(1) Wall Street Real Estate Buying Spree: You heard it from us first in our March/April cover story by Darwin BondGraham, Whose Housing Recovery? (Ok, other outlets had reported on it, but not as critically and thoroughly as Darwin did.) Now that there is more of a media buzz about the jump in housing prices, we’re hearing more about Wall Street investors buying up foreclosed homes and what might be problematic about that. The New York Times had a Dealbook piece that made the cover of Monday’s paper, Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers. And from Reuters (via Fiscal Times), Can Cash-Rich Investors Keep Snapping Up Homes? And a little earlier, in late April, from WashPo (via Fiscal TImes), Buying a Home? Better Get to it before Wall Street Does. And more detailed and critical analysis from Naked Capitalism, questioning whether big-money investors are up for being landlords: So Who Is the Dumb Money Ruining the Rental Housing Market?
(2) Doubling Poverty: Yesterday I posted a longer version of Jeannette Wicks-Lim’s piece from our current issue, Undercounting the Poor. Jeannette looks at the Census Bureau’s relatively new Supplemental Poverty Measure, which does a better job of capturing how many of us in the United States are poor than the official poverty line does, but the SPM is still inadequate. With her analysis, Jeannette is able to double the percentage of people in the United States who are poor. (Jeez, thanks a lot, Jeannette! Just kidding.) You can see and hear Jeannette talking about her research and findings on the Real News Network’s interview with her: Actual US Poverty Twice Official Figure.
(3) Après moi, le déluge: Speaking of TRNN: I have been meaning for a while to post/link to the excellent interview Paul Jay did with German economist Heiner Flassbeck, Après moi le déluge: Make Money Now, To Hell With Tomorrow. It’s part of a series of interviews with Flassbeck covering dysfunctions of savings and investment, misfunctioning of the labor and financial markets, and the idea that taxing corporate profits will force investment. Worth watching. We will cover many of these issues in our July/August issue, in an interview with Bob Pollin, UMass-Amherst economist, D&S author, and part of the team that took down Rogaine & Braveheart, uh, I mean Rogoff & Reinhart. We’ll ask him about that too.
(4) Marjolein van der Veen and Naomi Klein: We have been heavily promoting our lead feature in the current issue, Greece and the Crisis of Europe: Which Way Out? What I admire most about that piece is that Marjo makes a point of talking about options out of the Greek debt crisis and the eurozone crisis that are to the left of Keynesianism and are more worker-friendly. An original piece at Common Dreams by staff writer Andrea Germanos entitled Naomi Klein: ‘Anti-Shock Doctrines’ Show the Way to Resist quotes extensively from Marjo’s discussion of the worker takeover of the Vio.me factory in Greece, to illustrate Klein’s point that people need to see that there are viable alternatives to austerity.
(5) Jerry Friedman on Single Payer in North Carolina: Nice piece quoting D&S columnist Jerry Friedman in the Charlotte (N.C.) Business Journal, Economist: NC could save $18.7B by adopting single-payer for health care.
(6) Sasha Breger on Finance and Agriculure: Sasha Breger, who is writing a piece on agricultural derivatives for our July/August issue, has a series going on Naked Capitalism on big finance and agriculture, including How Big Finance Is Eating the World’s
Lunch Agricultural Wealth.
(7) George Packer on Silicon Valley: I keep meaning to link to George Packer’s New Yorker article from a couple of weeks ago about inequality and the tech industry and Silicon Valley and politics, Change the World. (Sorry, it looks like it’s behind a paywall.) It covers some of the same issues that Rebecca Solnit did in this piece in the London Review of Books, which I blogged about here. It has an extensive quote from my former student Sam Lessin, who is now a bigshot, I gather, at Facebook; Packer is critical of Sam’s defense of the role of high tech in the economy, but it’s not the most ridiculous view from the industry Packer reports on. Anyhow, maybe the full text will become available soon. Some people I know (hi, Allen!) are not ready to forgive Packer for his influential support of the Iraq war–I had actually forgotten, but they have a point, especially the parts of the article where Packer seems to be casting aspersions on people’s moral character.
That’s it for now. I am en route (via Amtrak!) to NYC for Left Forum. I hope to see many D&S readers and blog readers there.