Harm through the market 2022

Big pharma and GOP allies aim to sabotage Medicare drug price reforms Jake Johnson Common Dreams January 1, 2022
“All the contributions they make and all their lobbying money gives them a lot of power,” Democratic Rep. Peter Welch said of the pharmaceutical industry.

The shameful open secret behind Southwest’s failure Zeynep Tufekci New York Times December 31, 2022 (opinion)

Wells Fargo to pay $3.7 billion over consumer banking violations Emily Flitter New York Times December 20, 2022
Wells Fargo’s yearslong mistreatment of its customers has resulted in another record-breaking fine.  Wells Fargo did not record customer payments on home and auto loans properly, wrongfully repossessed some borrowers’ cars and homes and charged overdraft fees even when customers had enough money to cover purchases they made with their bank cards.

Boeing highjacked by shareholders and execs! Marie Christine Duggan Dollars & Sense August 2021
How Boeing workers are battling against perverse corporate incentives, and what their story tells us about our financialized economy.

How a sprawling hospital chain ignited its own staffing crisis Rebecca Robbins, Katie Thomas and Jessica Silver-Greenberg New York Times December 15, 2022
Ascension, one of the country’s largest health systems, spent years cutting jobs, leaving it flat-footed when the pandemic hit.

Corruption: The most perpetrated –and least prosecuted– crime – Part I Baher Kamal Inter Press Service December 6, 2022

Defaults loom as poor countries face an economic storm  Alan Rappeport New York Times December 3, 2022
Debt-relief efforts are stalling as developing economies are being hit by higher interest rates, a strong dollar and slowing global growth.

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar: Geopolitics, money and double standards Peter Schwarz WSWS.org November 25, 2022

Open veins of Africa bleeding heavily Ndongo Samba Sylla and Jomo Kwame Sundaram Inter Press Service November 22, 2022 (Opinion)
Capital flight – involving looted resources laundered via foreign banks – has been bleeding the continent. According to the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, the continent was losing over $50 billion annually. This was mainly due to ‘trade mis-invoicing’ – under-invoicing exports and over-invoicing imports – and fraudulent commercial arrangements.

Can we trust corporate media outlets to report on the laws set to govern them? Steve Macek and Andy Lee Roth Truthout November 28, 2022
This fall, the Senate judiciary committee approved legislation that would exempt the nation’s largest news outlets from some antitrust restrictions, allowing major news outlets to collectively negotiate payments from social media companies — such as Google and Facebook — that link to and profit from the outlets’ news reporting. Instead of “preserving” journalism, as the bill’s name suggests, the legislation will primarily benefit large corporate news conglomerates, and will do little, if anything, to preserve or promote public-interest journalism.

Major strike looms as largest rail union in US rejects White House-brokered contract Jake Johnson Common Dreams November 21, 2022
“It’s about attendance policies, sick time, fatigue, and the lack of family time,” said one union official. “A lot of these things that cannot be seen but are felt by our membership. It’s destroying their livelihoods.”

Farmland values hit record highs, pricing out farmers  Linda Qiu New York Times November 13, 2022
Small farmers are now going up against deep-pocketed investors, including private equity firms and real estate developers.

As workers flee China’s largest iPhone factory, activists say Apple is to blame Liu Xiang and Ruo Yan, Labor Notes/Truthout November 13, 2022 (Opinion)

Trouble brewing in $24 trillion U.S, Treasury market Nick Beams WSWS.org October 24, 2022

Despite record profits, rail companies reject union’s demand for paid sick leave Julia Conley Common Dreams October 21, 2022
Paid sick leave “has become a norm in this society,” said one labor organizer—one that rail carriers “can very easily afford.”

IMF points to growing dangers in key area of financial system Nick Beams WSWS.org October 10, 2022
The operation of open-ended investment funds (OEFs) allow investors daily redemptions of their investments while the funds invest in long-term illiquid assets that cannot be turned quickly into cash.

The rise of dark web design: how sites manipulate you into clicking Daniel Fitton theconversation.com September 29, 2022
‘Cookie banners’ are just one example of how web designers exploit our psychology for commercial gain.

More evidence emerges about how unskilled contract labor may have contributed to deadly fire at BP Husky refinery in Ohio Jerry White WSWS.org October 11, 2022

‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How insurers exploited Medicare for billions Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz New York Times October 8, 2022
By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud.

Bitcoin could rival beef or crude oil in environmental impact Margaret Osborne Smithsonian Magazine October 3, 2020
Carbon emissions from mining one coin increased 126-fold from 2016 to 2021, a new study finds.

How public real estate investment trusts extract wealth from nursing homes and hospitals Rosemary Batt and Eileen Appelbaum Institute for New Economic Thinking August 1, 2022

As the Great Salt Lake dries Up, Utah faces an ‘environmental nuclear bomb’ Christopher Flavelle New York Times June 7, 2022
Climate change and rapid population growth are shrinking the lake, creating a bowl of toxic dust that could poison the air around Salt Lake City.

18 photos that prove the products we buy are slowly shrinking, yet we’re still paying the same price Shelby Heinrich Buzzfeed July 20, 2022

Let’s rebuild the US microchip industry – not give it a $50bn-plus check Bernie Sanders The Guardian July 14, 2022 (Opinion)
If private companies are going to benefit from taxpayer subsidies, the financial gains made by these companies must be shared with the American people.

The Dollar System in a Multi-Polar World James K. Galbraith Institute for New Economic Thinking May 5, 2022

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals Harry Davies, Simon Goodley, Felicity Lawrence, Paul Lewis and Lisa O’Carroll The Guardian July 11, 2022

Prices, Profits, and Power: An Analysis of 2021 Firm-Level Markups Mike Konczal and Niko Lusiani Roosevelt Institute June 2022 (Download of a 12 page PDF file)
How to understand and respond to inflation has become one of the central debates of this economic recovery. This research brief is the first to explore the size and distribution of markups (essentially the difference between sales and marginal costs) and profit margins across 3,698 firms operating in the US in 2021…. The evidence of this unusually and suddenly high jump in markups fits all three of the main explanatory stories of inflation being debated—namely those related to changes in demand, supply, and market power. First, we see broad markup increases across many types and sizes of firms, suggesting a demand side of the story. Second, the data points to a historically unique movement of markups between industries in 2021, suggesting a supply story. Lastly, we find that, adjusting for size, pre-pandemic markups are a strong predictor of the increase in markups during 2021, suggesting a role for market power as an explanatory driver of inflation.

Ten ways billionaires avoid taxes on an epic scale Paul Kiel ProPublica June 24, 2022
After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires.

She lost her house to the rising sea. Nowhere else feels like home. Danielle Paquette and Borso Tall Washington Post June 5, 2022
Senegal faces a hurdle in moving people from the encroaching sea: Yearning for a community derailed.

Overworked and underpaid. Many people work more than full time, but few earn extra money anymore. Marcus Baram Capital & Main May 10, 2022
This is the first article of a four-part series examining the 40-year effort by big business and elected officials to deny Americans extra pay for extra work.

The Ransom: How a French bank captured Haiti Matt Apuzzo, Constant Méheut, Selam Gebrekidan and Catherine Porter New York Times May 20, 2022
It helped finance the Eiffel Tower as it drained millions from Haiti. The bank, C.I.C., won’t talk about it, but The Times tracked how much its investors made — and what Haiti lost.

The root of Haiti’s misery: Reparations to enslavers Catherine Porter, Constant Méheut, Matt Apuzzo and Selam Gebrekidan New York Times May 20, 2022

The Ransom: Invade Haiti, Wall Street urged. The U.S. obliged. Selam Gebrekidan, Matt Apuzzo, Catherine Porter and Constant Méheut New York Times May 20, 2022
The long occupation of Haiti began with a drumbeat from the bank that became Citigroup,decades of diplomatic correspondence and other records show.

Meat industry hyped ‘baseless’ shortage to keep plants open amid covid Taylor Telford Washington Post May 12, 2022
A House panel alleges that Tyson and other meat processors heavily influenced Trump’s executive order that compelled plants to keep operating. Internal industry documents showed that “despite awareness of the high risks of coronavirus spread in their plants, meatpacking companies engaged in a concerted effort with Trump Administration political officials to insulate themselves from coronavirus-related oversight, to force workers to continue working in dangerous conditions, and to shield themselves from legal liability for any resulting worker illness or death,” the report states.

Devouring the rainforest  Terrence McCoy and Júlia Ledur Washington Post April 29, 2022
The pattern is clear: First, the forest is razed. Then the cows are moved in.

Intuit will refund $141 million to Low-income TurboTax users Christine Chung New York Times May 4, 2022
In a settlement, the software company admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to repay fees it had charged millions of Americans for returns that the authorities said were falsely advertised as free.

Bank of America will pay $10 million for improperly garnishing customer accounts Emily Flitter New York Times May 4, 2022
The bank let creditors take funds from customers’ accounts even when state laws should have barred them from doing so. And it charged those customers fees for the operation.

We’re in the midst of a White-collar crime wave Malcom Harris The Nation April 21, 2022 Financial malfeasance has never been more rampant, or more under-punished.

The DOJ failed on pandemic fraud Ankush Khardori Politico April 22, 2022 (Opinion)
And it may be too late now to crack down on the worst offenders.

Katie Porter leads letter urging Biden not to dump more money Into Medicare Advantage Jake Johnson Common Dreams April 22, 2022
“Private contractors, through Medicare Advantage plans, game the system and bill patients as sicker than they are to rake in billions of taxpayer dollars,” the California Democrat said.

The Defense of Nature: Resisting the financialization of the Earth John Bellamy Foster Monthly Review April 1, 2022

Illegal fishing is pushing ocean ecosystems toward collapse Steve Trent Truthout April 6, 2022 (opinion)

Starbucks union campaign pushes on, with at least 16 stores now organized Noam Scheiber New York Times April 8, 2022. Since the union secured its first two victories in elections that concluded in December, workers at more than 175 other stores across at least 25 states have filed for union elections, out of roughly 9,000 corporate-owned stores in the United States.

Starbucks firings deemed illegal by labor board officials Josh Eidelson Bloomberg April 8, 2022

Testimony before the House Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth for a hearing on the impact of corporate power on workers and consumers Heidi Shierholtz Economic Policy Institute April 6, 2022
Unions improve job quality and provide protection to workers from the negative effects of market concentration and other forms of uncompetitive labor markets. Unions used to be vital for providing a counterbalance to weak competition and employer power. But as union coverage has eroded in recent decades, that important check on employer power has greatly diminished.

Almost 2 million people die from work-related causes each year WHO/ILO September 17, 2021 Work-related diseases and injuries were responsible for the deaths of 1.9 million people in 2016, according to the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report. The majority of work-related deaths were due to respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

U.S. corporate profits, CEO pay surged in 2021 while inflation slashed real wages Shannon Jones World Socialist Website April 1, 2022

Investors are buying mobile home parks. Residents are paying a price. Sophie Kasakove New York Times March 27, 2020
Across the country, corporate landlords are expanding manufactured housing portfolios and driving up rents, pushing longtime residents out.

We can thank the Wobblies for the biggest labor story of the year–organizing Starbucks Malcolm Harris Nation March 17, 2022
The radical tactics of the IWW are better suited to the bleak US jobs landscape than those of mainstream trade unions.

Starbucks’s multimillion-dollar anti-union effort may have backfired John Logan Truthout March 10, 2022

Amazon is less able to recover from droughts and logging, study finds Henry Fountain New York Times March 7, 2022
The region is nearing a threshold beyond which its forests may be replaced by grasslands, with huge repercussions for biodiversity and climate change.

Our climate solutions are failing – and Big Oil’s fingerprints are all over them Amy Westervelt The Guardian March 7, 2022
For the first time, a IPCC report has acknowledged the role of misinformation. But it still doesn’t name the culprits.

Vast leak exposes how Credit Suisse served strongmen and spies  Jesse Drucker and Ben Hubbard New York Times February 20, 2022
Leaked data on more than 18,000 accounts shows that the Swiss bank missed or ignored red flags. See the Organized Crime and Corruption website for related stories.

‘Wake-Up Call’: NOAA predicts one-foot sea-level rise by 2050 Kenny Stancil Common Dreams February 15, 2022
“This decade we’re in right now is one of the most consequential decades for our climate future,” said one scientist.

Starbucks fires Memphis workers involved in unionization efforts Noam Scheiber New York Times February 8, 2022
A company spokesman said the workers had violated several policies. The union organizing stores accused Starbucks of retaliation.

See the true cost of your cheap chicken Lucy King, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel New York Times February 10 2022
Enter a chicken farm and see how your cheap dinner strips the dignity of both the chicken and the farmer.

Meet the people getting paid to kill our planet Kirk Semple, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel New York Times February 1, 2022
American agriculture is ravaging the air, soil and water. But a powerful lobby has cleverly concealed its damage.

The capital sponge Lynn Alden January 16, 2022
A look at the self-reinforcing cycle that stuffed excess global capital into the US stock market over the past 40 years,  including the petrodollar system where, in exchange for OPEC countries selling oil only for dollars, the U.S. would provide military protection, arms deals, and other benefits to Saudi Arabia.

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