Dean Baker

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Year of the Fat Cats
One of the standard year-end rituals is to assess the stock market's performance for the year. Many people noted the Dow Jones index rose a respectable 7.5 percent in 2007. Before anyone celebrates this modest achievement, it is important to remember the Dow includes just 30 blue chip stocks. The much broader S&P 500 index rose by just 3.5 percent, slightly less than the rate of inflation in 2007. In other words, the real return for most stockholders was roughly equal to what their stock paid out in dividends, not a terribly good story.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The Cost of Living: Healthcare costs are about to skyrocket for US senior citizens
What better way to celebrate the New Year than to sock it to grandma and grandpa with big prices increases? That may not have been the exact nature of the conversation at the US insurance companies that participate in the Medicare prescription drug plan , but it sure was the outcome, as premiums are scheduled to rise by an average of almost 25% in 2008.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Hostage Taking Bankers and Subprime Borrowers
There is little public support for using taxpayer dollars for protecting the richest people in the country from bad investment decisions. For this reason, when the government goes to help out those rich investors who cannot fend for themselves, it must come up with some alternative explanation.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Pete Peterson Doesn't Need His Social Security
He has said so himself many times. Peter Peterson first came to national prominence more than three decades ago as commerce secretary in the Nixon administration. However, he is far more widely known in his reincarnation as a crusader against Social Security and Medicare.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007
From WMDs to Social Security: More Bush Stories
You remember George W. Bush, the guy who tricked the country into a never-ending war in Iraq with stories about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links to Osama bin Laden. Well, he still has 16 months left in the White House and he's determined to do yet more damage with his famous "Bush stories" before he leaves town.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The Right to Unionize: Key to Democracy
For the last quarter century, corporate America has been at war against the labor movement. After a long period in which unions were an accepted part of the economic and political landscape, most corporations adopted a much more hostile attitude toward unions. Where unions already were present, employers sought to weaken or break them. In workplaces without unions, employers were prepared to do whatever was necessary to prevent workers from organizing.
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Monday, August 20, 2007
Save Subprime Borrowers, Not Bloated Bankers
There is a simple and direct way in which the federal government can help out millions of moderate income families struggling to keep their homes. They can simply change the rules on foreclosure to allow moderate income homeowners the option to remain in their homes indefinitely as renters, paying the fair market rent.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Welfare as We Know It Now
In the days before welfare reform, single mothers could collect five or six hundred dollars a month without working. That was what welfare looked like before 1996. In the Internet Age, welfare is about having the government do everything it can to make the rich absolutely as rich as possible. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said many years ago, the rich are not like you or me: They need the government's assistance to get by. There are all sorts of ways in which the government helps those who have the most.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Economy Goes From Bad to Worse
For most of this decade, progressive economists have said the economy was growing fine, but typical workers were not benefiting because income was being redistributed upward. We can no longer say this.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Big Government Grover and the Fund Manager Subsidy
Political activist Grover Norquist has been one of the right-wing's most forceful voices over the last two decades. Along with Newt Gingrich, he was one of the main architects of the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. His track record makes him a powerful voice on the right. His name sparks fear in the hearts of many on the left.
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