Peter Mathews Recommends Massive Economic Stimulus to Launch Economy out of Great Recession Orbit

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show: (Dec.3,2013) To grow economy, billions must be Invested in Small Business, Infrastructure, Education.

Partly drawing on the Economic Policy Institute’s study of the stagnant “recovery” from the Great Recession, Prof. Mathews calls for a massive economic stimulus, paid for by closing unproductive corporate tax loopholes, and spending the hundreds of billions of dollars on loans to small business, rebuilding and modernizing our infrastructure, expanding and strengthening education, and re-hiring middle class workers such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers. For a real economic recovery from the Great Recession, and to create and maintain full employment, the U. S. government must invest $650 billion in the private and public sectors in 2013, and between $1.5 trillion and 2.2 trillion in the following three years.

Over 9 million new jobs have to be created to help the labor market recover its health. Mathews pointed out that the reduction in official unemployment from 10% to 7.3% was primarily due to many people having dropped out of the labor force. Many of the new jobs that were created were lower paying jobs. Well paying jobs are important because they help stimulate demand in the economy, and will help with the economic recovery. In order to accomplish these goals, leadership is needed in the public, in Congress, in the mass media, and elsewhere.

Mathews pointed out that unfortunately, many politicians, Republican and Democrat, have been largely serving the special interests of their large campaign donors, not the American public who elected them.

Upon host David Cruz’s request, Mathews briefly discussed his upcoming book, Dollar Democracy: with Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All.

[Listen]   (9 min.)

Lies of Wall Street Bailout; Hunger Hurts U.S. Economy; California Special Elections Cost Millions

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show.(Nov.25, 2013). $1 million election; hunger =$167 billion in lost productivity; bailout won with lies 

Prof. Mathews notes that as budget cuts deepen ($5 billion cut in food stamps alone), wages stagnate, and unemployment remains high, hunger and poverty has increased in the U.S., costing over $167 billion in lost economic productivity and earnings. Mathews suggests raising the minimum wage to a living wage, while compensating small business by lowering their taxes. He also shows that the more than $700 billion taxpayer bailout of Big Corporations and Wall Street did not help small businesses, American workers and homeowners on Main Street. Unlike what Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Larry Summers promised Congress and the American people in order to push through the bailout, around $4 billion was spent to help small homeowners while the bulk of the $700 billion went to the Big Corporations and Wall Street Banks. These Big Banks, instead of lending money out to small businesses and struggling homeowners, used it to make more money in other ways, including parking huge amounts of it in the Federal Reserve and drawing billions of dollars of interest on it. Today, the Big Banks’ excess reserves at the Fed total more than $1.4 trillion! Not only that, many of the Wall Street Banks gave their CEO’s and other top executives millions of dollars in bonuses. Prof. Mathews told the radio audience that two excellent sources of investigative information on this debacle are Matt Taibbi’s Jan. 4, 2013 article in Rolling Stone, “Secrets and Lies of the Bailout”, and the Academy Award winning documentary, “Inside Job”, narrated by Matt Damon. Peter Mathews began his analysis by looking at the huge expense of California Special Elections that are triggered by the middle- of- the term resignation of State Senators like Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet). The $1.1 million cost of such an election can be avoided if the California Constitution was amended to allow the Governor to appoint a temporary State Senator until the next election, as he does in the case of a U.S. Senator’s death or resignation.  [Listen]  (8 min.)

Stagnant Wages Depress Consumer Spending and Make U.S. First Advanced Nation in Job Dissatisfaction

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show: (11/19/2013) Growth in pay slows from 0.4 % in second quarter to 0.3 % in third quarter for workers.

Professor Mathews points out that the drop in the growth of wages and salaries of working Americans caused a drop in consumer demand. Since consumer demand accounts for two-thirds of the economy, this has blocked our full economic recovery from the Great Recession. Stagnant wages and salaries, and a lack of supportive social programs such as guaranteed paid vacation, quality, affordable child care, and paid parental leave, which are guaranteed in Europe, have also driven deep job dissatisfaction in the United States. Mathews noted that in an online poll of American and Canadian workers, 83 % said they will actively seek a new job next year. Another poll showed that 16 % of Americans find work unbearable and hate their jobs; compared to 12 % of the British, 10 % of Germans, 9 % of French, and 7 % of Canadians. The differences in these percentages are a result of generally higher wages, a greater voice for workers in the workplace, and extensive social programs which make life easier in the other advanced countries, compared to the U.S. If the U.S. economy is to flourish once again for the benefit of working Americans, engagement and job satisfaction must be the top concern for employers. In fact, employee dissatisfaction can disrupt productivity, damage worker morale, and hurt profits.     [Listen]   (10 min.)

Peter Mathews Analyzes Start of Obamacare Enrollment Through California State and Federal Exchanges

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show: (11/13/2013) 35,000 signed up through Covered California; 27,000 in 36 states’ federal exchanges. 

Prof. Mathews notes that the states, like California, that strongly supported the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and established their own exchanges, had far higher rates of health insurance enrollment than states that were not supportive of the law. These states, like Texas, refused to set up state exchanges and had to rely on the federal exchange system, which had a technically rocky roll out. In the first month, California enrolled 35,000 people; Texas enrolled less than 3,000.

Mathews also explains why many Americans’ bare boned health care plans were cancelled because they did not meet Obamacare’s coverage standards, despite the President’s earlier assurances that people who like their health care could keep it. Mathews suggested that the government should subsidize the purchase, by these people, of the higher priced, higher coverage plans required by the Affordable Care Act.

Professor Mathews pointed out that the Health Care Industry had contributed $33,000,000 (opensecrets.org) to Congressional campaigns in the 2013-14 election cycle alone. With this kind of special interest influence over Congress, it is not surprising that President Obama was not able to include his “public option” (government funded non-profit health insurance, as a choice for those who would prefer it) in Obamacare. Also, a single-payer Medicare for all health care system, which Mathews says would be the simplest and most efficient system, was never seriously considered by the President or the majority of Congress, because of the campaign funding and lobbying inflluence of the Health Care Industry.

[Listen]  (9 min.)     [B]

California-based Twitter’s Shares Surge as California’s Alternative Poverty Rate Is Highest in U.S.

Peter Mathews on KTLK AM 1150, the David Cruz Show: (Nov. 7, 2013) Day After IPO, Twitter shares jump 73%, while California is first in poverty with 23.8%.

Prof. Mathews says that while we can celebrate Twitter’s successful initial public offering shares’ surge by 73% in one day as a symbol of entrepreneurial success, the high poverty rate in California and the U.S. must give us pause for concern. When the U.S. Census Bureau’s alternative poverty measures were used, including the costs of housing, medical care, clothing, and utilities, as well as the value of non-cash government benefits such as nutrition assistance, housing assistance, and energy assistance, the U.S. poverty rate climbed from 15% to 16%, and the California poverty rate jumped from 16% to 23.8%, the highest of the 50 states. Mathews pointed out that according to these rates, 50 million Americans and 9 million Californians are living in poverty! The situation has gotten worse because of recent cuts in unemployment aid, housing assistance, Head Start, nutrition programs, and food stamps (SNAP program). Mathews insisted that “trickle down economics” (economic growth from the top down) does not work. He stated his conviction, based on historical and cross-national evidence, that the type of economic growth that is vigorous and sustainable must be growth from the ground up. For full economic growth and recovery to take place in California and the U.S., we must provide capital and lower taxes for small business while increasing the minimum wage, make education high quality and affordable, invest in green and new technology high paying jobs, rebuild our state and national infrastructure, and restore state and federal funding for important and valuable safety-net and social programs. Until federal and state governments close unproductive corporate tax loopholes and invests these billions of dollars in the U.S., our economy will stagnate and the American Middle Class will continue to shrink. Mathews has said that this is a danger to American democracy, prosperity, and the American Dream.

The latest statistics about both -Educational Scores in California were 47th in 4th and 8th grade testing of English and Math. –Poverty: We’ve got 4 million people more than we were officially told. What does this say about the Road Back, and What can Policy Makers Do to help us get back on our footing sooner. Poverty is connected to low scores.     [Listen]