Economy

The Billionaire Bonanza Amidst the Pandemic Exposes Greed and Political Cowardice in Washington, D.C. and California

September 21, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As the bad news keeps rolling in for ordinary Americans with the pandemic dragging on with no real hope in sight for months at best, and any new economic relief stalled out in Congress with the Republican majority refusing to move on “blue state bailouts,” it is abundantly clear whose interests our leaders in Washington actually care about—not yours. Indeed, the wrecking crew in the White House and the Senate have never been more openly honest about their disdain for the well-being of the majority of Americans.

When it comes to emergency aid for the suffering, the response from the Republicans is resounding: F**** off and die.

Why should they be worried? 200,000 dead and counting? Big whoop. Their real base is doing just fine. As the Guardian reported last week, the rich have never had it better:

The already vast fortunes of America’s 643 billionaires have soared by an average of 29% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has at the same time laid waste to tens of millions of jobs around the world.

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Hey California Democrats in Sacramento! Do the Right Thing and Tax the Billionaires

June 15, 2020 by Jim Miller

California Dems Need to Avoid Catastrophic Cuts to Education and Vital Social Services

By Jim Miller

The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent economic collapse along with the national uprising against police brutality and systemic racism have cast a glaring light on the nature of American inequality on the healthcare, criminal justice, and economic fronts. It has never been clearer that as most Americans struggle, the elite thrive. As a recent Forbes piece put it back in April, “Billionaires are Getting Richer During the COVID-19 Pandemic While Most Americans Suffer”:

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, billionaire wealth has boomed, while over 26 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March. The percentage of taxes paid by billionaires has fallen 79% since 1980.

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Republicans to America: Go Back to Work and Die

April 27, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

The battle is on in earnest. Last week, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said it out loud: drop dead blue states. More specifically, McConnell took a strong stand against providing any more financial relief to devastated states and local governments in the midst of a pandemic that has caused the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Instead, the Senate leader suggested, states should just consider bankruptcy.

In a moment of remarkable candor, McConnell outlined his view on a rightwing radio show. As the New York Times reported :

“I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said in an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

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‘We Send You Our Thoughts and Prayers’

April 6, 2020 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Today there is a thin crust of magnanimity covering the stone-cold heart of the American taxpayer. In this moment of chilling necessity and shared danger, we are willing to allow our government to deliver monetary help to individuals and business owners who have been shut out of their livelihoods.

Maybe some of us will even send money to food pantries, sew masks for hospital workers, or share essentials among neighbors and extended families. Maybe we will shout our thanks from our balconies to first responders and medical personnel. We surely will pray for the nation’s rescue from the deathly grip of this pandemic, and also that enough ventilators are on hand if we are stricken.

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‘Die for the DOW’

March 25, 2020 by Staff

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Enter the Disaster Capitalists

March 23, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

We’ve seen this before: crisis as opportunity. Whether it be the ways the right-wing and corporate America took advantage of 9/11 to shape economic policy and the political landscape in their favor, the shameless opportunism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, or the host of other ways that American society has been transformed for the worse by the power elite over the last few decades.

Here we go again.

As Naomi Klein commented last week :

Look, we know this script. In 2008, the last time we had a global financial meltdown, the same kinds of bad ideas for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts carried the day, and regular people around the world paid the price. And even that was entirely predictable.

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It’s Not Time to Vote for the Rich or their Apologists, It’s Time to Tax Them

December 16, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

There’s been a wave of pushback of late against progressive calls for big structural change. Corporate media pundits and neoliberal Democrats alike have been raising the alarm that America is not ready for bold policy when it comes to economics, healthcare, the environment, or anything else.

At the heart of much of this is the contention that it’s all too expensive and the Republicans will scare suburbanites into voting for Trump with cries of socialism and high taxes. Whatever we do, the argument goes, we need to beat back Warren and Sanders so Mayor Pete, Joe Biden, or maybe even Michael Bloomberg can come in and save the day with a healthy dose of “centrism.”

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Now, Here’s a Good Article from the Channel 8 Reporter We Criticized: ‘Baby Boomers and Empty-Nesters Coming Together’

October 8, 2019 by Source

Editordude: Just to show some balance and to show a pat on the back, we are reposting a good article by Channel 8 reporter Abbie Alford who was criticized last week by one of our writers.

‘Silvernest’ matches senior citizens looking for roommates
Baby boomers and empty-nesters are coming together under one roof.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — About a million San Diegans will be 55 years or older by 2030, which is a 194% increase, says Silvernest, a home sharing site for an aging population.

Silvernest says it’s a modern Golden Girls service that primarily matches baby boomers with empty nesters.

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American Inequality is Still Surging Along, Now is the Time to Finally Address It.

October 7, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Back in June I noted in this space that despite the mainstream media chorus about our “good economy” things weren’t so great for the average American worker when –

“4 in 10 Americans couldn’t put together $400 in cash to meet an emergency expense, 6 in 10 couldn’t meet 3 months of expenses if they lost their jobs, only 36% of workers are on track with their retirement savings, and a quarter of Americans have skipped some kind of medical treatment in the past year because of finances.”

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Corporate Mea Culpas, Corrupt New Democrats, and Progressive Populists

September 9, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

This just in: our corporate overlords have turned over a new leaf. At least that’s what they were saying publicly quite recently. As the New York Times reported :

Nearly 200 chief executives, including the leaders of Apple, Pepsi and Walmart, tried on Monday to redefine the role of business in society — and how companies are perceived by an increasingly skeptical public.

Breaking with decades of long-held corporate orthodoxy, the Business Roundtable issued a statement on “the purpose of a corporation,” arguing that companies should no longer advance only the interests of shareholders. Instead, the group said, they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers.

What to make of this development? Not too much, most likely.

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Taking on 21st Century Indentured Servitude – Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez’ AB 5

June 26, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds

Drivers for Uber and Lyft gathered outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco Tuesday June 17 to demand that the company drop its opposition to a state bill that would make most drivers employees. Promises of freedom and opportunity have proven to be false for millions of workers in industries beyond ride sharing, and now the day of reckoning is at hand.

Drivers and delivery workers in cities throughout the country have been organizing protests and filing lawsuits against companies using so-called independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wages and benefits.

Legislation (AB 5) introduced by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez poses the biggest challenge yet to the so-called gig economy. Changing the rules of the game in the Golden State will have an impact on companies and workers nationwide. So this is a Big Deal.

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Strong Economy For Whom? Things Aren’t So Great for the Average American Worker

June 17, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

A lot of the talk heading into the summer has been about how, despite all of the craziness at the White House, the “economy is strong” under Trump. And while the stock market has been robust and unemployment low, there is a lot more to the story than what this superficial narrative relays.

What doesn’t get measured by the statistical snapshots that capture headlines or are repeated ad nauseum by talking heads on TV is how the economy is working for the average American at a deeper level. Thus, when one probes a little bit beneath the surface, the U.S. economy doesn’t look so hot after all. Perhaps that’s why most Americans, according to recent polling, think the economy is only really working for “those in power.”

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Will San Francisco’s Tech Bro Nightmare Become San Diego’s Future?

June 3, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Bohemian San Francisco is deader than a doornail. That was the theme of a recent Washington Post piece by Karen Heller, “How San Francisco Broke America’s Heart”, that observed how “the great American romantic city” had been ruined by an army of tech bros and the economic forces they represent. As Heller writes, “everyone agrees that something has rotted in San Francisco,” and it’s not a product of the city’s liberalism, but of a new wave of libertarian capitalism:

Real estate is the nation’s costliest. Listings read like typos, a median $1.6 million for a single-family home and $3,700 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

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Michelle Obama is Right: ‘They Aren’t That Smart’ —They’re Just Greedy

January 14, 2019 by Jim Miller

Michelle Obama caused a small stir last fall during the London leg of her book tour when she observed that her time in the highest circles of the global power elite had revealed a startling truth about our faceless masters:

“Here’s the secret: they’re not that smart. There are a lot of things that folks are doing to keep their seats because they don’t want to give up power.”

More specifically, the former First Lady observed that, “I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart.”

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Welcome to Plutocracy: Wealthiest 1% of Americans Own 40% of Country’s Wealth

January 22, 2018 by Jim Miller

Buried under all the noise of the national circus over the last month was some fairly stark economic news. Despite all the hoopla about the stock market booming along and other financial happy talk, it appears the iceberg of economic inequality is becoming an even larger threat to our collective ship.

Late last December we learned that the world’s wealthiest people got a whole lot richer in 2017. As the Washington Post reported, “The richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017, more than four times last year’s gain, as stock markets shrugged off economic, social and political divisions to reach record highs.”

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San Diego Second Worst City for Renters in Nation

March 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

According to an annual list of best and worst cities for renters by Forbes real estate research company, San Diego ranks the second worst city in the nation. Just behind Miami as the worst.

Marcus & Millichap calculated their results based on data collected from monthly rental costs in 2016, rent changes, and vacancies. Importantly the percentage of shared income that goes into paying for rent is a big factor.

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What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

March 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

It’s not easy being a small businesperson, shopkeeper, store or office owner on the commercial streets of Ocean Beach. Rents are high in this popular, sunny, beach outpost from the rest of the world.

The commercial streets, Newport Avenue, Voltaire Street and Point Loma Avenue are tough for the unwary business enterpriser who takes a gamble opening up any kind of establishment on them. That’s why small businesses are always coming and going, and why empty storefronts remain vacant for months.

The commercial streets of OB are some mean streets and here’s what’s happening on them in mid-March 2017.

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San Diego Volunteers Raise Roof Beams for Emergency, Very Affordable Housing

March 17, 2017 by Anna Daniels

Amikas Emergency Housing Expo March 15 – 26

By Anna Daniels /San Diego Free Press

The super bloom of wild flowers in the most inhospitable of places–the Anza Borrego desert– has captured the attention of San Diegans, who are flocking to get a glimpse of this short lived phenomenon.

Closer to home, an equally remarkable blossoming takes the form of the cluster of cabins that has sprung up like wild flowers at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in North Park. San Diego has been the most inhospitable of places for enacting solutions to our growing humanitarian crisis of homelessness. Volunteer activists from Amikas have stepped into the leadership vacuum, displaying what can be done to address the immediate housing needs of the most vulnerable among us.

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$20 Dollar Bill Not to Be Used for Buying Elections

March 10, 2017 by Staff

This twenty dollar bill came our way and we just had to share it.

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How San Diego’s Downtown Housing Supply Boom Is Making Rent Less Affordable

March 10, 2017 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine

Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces.

From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.

Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.

In terms of affordability, downtown is at a tipping point.

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Cities and States Prefer Public Banks To Wall Street

March 9, 2017 by John Lawrence

Public Banking

Profits Can Stay In State, Provide Local Funding

By John Lawrence

Alarmed by the corruption and greed of Wall Street, many US cities and states are studying the feasibility of establishing public banks. Public banks are owned by cities, states or other jurisdictions and serve to keep funds local instead of being deposited on Wall Street. The funds are then used to support local economic activities like small business loans and student loans.

Washington state has already cut its ties with Wells Fargo because they funded …

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News and Notes for Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early March 2017

March 7, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Newport Ave Re-Paving Begins Thursday, March 9

The long-anticipated re-paving of Newport Avenue begins Thursday, March 9th. Beginning at 8am, the work crews will re-pave the normally-busy commercial street from Abbott to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Workers will grind down the old asphalt 3 inches, and then pour in 3 inches of the fresh smelly, gooey, stinking-hot new asphalt (ever worked with it? it’s pretty bad stuff).

Gas Leak Tuesday at Sunset View Elem

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Making It Easier to Build Won’t Generate Affordable Housing

March 3, 2017 by Source

Downtown San Diego’s Experience Has Given Us Lessons

Affordable

By Murtaza Baxamusa / Rooflines, the Shelterforce blog

It is often convenient to blame city planners for the affordable housing crisis. After all, those affected have no other public forum to vent their concerns, least of all toward those who are profiting off of the crisis on a project-by-project basis. Sadly, this blame is often misguided, because planners do not produce housing.

A case study of the profit-maximizing, decision-making that is driving the affordability crisis is downtown San Diego. Construction cranes are up all over, …

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Amazon Go: The End of Jobs?

March 3, 2017 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

AmazonAmazon Go is the latest job destroyer by virtue of the fact that it is a grocery store with no check-out lines.

High tech devices will monitor every item you put in your high tech grocery basket so you just load up and go. Your credit card will be charged the correct amount. It isn’t clear if a robot will bag your groceries or if you’ll do that yourself.

This feat of automation is only the harbinger of things to come. With artificial intelligence and robots, jobs will be automated out of existence except for a few software engineers who will design the various systems.

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Midway District Has an 81-Unit Luxury Housing and Mixed Use Project Coming

March 3, 2017 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Midway District Has an 81-Unit Luxury Housing and Mixed Use Project Coming

An 81-unit luxury housing project is coming to the Midway District of Point Loma.

Called “Driftwood”, the development will be located on a 2-acre lot – which is now empty – at the corner of Kemper and Kenyon Streets and will include 3,137 square feet of retail space. It’s next to the new West City community college campus. Midway Drive is a block away from Kemper.

Accord to SDMetro:

Driftwood will consist of stacked flats within a three-story, elevator-serviced building with interior common hallways and stairwells.

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New Modular Units at Voltaire and Abbott for Rent on Airbnb Despite Owner’s Pledge

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie


When the 3 two-story modular units planed for the south-east corner of Voltaire and Abbott were approved by the OB Planning Board in early September 2014, one of the applicant-owners stated to the Board unequivocally that he planned to live in one of the units. Now that they have been built, it appears that the units – at least one of them – are listed on Airbnb – for $229 to $349 a night.

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Ocean Beach Home Hosts Sanctuary House Teach-In

March 1, 2017 by Source

sanctuary

By Dianne Lane

A couple of activists hosted a Sanctuary House Party/Teach-in at their home in Ocean Beach on Saturday, February 25th.

The impetus for the event sprang from a “Teaching Positive Alternatives to Trump Teach-In” last month in Balboa Park.

The aim is to build a San Diego network of sanctuary homes in resistance to Trump’s fascism and to corporate capitalism.

Over the next few months, a series of neighborhood house parties throughout San Diego …

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Trump’s Border Brownshirts Already Running Amok

March 1, 2017 by Doug Porter

The ‘gloves are off’ is a terrible thing to say to anybody with a gun and a badge

By Doug Porter

We’re already seeing glimpses of what ‘empowered’ agencies charged with immigration enforcement will look like in the Trump era, and it’s not a pretty sight.

What seems to be clear at this point is that some enforcement personnel in Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol (two separate agencies, both in Homeland security) aren’t even waiting for the official go-ahead.

San Diego has been lucky–thus far– …

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Alcohol Permits and a Remodel on Santa Monica – Wed. March 1st

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a few spicy items to juggle at their upcoming monthly meeting, held this Wednesday, March 1st, over at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Alcohol Permits

One of the more juicy agenda items on the agenda is a Board review of an application for a new alcohol permit for OB’s latest beer pub – which hasn’t opened yet – Little Miss Brewing Company, at 4861 Newport Ave.

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Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

February 24, 2017 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

By Not Amused in OB

Are “smart” led street lights coming to Ocean Beach to surveil you and write you a parking ticket? I heard Newport Avenue is slated to get new led lights.

The evening news on Channel 10 covered this, and it appears that our mayor, Kevin Faulconer , just rolled out on Wednesday a program of installing new street lights in San Diego and Ocean Beach. The mayor announced he’s expanding this program of putting in “smart sensors” which will be able to “gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality.”

And Kevin said that his city has partnered with a company from back east called Current which will install 3200 of these “Smartlight Sensors”, powered by GE.

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