Release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis
For all the blather we hear about how RI is such a laggard economy, growth in RI matched the national average of 1.8% in 4th quarter 2013 and exceeded that in a number of states, including a number of states that supposedly have a good business climate, and exceeding that of Massachusetts.
Another nail in the coffin of the usefulness of the business climate.
What the BEA left out though is how much of that growth ended up in the hands of the 1% versus how much of it ended up in the hands of the 99%. I am guessing that well over 90% ended up in the hands of the 1%, which essentially means there was no real growth for most of us, in RI or anywhere else.
The economic news was all over the map this week. The number of jobs created was high for the fourth month in a row, but unemployment ticked up. I guess they have not yet run through the reserve army of the unemployed. Despite the number of jobs created wages were up only $.01, one penny per hour, Inflation is low, running only 2%, which is still faster than wages are rising, so people are feeling more squeezed. The adjusted economic growth rate was 4% after the shrinkage of the winter. Most of the growth was in the hands of the 1%, obvious when you think about the 1 cent an hour raise we got on average. Then the stock market went down 2 days in a row as the “good” economic news told the brokers that interest rates will rise until inflation does. They are wondering if the Federal Reserve can do its tweaking just right, which it never does.
The back story is that poverty is up, the rent is still too damn expensive for the wages we get, the climate is getting worse, the cracks in the empire are getting bigger, resource utilization continues to outpace the capacity of the earth to provide by a greater amount each year, and biodiversity, forests, fisheries, and soil are all crashing with the great extinction of the 20th Century ready to grow exponentially in the 21st. We are told that doing anything about the pollution and deforestation that is leading to climate collapse is bad for the 1% and therefore we have to invest ever more in fossil fuels despite solar and wind creating more capacity than fossil fuels each year and creating many more jobs per kilowatt hour.
The people who develop economic policy continue to read only 1/2 of the signs, and therefore continue to miss the boat. Rather than reversing ecological collapse by healing ecosystems and actually tackling inequality in the economy and all of the viscous cycles growing inequality sets up in the economy and our communities, we are told that cutting taxes for the rich comes before kids going to school with breakfast in the bellies and that teachers who can not teach hungry kids to pass culturally irrelevant standardized tests ought to be fired. We also see that despite the hosanna’s tossed at STEM and STEAM legislatures around the country are refusing to allow kids and government agencies to study climate change or evolution.
The power of the rich to destroy this country and the planet is quite large, but the resistance is growing daily. Just ask the pipeline companies. And then ask the government officials about the reports that New England could meet all of its energy needs without them through conservation and solar. Then ask them why they support the pipelines. They will say jobs. Then remind them that clean energy will create more jobs per installed unit of capacity that gas and see what they say to that. At that point they will tell us that exporting gas around the world will reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions. You then know they have lost their minds and that the new economic plan is going to have to be very different from the 1% oriented crap they have been trying to sell us for 40 years.