14 Sep 2014

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt, Private Equity at Work: When Wall Street Manages Main Street

A couple weeks ago, Burger King announced a merger with the Canadian coffee-and-donuts chain Tim Hortons. Well, not actually Burger King, but 3G Capital, the private equity firm that owns a 70% stake in the fast food chain. This was 3G Capital’s second big deal in recent months, having also purchased the venerable H.J. Heinz ketchup company. And to secure the deal, 3G Capital paid a substantial amount in shares to Scout Capital Management and Highfields Capital Management, who were buying up Tim Hortons stock in preparation their own private equity takeover.

Nothing about this is unusual. As researchers Eileen Applebaum (Center for Economics and Policy Research) and Rosemary Batt (Cornell University) explain in their important book Private Equity at Work, 2,797 private equity firms in the United States have investments in 17,744 companies, directly impacting the employment of 7.5 million workers, according to the latest statistics. They are highly focused in retail, food service, health care and really wherever money can be plucked.

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26 Mar 2014

Late Night: There Is a Deeper Wave Than This

If there was ever a moment to put survival and well-being ahead of politeness and obedience, this is that moment. The weather is right. The climate is right. The experience is fresh, but the participants rested. April 4th is opening day.

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21 Dec 2013

The War on Marriage on Christmas

Very rarely does our government ask us what to have a war on. The proposal for missile strikes into Syria was a rare occasion when public pressure and other factors compelled Congress to demand a say. Public pressure then compelled Congress to say No.

But daily drone buzzings over various nations aren’t occasions for public debate. We aren’t being asked about another decade in Afghanistan or cooking up a future war on Iran. And our current president and his predecessor combined have wiped out eight wedding parties.

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12 May 2013

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gar Alperovitz, What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

In What Then Must We Do?, political economy professor Gar Alperovitz slowly and deliberately nudges readers off the traditional course of political activism assumed to bring about progressive change – elections, legislative fights, protest actions, firing the twin engines of grassroots Democratic groups and organized labor – arguing that these methods have failed. He finds readers at that moment of despair, when the best efforts we’ve known to create the space for change have failed. Indeed, he doesn’t believe that these efforts can reverse what is now a decades-long march of structural economic, environmental and political decline. “Absent major national shocks,” he writes, “the capacity for fundamental political change is limited in the American context.”

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12 May 2013

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gar Alperovitz, What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

In What Then Must We Do, political economy professor Gar Alperovitz slowly and deliberately nudges readers off the traditional course of political activism assumed to bring about progressive change – elections, legislative fights, protest actions, firing the twin engines of grassroots Democratic groups and organized labor – arguing that these methods have failed. He finds readers at that moment of despair, when the best efforts we’ve known to create the space for change have failed. Indeed, he doesn’t believe that these efforts can reverse what is now a decades-long march of structural economic, environmental and political decline. “Absent major national shocks,” he writes, “the capacity for fundamental political change is limited in the American context.”

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21 Dec 2012

The Fiscal Slope Exposes Deficit Scolds as Cowards

Let’s just stipulate something for the record. If the Congressional Budget Office were asked to step in and score John Boehner’s “Plan B,” it would score as an increase to the deficit by about $4.9 trillion over ten yeas. If CBO scored the Obama plan, it would score as an increase to the deficit by about $4.1 trillion over ten years. That’s because current law dictates that America goes over the cliff and stays there. It doesn’t contemplate any changes to the law. And if America went over this cliff, the resulting austerity would be so great that it would swing the economy into recession. It would also virtually wipe out the long-term deficit gap, even while it would probably increase it a bit in the near term, because of increases in automatic stabilizers. But over the long-term, the deficit would essentially be wiped out.

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21 Dec 2012

Acknowledgements

It is with a heavy heart that I wrap up these eight-plus years of writing things on the Internet. The concurrence between my last day and the end of the Mayan calendar, by the way, is purely coincidental; I do think there will be news after today, and most likely people covering it (anyway, the whole world-ending thing is a great big misunderstanding, I guess). Anyway, there are a lot of people who deserve to be mentioned.

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21 Dec 2012

Acknowledgements

It is with a heavy heart that I wrap up these eight-plus years of writing things on the Internet. The concurrence between my last day and the end of the Mayan calendar, by the way, is purely coincidental; I do think there will be news after today, and most likely

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21 Dec 2012

Morgan Stanley Banker Who Stabbed Cab Driver Fired by Firm

I was racking my brain for one final story that sums up this era in politics, the state of our world circa 2012, and I have to give it to this one from a few days ago. William Bryan Jennings, whose parents obviously hoped for a Progressive populist reformer as

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21 Dec 2012

Judge Strikes Down Constitutional Challenge to the Filibuster

If there’s going to be reform to the Senate’s rules, it’s going to have to come from the Senate itself. That’s the implication of a ruling in federal court today throwing out a Constitutional challenge to the filibuster. Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the plaintiffs in the case, who claimed

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