In a just about perfect op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) excoriates the "investor-state tribunals" in the Trans-Pacific "Partnership" agreement. I'm beyond pleased that someone with a megaphone is willing to describe, in detail, how the tribunals would nullify our laws and force taxpayers to bail out the corporations who'd break those laws, but I can't help but wonder if she's also signaling the terms under which she'd accept a TPP (one without tribunals, for example). That would be to weep, not least because we still have "investor-state tribunals" on the books from previous "free" trade agreements.
Carl Gibson tells the story of billionaire Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who erased his state's budget deficit, created jobs, and lowered unemployment by -- surprise, surprise -- hiking taxes on high incomes and raising the minimum wage. Despite this success, right-wingers continue to say businesses will just leave states for other states whenever taxes go up, although picking up everything you've built and going somewhere else is actually quite hard, and brandishing the threat of businesses leaving is kinda like what, good folks? A hostage situation, that's what.
"Hewlett-Packard shows how to fatten shareholders while firing workers," says the Los Angeles Times's Michael Hiltzik. Which is a drama we've seen played repeatedly during this Super-Awesome Amazing Fun Time Economic Recovery, but it is a bit depressing to see the same folks -- like former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who also spent over $100 million to lose badly to Jerry Brown in the 2010 California gubernatorial race -- take over corporations and drive them into the ground, with no apparent vision (of, gosh, better products, maybe?) other than fancy corporate restructuring. Maybe they're not our "best and brightest"?
In a related item, study finds that corporations borrow money to invest in products, workers, and facilities less and less and borrow to spend on stock buybacks more and more. That's for when right-wingers tell you we have to tax corporations less so they can invest in all the things they hardly invest in anymore. Key quotation: "Finance is no longer an instrument for getting money into productive businesses, but getting money out of them."
Finally, Scott Walker tells the CPAC crowd that since he took on "100,000 protestors" over his anti-union initiatives, he can take on ISIS, too. His spokeshack later did him a big solid by saying that of course he didn't mean to equate pro-union protestors with ISIS terrorists, that he just meant that he can do the difficult things leaders need to do. Hopefully most Americans remember that the last time they voted for George W. Bush because he did the difficult things, he did the difficult things so badly that he almost destroyed our country. But given that Democrats do so little to make you vote for them, and then don't remind you of the handful of good things they do, we'll probably have to run that experiment again. I just hope we're still around to learn from it, again.