In early March, the
AFL-CIO joined 42 other organizations
representing labor, business, public health, environmental concerns, consumers, family farms and good governance as well as three legal scholars in sending a letter calling on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to match the European Commission’s commitment to holding a public consultation on investment issues, particularly with respect to the pending U.S.-European Union trade negotiations (known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued its economic outlook for the modern, democratic, industrialized economies at its annual meeting of member nation ministers. It was mostly gloom. The European members of the OECD are mired in a deep economic slump. In 2012, the European members had a drop in Gross Domestic Product (the combined value of goods and services produced) of 0.5% and is projected to have that same poor performance in 2013. Behind those numbers, however, are the lives of real people. When an economy shrinks, it means there are fewer jobs and that means growing stress on the day-to-day lives of people. Just as in the United States, the loss of job opportunities is being felt most keenly by young workers.
U.S. lawmakers and policymakers who are pushing
extreme austerity measures
and spending cuts over
as the magic path to economic stability should take a long hard look at what’s happened to the nations of the European Union (EU) that have imposed strict fiscal austerity policies. Unemployment has soared, according to
a new report
on the EU labor market from the International Labor Organization (
There are more than 10 million more jobless people in Europe now than at the start of the crisis. There are now more than 26 million Europeans without jobs, with young and low-skilled workers being the hardest hit.
In his 2013
State of the Union Address (SOTU)
, President Obama announced that the U.S. would soon begin talks on a “Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”—in other words, the U.S. will begin negotiating a “free trade agreement” (FTA) with the European Union (EU).
As policymakers in the United States wrangle over how to avert the austerity bomb, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the financial transactions tax (FTT). The European FTT is expected to raise as much as
€37 billion each year
($48 billion in U.S. dollars).
Young workers in the euro zone have been among the hardest hit by the global economic crisis, and now even those in regions like East Asia, where economies have remained strong through the recession, are struggling to get jobs, a new International Labor Organization (
shows (click chart to enlarge).
A group of 50 financial professionals—investors, traders, academics and banking executives—urged G-20 and European leaders to back small financial transaction taxes (FTTs) on financial industry speculation.
In a letter
to world leaders, the group notes that FTTs “have a proven track record” and would help rebalance financial markets away from “a short-term trading mentality that has contributed to instability in our financial markets.” It also says FTTs have the potential to raise significant revenue.
Three years into the nation’s brutal recession, America’s workers continue to suffer from massive joblessness, skyrocketing foreclosures and weak buying power. But Wall Street—with corporations sitting on $2 trillion in cash—hasn’t paid for its role in causing the near-collapse of the U.S. economy.