Charlie’s month-end reading list

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Welcome back Ramparts readers! We’ve gathered another round of articles that caught our attention last month. Check it out:

First is a piece from The Wall Street Journal written by William A. Galston, “The recovery that left out almost everybody.” Galston describes the disconnect between official job numbers and the economic experience of most Americans. Although total employment has risen, many of the jobs created are part-time, making it difficult for many Americans to grow their incomes.

Andrew Roth’s New York Times article, “Russia moves to extend control of media,” discusses Russia’s recent moves to limit foreign ownership of domestic media outlets to 20 percent. “The cold war, namely the information war, which is being unleashed against the Russian Federation, requires us to apply its rules,” says Vadim Dengin, the lawmaker who sponsored the bill. If passed, the law would increase government control over the country’s leading television networks, internet media and magazines.

“Alibaba IPO comes with unusual structure,” by Joe McDonald of the Associated Press details the “variable interest entity” business structure that the newly-public Alibaba employs. The VIE structure allows foreign investors to buy shares of businesses over which Beijing normally exerts very tight control via entities in the Cayman Islands or other corporate havens.

The last piece, “This is an actual conversation with a car dealer – and it shows how the industry is juicing sales,” by Myles Udland of Business Insider highlights the recent trend toward “subprime” lending in the auto industry. Research shows that car dealers are getting customers into longer loans with lower payments that can be very expensive in the long run.

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