Harm through the market 2020

Risky loans secure private-equity payouts despite downturn. Companies borrow heavily to send cash to owners, boosting debt levels Brian Spegele and Laura Cooper Wall Street Journal December 17, 2020

Monopolies: Silent spreaders of poverty and economic inequality James A. Schmitz Jr. and David Fettig Promarket August 14, 2020

‘That loss of privacy Is the monopoly price’ Janine Jackson Fair December 24, 2020
CounterSpin interview with Mitch Stoltz on breaking up Google.

U.S., states sue Facebook as an illegal monopoly, setting stage for potential breakup Tony Romm Washington Post December 9, 2020

Uber and Lyft Drivers in California will remain contractors Kate Conger New York Times November 4, 2020
The victory of Proposition 22, the most expensive initiative in the state’s history, could help gig companies remake labor laws throughout the country.

The code: How genetic science helped expose a secret coronavirus outbreak Sarah Kaplan, Desmond Butler, Juliet Eilperin, Chris Mooney and Luis Velarde Washington Post September 24, 2020
It wasn’t until their colleagues began to disappear that workers at Agri Star Meat and Poultry in Postville, Iowa realized there was a killer in their midst

Long-concealed records show Trump’s chronic losses and years of tax avoidance Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire New York Times September 27, 2020

Virus’s unseen hot zone: The American farm Laura Reiley and Beth Reinhard Washington Post September 24, 2020
Across the country, fruit growers blocked testing of seasonal farmworkers and told those who caught the coronavirus to keep it quiet. County and state officials were largely unable to stop them.

Harvard’s Chetty finds economic carnage among lower-income workers Ben Steverman Bloomberg Businessweek September 24, 2020
By April, the bottom quarter of wage earners, those making less than $27,000 a year, had lost almost 11 million jobs, more than three times the number lost by the top quarter, which earn more than $60,000 annually. By late June the gap had widened further.

TurboTax and H&R Block used “unfair and abusive practices,” state regulator finds Justin Elliot ProPublica July 15, 2020
Last year alone, more than 14 million Americans paid around $1 billion to Intuit and other companies for tax prep that they should have gotten for free, according to a Treasury inspector general report.

Family farmers and farmworkers face the virus: how food sovereignty activists see the crisis as a pivotal moment for change David Bacon Food First June 11, 2020

With ‘systemic violations’ of worker rights, US comes in dead last in labor rankings of wealthy nations Julia Conley Common Dreams June 18, 2020
The U.S. was identified as a country where “the government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers, putting fundamental rights under threat.”

Emails reveal chaos as meatpacking companies fought health agencies over COVID-19 outbreaks in their plants Michael Grabell, Claire Perlman and Bernice Yeung ProPublica June 12, 2020

Farmworkers are dying, COVID-19 cases are spiking, and the food system is in peril Seth Holmes Salon May 31, 2020
Agricultural workers in one Florida town have what may be one of the highest coronavirus infection rates.

Former OSHA officials voice alarm as Trump tells corporations they don’t have to record coronavirus cases among their workers Jake Johnson Common Dreams April 12, 2020

J. Crew files for bankruptcy in virus’s first big retail casualty Vanessa Friedman, Sapna Maheshwari and Michael J. de la Merced New York Times May 3, 2020
J. Crew was carrying a debt burden of $1.7 billion based on a leveraged buyout in 2011 by two private equity firms — TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners — even before the coronavirus brought clothing sales to a near-halt in its 181 stores, 140 Madewells and 170 outlets.

Stop Wall Street Looting Act: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren Eileen Appelbaum Counterpunch July 26, 2019

How private equity firms squeeze hospital patients for profits Sheelah Kolhatkar New Yorker April 9, 2020

America can afford a world class health care system. Why don’t we have one? Anne Case and Angus Deaton New York Times April 14, 2020
Our system takes from the poor and working class to generate wealth for the already wealthy.

Trump calls new fuel economy rule a boon. Some experts see steep costs. Coral Davenport New York Times March 31, 2020

Airlines are now asking for a giant bailout from the government due to the coronavirus pandemic shrinking air traffic.  The opinion below describes how American Airlines did not put money aside for a rainy day. Despite earning billions of dollars (for example, $7.6 billion in 2015) in large part gathered from higher fares and checked bag charges allowed by the oligopolistic structure of the airline industry, It spent $15 billion dollars on stock buybacks, accumulated a debt of $30 billion (nearly 5 times the company’s current market value),  and actually decreased its cash reserves.

Don’t feel sorry for the airlines Tim Wu New York Times March 16, 2020
Before providing them any assistance, we must demand that they change how they treat their customers and employees.

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism Anne Case and Angus Deaton Credit: Princeton University Press

How working class life is killing Americans, in charts David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson Washington Post March 4, 2020

A $60 billion housing grab by Wall Street Francesca Mari New York Times March 4, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach.

Global financial giants swear off funding an especially dirty fuel Christopher Flavelle New York Times February 12, 2020

How Private Equity Makes You Sicker Eileen Applebaum American Prospect October 7, 2019
Investment firms have created consolidated hospital empires across America, leading to closures, higher prices, and suffering.

T-Mobile and Sprint are set to merge as the big get bigger Edmund Lee New York Times February 11, 2020

How U.S. firms helped Africa’s richest women exploit her country’s wealth Michael Forsythe, Kyra Gurney, Scilla Alecci and Ben Hallman New York Times January 19, 2020

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” from which this essay is adapted.

Who killed the Knapp family? Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn New York Times January 9, 2020
Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people.

More than a third of U.S. healthcare costs go to bureaucracy Linda Carroll Reuters January 6, 2020
U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person – more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds. The original journal article may be viewed at Health Care Administrative Costs in the United States and Canada, 2017

Global Market Power Jan De Loecker and Jan Eeckhout National Bureau of Economic Research (Working Paper Series) June 2018 (16 page PDF file)
The average global markup has gone up from close to 1.1 in 1980 to around 1.6 in 2016. Markups have risen most in North America and Europe, and least in emerging economies in Latin America and Asia. The paper discusses the distributional implications of the rise in global market power for the labor share and for the profit share.

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