One of the lesser known facts about free trade agreements (FTAs) between the United States and other nations is that they open the door for foreign corporations and manufacturers to bid on big government projects and services. A Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)—an FTA with the U.S. and eight Pacific Rim nations that is being negotiated now—could throw those doors open even further.
The Center for American Progress, Campus Progress and the USAction Education Fund released new reports today that detail what an increase in the interest rate on Stafford student loans would mean for several states.
If Congress doesn’t act, the interest rate on these loans will double—from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent—on July 1.
It’s not technically hard to put millions of unemployed workers back on the job—the real challenge is political, says Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. Even returning the public-sector jobs that have been slashed at the state and local levels could lower the unemployment rate to nearly 7 percent or under, he said.
Krugman spoke this week at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and on a variety of media outlets around the nation to promote his new book, End This Depression Now! In short, says Krugman:
Nine years since U.S. troops entered Iraq to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein, work and life in Iraq are—to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes—nasty, brutish and hard.
Iraq is a resource-rich country, yet workers hardly earn enough to feed their families. Economic revival has been slow and sporadic, and working Iraqis are seeing little in the way of progress after the long occupation and withdrawal.
Job growth in April rose by 115,000, above the 100,000 needed to keep up with new job entrants. The unemployment rate improved a tad, from 8.2 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April, as did the number of jobless, which declined from 12.7 million in March to 12.5 million in April, according to U.S. Department of Labor data released this morning. Some 14.5 million workers remain unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work.
Thursday was sine die (adjournment) for the Arizona Legislature. It came relatively early this year after a budget deal was struck earlier this week between Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-led legislature. Brewer had warned GOP leadership that she would hold all bills until the budget was ready, which seemed to spur them into action. For public-sector Arizona workers, it was a mixed ending.