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Author Archive | Rick Wolff

Rick Wolff

Economic Inequality and US Politics

Over the last twenty-five years, economic inequality in the US grew. As the gap between haves and have-nots worsened, social injustices and tensions increased. As usual, politicians in power have devised projects and campaigns designed to distract attention from these realities. Opposition politicians wonder whether they dare attack growing inequality and champion programs for less […]

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Rick Wolff

Bernanke Expectations: New Fed Chairman, Same Old, Same Old

The disconnect between Bush regime deed and American public need grows: in Iraq, in New Orleans, on global warming and off-shore oil drilling, from Social Security to selecting Supreme Court Justices, the gulf widens. The choice of Dr. Benjamin S. Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve Board Chairman follows the pattern. Just as […]

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Rick Wolff

The Political Pendulum Swings, the Alienation Deepens

FDR’s New Deal changed the tone and shape of US politics into a kind of moderate social democracy. Desperate to end the Great Depression nightmare, US voters secured FDR and the Democrats in power. The right wing, in and out of the Republican Party, dove into decline, agonized for years, slowly regrouped, and then revived. […]

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Rick Wolff

Personal Debts and US Capitalism

There is no precedent in US — or any other — history for the level of personal debt now carried by the American people. Consider the raw numbers. In 1974, Federal Reserve data show that US mortgage plus other consumer debt totaled $627 billion. By 1994, the total debt had risen to $4,206 billion, and […]

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The “Urban Renewal” Scam for New Orleans

The old “urban renewal” scam is being born again in New Orleans. A hurricane, a flood, and a botched government response have combined to make the miracle possible. One of New Orleans’ wealthy elite told Christopher Cooper of the Wall Street Journal (“Old-Line Families Escape Worst of Flood and Plot the Future,” 8 September 2005): […]

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Europe, Capitalism, and Socialism

In the Spring of 2005, workers’ votes in France and the Netherlands made the difference in defeating the draft European constitution and ending socialist party control of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. In the few weeks after those momentous events, most politicians and reporters offered one basic explanation. It tells us much more about the […]

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Dividing the Conservative Coalition

The Bush government, itself a coalition of the willing, cobbles together four different streams of conservatives. Like all coalitions, it is vulnerable to events. Patrick Buchanan, the journal National Interest, and the think tank Cato Institute, are conservatives against Bush’s Iraq policy. Similarly, the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation criticize Bush’s fiscal […]

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Farewell to Booster Dreams: A Victory in New York

Across the US, urban industries provide key funds that local politicians use to get elected. In return, mayors typically organize their city governments to tax, to provide subsidies, to allocate city services, and to dispose of city-owned land for “economic development projects.” The chief beneficiaries of these projects are usually the leading local firms and […]

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