wave of job losses does indeed hit, the unemployment safety net isn’t ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements,” warns the co-author of a new study.

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-1-2022 by Common Dreams

People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading

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‘Cancel the Debt’: Climate Protests Disrupt World Bank Summit

“The Global South must urgently adapt to the climate emergency so that it can protect its people from a crisis they did nothing to cause,” said Extinction Rebellion. “But it can’t do this while it remains heavily indebted.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: CODEPINK/Twitter

A week of direct action targeting the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group continued in Washington, D.C. on Thursday as protesters interrupted regularly scheduled summit business to demand the financial institutions cancel Global South debt and stop fueling the climate crisis now.

Members of Glasgow Actions Team and other groups drowned out a Thursday afternoon press conference by leaders from Group of 20 nations by shouting, banging makeshift drums, blowing airhorns and vuvuzelas, and generally rousing a racket. Continue reading

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1 in 3 of World’s Poorest Countries Spend More on Debt Repayments Than Education

“There is clearly a moral imperative for the world to act now to ensure that all children are in school and learning,” says a new report from Save the Children. “But there is also an economic imperative.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-11-2022 by Common Dreams

School kids in northern Zimbabwe, Africa. Photo: Trey Ratcliff/flickr/CC

A report published this week by Save the Children revealed that 1 in 3 of the world’s poorest nations spend more on paying off debt to wealthy countries and investors than on educating its own children.

The U.K.-based charity’s report—entitled Fixing a Broken System: Transforming Education Financing—shows that 21 out of 70 low- and lower-middle-income countries with available data spent more on external debt repayment than on education in 2020. According to the publication, interest payments are expected to account for an average of 10% of the annual budget in this category of countries by 2024, up from 7% in 2015. Continue reading

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Sinema Received Over $500K From Private Equity Before Shielding Industry From Tax Hikes

“Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?” asked one critic. “Today it’s just lobbying as usual.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 8-8-2022 by Common Dreams

A mobile billboard criticizing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is seen in Washington, D.C. on August 7, 2022. (Photo: Patriotic Millionaires)

Senate Democrats passed a pared-backed reconciliation package on Sunday, but only after a pair of widely supported provisions that would have made it harder for Wall Street tycoons to reduce their tax bills were removed at the behest of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—the right-wing Arizona Democrat who has taken more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from private equity executives during the current election cycle.

“Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?” Brown University political economist Mark Blyth asked on social media. “Today it’s just lobbying as usual.” Continue reading

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“Rejecting ‘Business as Usual’ While Planet Burns, Students Vow to Occupy Schools Worldwide

“We can’t keep pretending everything is all right, studying as if the planet wasn’t on fire.”

By Julia Conley  Published 7-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Global Climate Strike – London on 3-15-2019. Photo: Garry Knight/flickr/Public Domain

Students from around the world announced Tuesday their intention to “disrupt business as usual” at their universities and schools this fall, pressuring administrators and policymakers to ramp up efforts to combat the climate crisis by holding occupations and refusing to attend classes as normal.

Dozens of students and student groups co-signed an op-ed published by The Guardian, promising that their new campaign, “End Fossil: Occupy!” will include young people from across the globe demanding “the end of the fossil economy.” Continue reading

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Global Climate Movement Warns Nations Have Just 6 Months to End Fossil Fuel Finance

“The pandemic has shown that governments can rapidly mobilize massive sums of public money,” says one campaigner. “This is the moment to do it, and accelerate the transition.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Clean energy advocates march in an anti-fossil fuel protest in San Francisco. (Photo: Greenbelt Alliance/flickr/cc)

More than 120 civil society groups from around the world on Thursday warned that nations have only six months left to meet a collective commitment made at last year’s United Nations Climate Conference to end public financing of fossil fuels.

The organizations detailed steps nations must take as soon as possible to comply with their obligations under the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, a product of last year’s COP26 summit. Continue reading

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