Category Archives: Economics

How is this normal?

The Washington Post: Judge denies Trump’s request for stay in emoluments case.

“Trump still owns his company, although he says he has stepped back from day-to-day control. The Trump Organization has held several large events paid for by foreign governments at Trump’s D.C. hotel and reported about $150,000 in what it called “foreign profits” last year.

The judge found that, “the President’s ownership interest in the Trump International Hotel and his apparent receipt of benefits from at least some foreign and state governments, as well as from the Federal Government itself, suggest that he has received ‘emoluments’ in violation of the Constitution.”

In an earlier ruling, Messitte had found that the definition of word emoluments, in the context of the late 1700s, was broad enough to include sales of goods or services. By the judge’s logic, that definition meant that Trump could be taking emoluments merely by renting ballrooms to foreign-government customers.”

NBC: How Trump is taking on the FBI, and possibly violating the Emoluments Clause in the process. “The president has decided that the FBI should remain at its current headquarters, which is just across the street from his hotel.” By Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen.

“These revelations of President Trump’s personal involvement in the relocation project are the strongest evidence yet that the president of the United States is tampering with American security to avoid disadvantaging his businesses.

This is precisely why we — and the watchdog organization we lead, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — have helped bring multiple lawsuits challenging the president’s flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clauses of the constitution. We cannot have the most powerful person in the world making national and domestic security decisions based on how his businesses might be impacted.
[…]
The president has once again put himself in a position where we cannot tell whether he is making important national security decisions for the good of the country, or for the good of his business. He has even put his subordinates, like GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, in a position to give “incomplete…and mislead[ing]” testimony to Congress about his involvement.

The only way for President Trump to convince the American people that he is acting on their behalf would be to completely and totally divest all control and interest in his businesses, as required by the constitution. Until then, every decision that he makes will always make us wonder whether he is doing this because he’s looking out for us, or because he’s looking out for himself.”

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“It is now impossible to have intellectual integrity and a conscience while remaining a Republican in good standing.”

The New York Times Opinion: A Party Defined by Its Lies. “At this point, good people can’t be good Republicans.” By Paul Krugman.

“During my first year as an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, I wasn’t allowed to use the word “lie.”

That first year coincided with the 2000 election, and George W. Bush was, in fact, being systematically dishonest about his economic proposals — saying false things about who would benefit from his tax cut and the implications of Social Security privatization. But the notion that a major party’s presidential candidate would go beyond spin to outright lies still seemed outrageous, and saying it was considered beyond the pale.

Obviously that prohibition no longer holds on this opinion page, and major media organizations have become increasingly willing to point out raw falsehoods. But they’ve been chasing a moving target, because the lies just keep getting bigger and more pervasive. In fact, at this point the G.O.P.’s campaign message consists of nothing but lies; it’s hard to think of a single true thing Republicans are running on.

And yes, it’s a Republican problem (and it’s not just Donald Trump). Democrats aren’t saints, but they campaign mostly on real issues, and generally do, in fact, stand for more or less what they claim to stand for. Republicans don’t. And the total dishonesty of Republican electioneering should itself be a decisive political issue, because at this point it defines the party’s character.

What are Republicans lying about? As I said, almost everything. But there are two big themes. They lie about their agenda, pretending that their policies would help the middle and working classes when they would, in fact, do the opposite. And they lie about the problems America faces, hyping an imaginary threat from scary dark-skinned people and, increasingly, attributing that threat to Jewish conspirators.”

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“[R]efusing to accommodate pregnant women is often completely legal”

The New York Times: Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination. “Women in strenuous jobs lost their pregnancies after employers denied their requests for light duty, even ignoring doctors’ notes, an investigation by The New York Times has found.”

“One evening in January 2014, after eight hours of lifting, Erica Hayes ran to the bathroom. Blood drenched her jeans.

She was 23 and in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. She had spent much of the week hoisting the [Verizon] warehouse’s largest boxes from one conveyor belt to the next. Ever since she learned she was pregnant, she had been begging her supervisor to let her work with lighter boxes, she said in an interview. She said her boss repeatedly said no.

She fainted on her way out of the bathroom that day. The baby growing inside of her, the one she had secretly hoped was a girl, was gone.

“It was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life,” Ms. Hayes said.”

“Keine Auswirkungen auf Ermittlungen gegen Ex-Chef Stadler”

Deutsche Welle: Audi kauft sich im Dieselskandal frei. “Geldbuße im Dieselskandal um Audi: Die Volkswagen-Tochter akzeptiert einen Bußgeldbescheid über 800 Millionen Euro. Damit werde das Verfahren der Staatsanwaltschaft München beendet.”

“”Die Audi AG bekennt sich damit zu ihrer Verantwortung für die vorgefallenen Aufsichtspflichtverletzungen”, heißt es in einer entsprechenden Pressemitteilunhg weiter. Die Buße dezimiert auch “unmittelbar” das Konzernergebnis von Volkswagen, wie die Audi-Mutter in Wolfsburg mitteilte. Auch die mit 30,8 Prozent an VW beteiligte Porsche SE wird dadurch in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Sie rechnet für 2018 aber immer noch mit einem Nettogewinn von 2,5 bis 3,5 Milliarden Euro.”

Wenn allein Porsche noch mindestens 2,5 Milliarden Euro Gewinn macht, wieviel macht dann Audi oder VW insgesamt? Ein Bußgeld von 800 Millionen Euro erscheint dagegen ziemlich gering.

Stromversorgung ist auch trotz Kohleausstieg gesichert

Deutsche Welle: Braunkohle vom Hambacher Forst wird nicht mehr gebraucht. “Wissenschaftler sind sich einig: Für den deutschen Strombedarf wird die Braunkohle unter dem Hambacher Wald auch langfristig nicht gebraucht. Auf die Rodung könnte verzichtet werden – wenn es die Politik wollte.”

“Aus dem Abschaltplan der Fraunhofer-Forscher lassen sich auch die Braunkohlemengen genau ermitteln, welche vor allem die Kraftwerke Niederaußem und Neurath in den nächsten Jahren noch benötigen werden. Diese beiden Kraftwerke werden aus den Tagebauen Hambach und Garzweiler versorgt. Von heute bis 2030 benötigen sie demnach noch 250 bis 280 Millionen Tonnen Braunkohle.

Nach Angaben der Forscher liegen in den beiden Tagebauen Hambach und Garzweiler aber noch deutlich über 2000 Millionen Tonnen.

Würde die Politik diesen Vorschlag auch aus Klimaschutzgründen verfolgen, so wäre eine Rodung des Hambacher Waldes für die deutsche Energiesicherheit nicht mehr nötig, lautet ein Fazit der Autoren.

[…]

Der zügige Braunkohleausstieg in NRW sei wegen der Schäden bei der Verstromung zudem aber auch “wirtschaftlich vorteilhaft”. Hohe gesellschaftliche Kosten ließen sich durch den Kohleausstieg vermeiden, betont auch das Umweltbundesamt (UBA). Allein im Jahr 2016 entstanden der Gesellschaft verdeckte Mehrkosten durch Gesundheits- und Umweltschäden aus der deutschen Verstromung von Kohle in der Größenordnung von über 46 Milliarden Euro, so das UBA .

Würden auch diese Kosten bei der Betrachtung des Kohleausstiegs berücksichtigt, so wird deutlich, wie günstig ein Kohleausstieg für die Gesellschaft sein kann, selbst dann, wenn die Entschädigungszahlungen an die betroffenen Energiekonzerne sehr großzügig sind.

Laut RWE-Angaben liegt der Gewinn beim Betrieb von Braunkohlekraftwerken derzeit bei etwa drei Cent pro Kilowattstunde. Nach Angaben des UBA entstehen dabei zugleich aber Gesundheits- und Umweltschäden von über 19 Cent pro Kilowattstunde, die von den Bürgern als Krankenkassenbeiträge und Steuern getragen werden. Kohle und vor allem Braunkohle ist demnach in der Gesamtbetrachtung die teuerste Energie.”