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Food-Twinkies No MoreThere have been a number of stories in recent days implying that the demise of Hostess was somehow the result of unreasonable demands from workers. Here, however, are a couple of stories that debunk that narrative.

In the first (“No cupcake: Workers turn down bad deal from Hostess”), Dean Baker at the Center on Economic and Policy Research points out that the management team with whom the workers were attempting to negotiate were basically a bunch of predatory knuckleheads.

In the second (“Hostess blames union for bankruptcy after tripling CEO’s pay”), the folks at Think Progress provide more disturbing details.

 

 

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In case you missed it amongst all the debate hubbub, another modern day robber baron cashed out yesterday. According to the folks at Think Progress:

“Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit abruptly resigned today, leaving the helm of the bank that he guided through the financial crisis of 2008. For his five years of leading Citi, Pandit will receive compensation in the neighborhood of $260 million.”

Not that he did much to earn it. As the article also notes:

“Overall, Citi lost 88 percent of its value under Pandit. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal dinged Pandit for having the pay package that was most detached from his company’s performance, as a three-year decline of 27 percent coincided with his making $43 million.”

Ah, the genius of the “free” market…

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In anticipation of Big Business Day, er uh,  Labor Day, the good people at the National Employment Law Project are out with a new report that shines some welcome light on a much undereported subject in modern America: the huge and growing profits of low wage employers.

This is from the release that acccompanied the report:

“America’s low-wage economy is marked by two extremes.  On the one hand, workers earning at or near the minimum wage are seeing the real value of their paychecks diminish steadily over time, as the cost of living increases while their wages remain stagnant.  After nearly half a century of neglect, today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is decades out of date.  In terms of purchasing power, its value is 30 percent lower today than it was in 1968.

On the other hand, many corporations are posting record-breaking profits. Read More

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Hurricane Isaac is raking the Gulf Coast this morning on the seventh anniversary of Katrina and will undoubtedly leave a trail of destruction and woe behind. Elsewhere, however — for better or worse — the world moves on. Here’s one small bright spot worth celebrating: The good people at the Center for Media and Democracy report that the front group for right-wing economic and social causes known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) continues to lose more and more members.

According to this encouraging report:

“Six more companies have indicated that they are cutting, or have cut, ties to ALEC: General Electric (GE), Western Union, Sprint Nextel, Symantec (maker of Norton antivirus software), Reckitt Benckiser Group (a British consumer goods company that makes such brands as French’s mustard, Woolite, Lysol, Clearasil, Durex, and D-Con), and Entergy (a power plant company headquartered in New Orleans)…. Read More

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It seems that everyone’s getting numb to the disturbing stories coming out of the Duke-Progress merger, but this one ought to register something on the outrage meter.

According to AP and the Winston-Salem Journal, Duke Energy has agreed to hold some of its big wholesale customers “harmless” for any costs that they may incur as a result of the merger. Read More