Monday, May 22, 2017

Marching Backward: A Liquored-Up Economy

Isn't that what got Cosby in trouble?

"New Boston liquor license plan to target neighborhoods" by Meghan E. Irons Globe Staff  March 06, 2017

The proposed measure would also limit the number of the new licenses awarded to Back Bay and the North End. And it would grant licenses to sell beer, wine, and liquor at South Boston’s popular Lawn on D at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center as well as the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the costs of starting a venture with dinner and wine on the menu might be too much for some entrepreneurs in a neighborhood with limited nightlife. But he said the experience of other neighborhoods gives him cause for optimism.

“This is about growth in the industry, but it is also about growth in the neighborhoods,’’ Walsh said, that will give small businesses “in every corner of our city a better opportunity to grow and thrive.’’

This from the anti-pot alcoholic because he knows what toll substance abuse can take!

And then there is the city's opioid problem when it is handcuffed and facing budget cuts, and how is that poison getting into the prisons anyway?!

At least the pay is good, 'eh? Beats working at the state drug lab.

City officials said the proposed new licenses would allow the administration to continue fostering neighborhood vitality and economic development in “historically underserved neighborhoods.”

Just clear out the smoke, will ya?


Did they tell you property taxes would be going up? It's the price of progre$$.

Since when did more bars and liquor stores lead to prosperity? Poverty-stricken areas are loaded with them.

You would have to be drunk to believe this:

"There are some points of resounding agreement among Democrats, Republicans, and independents about what makes up the country’s identity. Among them: a fair judicial system and rule of law, the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, and the ability to get good jobs and achieve the American dream...."

See: No Longer Working

They used to say head West, young man:

"Young men falling to the bottom of the income ladder" by Katie Johnston Globe Staff  May 22, 2017

Over the past few decades, young women have been climbing the economic ladder. As more of them go to college and join the workforce, their incomes rise steadily.

Young men have been faring far worse.

The share of young men making between $30,000 and $100,000 a year shrank significantly over the past four decades, despite the fact that they are better educated and working full time at the same rate. Many of them have fallen to the bottom of the income scale, according to a new analysis by the US Census Bureau, and this shift is having a major impact on the rest of their lives.

The loss of blue-collar jobs, many of which are now performed by machines or by workers overseas, is forcing more men into low-wage service jobs, and in some cases causing them to drop out of the workforce altogether.

The jobs that are growing the fastest, on the other hand, are concentrated in female-dominated professions, such as health care.

Men have also fallen behind academically, and, combined with the fact that manufacturing and other lower-skilled jobs have disappeared, this has created a “riptide that is carrying so many young men out to sea economically,” said Neil Sullivan, executive director of the Boston Private Industry Council, a workforce development nonprofit.

The increasingly fractured economy is affecting workers of all ages. Wages have stagnated, while the cost of living and student debt have skyrocketed, and college graduates are taking lower-level jobs than in the past. But men are being hit particularly hard, as many of them are forced to take contract or part-time work.

“ ‘How many hours are you getting?’ I hear that all the time,” Sullivan said, noting that the falling fortunes of men could have a profound psychological impact on them. “It’s hard when society expects you to be a provider and you can’t bring home much.”

That is by de$ign. It's to ema$culate men, among other rea$ons.

Many young men — defined by the Census Bureau as ages 25 to 34 — are starting out their working lives at a distinct disadvantage, compared with previous generations. And as more of them live at home and delay marriage, young adulthood has started looking much different than it used to.

“This has an effect on their entire lives,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, who recently coauthored a report on new high school and college graduates. “Those first jobs are going to set you up for your lifetime of earnings.”

Billy Exavier, 31, makes $13 an hour working as a security guard at Best Buy in Everett and lives with his parents and little brothers in Brighton. Exavier, who moved to Boston with his family from Haiti as a teenager, dreams of becoming a police officer. He is working on earning his high school equivalency degree and is close to finishing an associate’s degree in criminal justice at Bunker Hill Community College.

Despite Exavier’s efforts to improve his life, he is not confident all will go as planned. So he’s already working on a backup plan: getting his commercial driver’s license so he can drive a school bus or a delivery truck.

“I was thinking I would be in a better place by now,” he said.

Although young women’s median income has risen, while men’s has declined, women still make less than men overall. That is despite the fact the education levels of young women are also rising.

William Chen, 26, makes $125 a day installing hardwood floors for a private contractor. He works five or six days a week during the spring and summer but had to take a job as a manager at McDonald’s to get through the winter. Chen, who lives in Malden with his girlfriend and a roommate, is trying to get a plumbing apprenticeship and wants to go back to school for “whatever I can get a career out of and make decent money.” But he’s not overly optimistic . “If I think too far ahead, I get frustrated,” he said.

Downturns tend to hit men harder, largely due to the fact that more men work in industries that suffer during recessions, such as construction and manufacturing, and the effects have lingered. 

Never you mind all the undocumented workers filling those jobs now. Globe won an award for some pieces they did about it.

Even men with college degrees are less successful than they used to be. In Boston, women who graduated from college in the past two years are finding jobs more quickly than their male counterparts, are more likely to be employed full time, and are earning higher salaries, according to a new study by the professional services company Accenture.

Who is Accenture anyway? Part of the MIC? Or working for the banks?

Women are benefiting from the fact that many of the fastest-growing jobs that pay stable middle-class wages are in industries that employ a lot of women, such as health care and professional services. Men are often reluctant to take jobs in these professions, said Harvard economics professor Lawrence Katz, and the result is a “gender divergence” between men’s expectations of fulfilling occupations and the types of jobs that are growing.

One bright spot for men between the ages of 25 and 34: more of them — nearly 8 percent — earn more than $100,000 a year, up from just more than 3 percent in 1975, as more attend college and snag high-paying jobs at financial firms and tech companies. But with the drastic rise in the number of male low-wage earners, and the steep decline of those in the middle-income bracket, the divide between the haves and the have-nots keeps growing.

No matter your race, gender, sex pref, etc. 

$ee how rule and control by a privileged elite cla$$ works?

“People from elite colleges moving to Wall Street and top law firms and to tech companies are doing perfectly fine, in fact they’re doing much better than comparable people in their parents’ generation,” Katz said. “But for the typical young man, they’re doing substantially worse economically than their father.”

That's because they are ‘‘graduating with certificates or degrees that have little or no value in the job market.’’ 


Did you $ee who is riding to your rescue??

Maybe if you spoke a second language....

You know, there is the old $aying of a dollar a day.....

"Thousands of ICE detainees say they were forced to work in violation of slavery laws" by Kristine Phillips Washington Post  March 06, 2017

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement were forced to work for $1 day, or for nothing at all, in violation of federal antislavery laws, a lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, filed in 2014 against one of the largest private prison companies in the country, has reached class-action status following a federal judge’s ruling. That means the case could involve as many as 60,000 immigrants who have been detained.

It’s the first time a class-action lawsuit accusing a private US prison company of forced labor has been allowed to move forward.

‘‘That’s obviously a big deal; it’s recognizing the possibility that a government contractor could be engaging in forced labor,’’ said Nina DiSalvo, executive director of Towards Justice, a Colorado-based nonprofit group that represents low-wage workers, including undocumented immigrants.

Was Obama even paying attention his whole term or what?

‘‘Certification of the class is perhaps the only mechanism by which these vulnerable individuals who were dispersed across the country and across the world would ever be able to vindicate their rights,’’ she said.

At the heart of the dispute is the Denver Contract Detention Facility, a 1,500-bed center in Aurora, Colo., owned and operated by GEO Group under a contract with ICE. The Florida corporation runs facilities to house immigrants who are awaiting their turn in court. The original nine plaintiffs claim that detainees are forced to work without pay and that those who refuse to do so are threatened with solitary confinement.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims, six detainees are selected at random every day and forced to clean the facility’s housing units. The lawsuit claims the practice violates the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which prohibits modern-day slavery.

GEO Group also is accused of violating Colorado’s minimum wage laws by paying detainees $1 a day instead of the state’s minimum wage of about $9 an hour. The company ‘‘unjustly enriched’’ itself through the cheap labor of detainees, the lawsuit says.

The class-action ruling came at a critical time, DiSalvo said, noting President Trump’s pledge to deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Advocates say private prison companies that have government contracts stand to benefit significantly from the president’s hard-line policy.

‘‘That means you need to round up and detain more people in order to determine whether they have the rights to stay in this country before you deport them,’’ DiSalvo said. ‘‘More people could be moving through, not just in the Aurora facility. More people could be subjected to GEO’s forced labor policy.’’

Notably, the stocks of the two biggest private prison operators, Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America), have surged since Trump’s election. The companies donated a total of $500,000 to Trump’s inaugural festivities, USA Today reported.

Since Trump took office, his administration has reversed the Obama administration’s policy to end the country’s reliance on private prisons.

Obama did that going out the door and it had not taken effect yet.

GEO Group has strongly denied the lawsuit’s allegations and argued in court records that pay of $1 a day does not violate any laws. ‘‘We intend to continue to vigorously defend our company against these claims,’’ spokesman Pablo Paez said. ‘‘The volunteer work program at immigration facilities as well as the wage rates and standards associated with the program are set by the Federal government. Our facilities, including the Aurora, Colo. Facility, are highly rated and provide high-quality services in safe, secure, and humane residential environments pursuant to the Federal Government’s national standards,’’ he said in a statement.

Jennifer D. Elzea, acting press secretary for ICE, said she couldn’t comment on the litigation because ‘‘ICE is not specifically a party in this suit.’’

Under ICE’s Voluntary Work Program, detainees sign up to work and are paid $1 a day. The nationwide program, ICE says, ‘‘provides detainees opportunities to work and earn money while confined, subject to the number of work opportunities available and within the constraints of the safety, security and good order of the facility.’’

Detainees work for up to eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, cleaning bathrooms, showers, toilets, windows, patient rooms and staff offices, waxing floors, and preparing and serving meals. ICE says detainees ‘‘shall be able to volunteer for work assignments but otherwise shall not be required to work, except to do personal housekeeping.’’

Jacqueline Stevens, who runs Northwestern University’s Deportation Research Clinic, said the program does not meet the criteria for what qualifies as volunteer work under labor laws....


There is always gambling, young man:

"Report urges military to screen for gambling problems" by Sean P. Murphy Globe Staff  March 06, 2017

Before he was confronted by his anguished wife, Bruce Kinsman was losing about $1,000 a week on the state lottery in frenetic pursuit of a jackpot. Realizing his gambling had spiraled out of control, he quit completely a decade ago and began attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

Thanks for kicking in to the coffers because this state is so mismanaged financially they need your help.

Today, Kinsman, 67, traces his compulsive gambling, an addiction that ravaged his life for decades, to his military service in Vietnam, when he said he “caught the bug” playing high-stakes poker to help relieve the stress and boredom of war.

It’s a struggle shared by many veterans, specialists say, and the problem is drawing attention, nationally and in Massachusetts. 

Or attention is now being brought to it anyway.

A new report by the General Accounting Office recommends that the military begin screening service members for potential gambling problems, and “We’re very concerned about [it],” said Stephen Crosby, chairman of the state’s Gaming Commission....

So concerned they want to get it online.


Related: "Gambling is supposed to be ‘‘illegal’’ in Florida, but really isn’t...."

Maybe you can start your own business, 'eh?

How would you like a hot dog for lunch (sorry, no bicarbonate for you)?

I'd start forward again but the T is $tuck.


There was no late train home (they don't even know how many were in the car?), and maybe the vet should have tried fanta$y $ports instead.

"A father-daughter pair were arrested after they attacked an off-duty MBTA Transit Police officer on Friday, officials said. The officer was riding an outbound Orange Line train that pulled into the Community College stop about 11:45 a.m. when he noticed a disturbance in another car, Transit Police said in a statement. David and Madison Muse, 48 and 22, respectively, were removed from the train by another MBTA official, Transit Police said. “We don’t know exactly what led them to be removed. There was some kind of disturbance, and we’re still looking into exactly what happened,” Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said. Madison Muse began to walk up and down the platform, screaming racial slurs and expletives, Sullivan said. “[The officer] got off the train and began to record what she was doing so we could follow up on it later,” Sullivan said. “When she noticed, she attacked.” Both suspects joined in attacking the officer while continuing to curse and yell slurs, Sullivan said...."

"Tourist areas fear a worker shortage under visa rules" by Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  March 07, 2017

Every spring, thousands of workers from Jamaica, the Philippines, and Mexico flood into New England, providing the backbone of the region’s summer economy. They wash dishes in clam shacks on the Cape, clean hotel rooms in Bar Harbor, Maine, and mow lawns from Rhode Island to New Hampshire.

But changes to the seasonal worker visa program, a logjam in the federal approval process, and the Trump administration’s sharp rhetoric about immigration have business owners across the region worried that they won’t be able to hire enough workers.

The seasonal worker program, called H-2B, has received far less attention in recent weeks than President Trump’s attempt to temporarily ban travelers from seven majority Muslim countries and his executive order expanding deportations of undocumented immigrants. The president also has called for changes to the skilled worker visa program, called H-1B, that supplies engineers and computer programmers to startups and tech firms from Silicon Valley to Kendall Square.

Seasonal businesses fear that the H-2B program for unskilled laborers could be next, even though the Trump Organization uses such workers at the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., and the Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York.

While the Obama administration put tighter controls on the H-2B program, businesses worry that the political environment is turning more hostile under Trump. The uncertainty is exacerbated by changes to the program last year. Following criticism from union leaders and immigration foes that the program was simply a way for employers to import low-wage workers — rather than hiring Americans at a living wage — the Department of Labor implemented changes. Before employers can hire H-2B visa workers, they must now demonstrate that they aggressively recruited US workers first and are paying seasonal foreign workers the prevailing wage in the region for that job....


I been hearing the same crock-o-sh** for five years now.

Time to milk the cows.

"Wall Street has found its next big short in US credit market" by Rachel Evans Bloomberg News  March 14, 2017

NEW YORK — Wall Street speculators are zeroing in on the next US credit crisis: the mall.

It’s no secret many mall complexes have been struggling for years as Americans do more of their shopping online. Now they’re catching the eye of hedge-fund types who think some may soon buckle under their debts, much as many homeowners did nearly a decade ago.

Like the run-up to the housing debacle, a small but growing group of firms are positioning to profit from a collapse that could spur a wave of defaults. Their target: securities backed not by subprime mortgages, but by loans taken out by beleaguered mall and shopping center operators. With bad news piling up for anchor chains like Macy’s and J.C. Penney, bearish bets against commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) are growing.

And remember, this is in a good economy (or so we are told).

In recent weeks, firms such as Alder Hill Management — an outfit started by protégés of hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper — have ramped up wagers against the bonds, which have held up far better than the shares of beaten-down retailers.

Nobody is suggesting there’s a bubble brewing in retail-backed mortgages that is anywhere as big as subprime home loans, or that the scope of the potential fallout is comparable. The bearish bets are just a tiny fraction of the $365 billion CMBS market and there’s no guarantee the positions, which can be costly to maintain, will pay off any time soon. Many malls may continue to limp along, earning just enough from tenants to pay their loans, but more and more, bears are convinced the inevitable death of retail will lead to big losses as defaults start piling up.

The trade itself is similar to those that Michael Burry and Steve Eisman made against the housing market before the financial crisis, made famous by the book and movie ‘‘The Big Short.’’