Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist

Apparently, Astorino’s jobs plan is to allow fracking, which will then require a lot of people to clean up the environmental disaster resulting from it. Oh, and cutting government spending, which will reduce the number of government employees. Wait, what?

Well, so much for the skills mismatch story.

Any business that isn’t legally organized something like the B corporations described in the story, “a for-profit company whose articles of incorporation require it to take into account the interests of workers, the community, and the environment, as well as shareholders,” that claim to have a conscience or whatever are lying as a marketing plan. If their corporate charter says that the officers are responsible to shareholders for maximizing profit, then that’s all they’re going to be doing. Who wouldn’t in that position?

Interesting point about Hobby Lobby: it’s about power, not economics or religion. This is not unrelated to the report I linked to earlier on the capture of the political process by capital.

shocking, I know.

If you haven’t heard of or read this report yet, do. It is shocking and yet, not surprising to me, since I and many others have been saying this for years. Here’s a summary:
“The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a “non-significant, near-zero level.” The analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.”
In other words, what we have is not one person, one vote, but one dollar one vote. The best government money can buy. For itself.

Long story short, job openings have finally recovered their levels of SEVEN YEARS ago, but hiring is still 7.5% below 2007 levels. A big part of the story may be employers avoiding hiring the long-term unemployed (of which there are MANY). Another factor may be that the openings are in places that workers with the required skills are not.

Where have I heard this story before?
“The contracts were intended to protect the electricity producers, utilities and industries that need to buy power… . But Wall Street banks and other investors have stepped in, siphoning off much of the money.”
Financial deregulation makes this kind of predatory finance possible. Financial derivatives of the kind described in the article can be very helpful for providing insurance in markets for things like electricity that suffer from uneven and unpredictable demand. But if you allow anyone to participate in the market, rather than just, in this case, electric utilities, the benefit of the derivatives (like insurance really), get captured by banks and the cost gets passed on to electricity consumers.

This is the flipside of the story on the pensions and the Highway Trust Fund. The low interest rates are making it hard for public pension systems to keep up with their future obligations.