Sunday, February 14, 2016

Scenes from the American plutonomy

Scenes from the American plutonomy



Plutonomy marches forward, as reported in the New York Times:

For many of the company’s investors, the sale will be a disaster. Its bondholders alone stand to lose more than $575 million. The company’s downfall has also devastated employees like Noble Rogers, who worked for 22 years at Simmons, most of that time at a factory outside Atlanta. He is one of 1,000 employees — more than one-quarter of the work force — laid off last year.

But Thomas H. Lee Partners of Boston has not only escaped unscathed, it has made a profit. The investment firm, which bought Simmons in 2003, has pocketed around $77 million in profit, even as the company’s fortunes have declined. THL collected hundreds of millions of dollars from the company in the form of special dividends. It also paid itself millions more in fees, first for buying the company, then for helping run it. Last year, the firm even gave itself a small raise.

Is anyone paying attention? The Daily News editorial board is:

Pathways is one of many who argue for major updating of the federal poverty guidelines. While it's shocking that four decades have passed without changing the standards, there's at least one obvious reason the government isn't in a hurry to update them; it could get very costly. And frankly, it's harder to think we're a thriving country if we have to acknowledge the full number of people who aren't.

But most journalists are NOT acknowledging that:


A study to be released Monday of financial news coverage this year found that government, Wall Street and a small handful of story lines got the bulk of the attention while much less was paid to the economic troubles of ordinary people.

The study, by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, also found that when the stock market rebounded from its lows and pitched battles in Washington ended, the news media turned their attention away from economic coverage.

I also read a lot over the weekend how the Republicans are practically hiding their giddiness over high unemployment that they see are their path to return to power. No doubt they'll gain seats in Congress in the sheer anger factor -- but aren't voters concerned that the GOP has no ideas or proposals on unemployment? Because they probably should be.

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Will Bunch
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